LOS ANGELES, United
States
– LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline a star-studded
group of starters for the 2020 NBA All-Star game that also includes second year
European sensation Luka Doncic.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James will captain the Western
Conference team for the second consecutive season and Milwaukee Bucks reigning
league MVP Antetokounmpo will once again take charge of the Eastern Conference
side.

James and Antetokounmpo have the honor of choosing the sides
for their respective conferences because they are the top two vote-getters.

The two captains select the rosters for their own teams on
February 6 from the pool of available players — regardless of conference —
 for the February 16 showcase in Chicago.

The polls closed with fan ballots counting for 50 percent,
current NBA players having 25 percent say and a media panel having the other 25
percent say in selecting the 10 starters — two guards and three forwards from
each conference.

Doncic is the fresh face in the starters list this season as
the Slovenian standout joins Houston Rockets star James Harden in the West
backcourt. Los Angeles Clippers forward and 2019 finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and
Lakers forward Anthony Davis fill out the frontcourt.

“I remember all the years I would wake up in Europe at
3:00 am to watch the game and now I can be in it,” said Doncic. “I
just have to keep working and getting better.”

Like Doncic, Atlanta Hawks Trae Young is a rising
second-year star, who secured his first all-star selection.

Young will be joined in the East backcourt by Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker.

Antetokounmpo will be flanked by Philadelphia 76ers Joel
Embiid and Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam, another first time all-star and
starter, in the East frontcourt.

James, who has helped the Lakers to an NBA best
record of 35-9 this season, held off a charge from Doncic as the top
vote-getter by fans in the West. 

James, with 6.27 million fan votes, and Greek superstar
Antetokounmpo, with 5.90 million fan votes, led their respective
conferences. Doncic had 6.11 million fan votes. 

It marks the third straight year that James, averaging 25.1
points, 7.6 rebounds and an NBA-best 10.8 assists per game this season, has led
all players in all-star votes. 

The only players who have received more all-star selections
than James are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18).

With his 16th start, James will top the mark he currently
shares with Bryant.

Doncic and Young, who were traded for each other on draft
day, will forever be linked together. 

They finished 1-2 in rookie-of-the year voting last season
and this season they are the only two players in the NBA to rank in the top
five in both points and assists.

– Smooth transition –

Doncic has made a smooth transition from playing in Europe
to North America.

“In Europe everything is less. Less minutes, less
scoring, less free throws. But my game is kind of the same,” he said on
Thursday.

“I just try to play to my own rhythm and let the game
come to me.”

Raptors Siakam, who won the Most Improved Player award last
season, has been on a meteoric rise. 

He teamed with Leonard to help Toronto win the 2019 NBA
title. Despite losing Leonard to free agency, Siakam has the Raptors in first
place again and they are playing just as well as last year’s team.  

Also Thursday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel earned the head
coaching spot for LeBron’s West team after Los Angeles beat the Brooklyn Nets
128-113 and improved to 36-9 on the season.

The all-star reserves will be announced on January 30.

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