NBA All-Star voting gets underway, even though the game is in question

The league wants players worthy of being named All-Stars this season to get their due, whether the game is played or not.

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Kawhi Leonard holds up his NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award after last year’s game.

Kawhi Leonard holds up his NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award after last year’s game.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

NBA All-Star voting opens Thursday, without any final determination yet if there will be an actual All-Star Game this season.

The league said Wednesday that “discussions surrounding a potential NBA All-Star Game are ongoing.” The Associated Press reported Monday that there have been talks about having an All-Star Game that would benefit historically Black institutions and COVID-19 relief, though no plan has been finalized.

But the league also wants players worthy of being named All-Stars this season to get their due, whether the game is played or not. Voting opens at 11 a.m. Chicago time on Thursday and will run through 10:59 p.m. Chicago time on Feb. 16.

“Naming NBA All-Stars is an annual tradition that honors an exclusive group of players for extraordinary performances during the season,” Byron Spruell, the NBA’s President of League Operations, said in a statement released to AP. “We look forward to recognizing the best of the best this season.”

The process will be the same as in recent years: All-Star starters will be selected in a formula that is 50% based on fan voting, 25% based on the votes of a media panel, and 25% based on votes from NBA players. Fans can vote in a variety of methods, including the NBA app, NBA.com and on Twitter.

There will be three frontcourt and two guards selected from each conference as starters.

The All-Star starters will be announced on Feb. 18. The All-Star reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, will be revealed on Feb. 23.

Many decisions about the game itself, if it happens, still need to be finalized. Atlanta has been mentioned as a location. It’s also unknown if the game would have the same format as a year ago, when the NBA changed the rules to make the game much more competitive.

Last year in Chicago, Anthony Davis made a game-ending free throw to give Team LeBron a 157-155 win over Team Giannis in the revamped NBA All-Star Game, the format overhauled to put in elements for charity and ensure that someone was going to hit a shot to end the game. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were the captains as leading votegetters.

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