NBA All-Star Game

The National Basketball Association All-Star Game is a basketball exhibition game hosted every February by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and showcases 24 of the league's star players. It is the featured event of NBA All-Star Weekend, a three-day event which goes from Friday to Sunday. The All-Star Game was first played at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951.

National Basketball Association All-Star Game
Most recent2021 (Atlanta)
Previous event2020 (Chicago)
Next event2022 (Cleveland)
ParticipantsEastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars
Organized byNational Basketball Association

The starting lineup for each squad is selected by a combination of fan, player, and media voting,[1] while head coaches choose the reserves,[2] seven players from their respective conferences, so each side has a 12-man roster. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players. If a selected player cannot participate because of injury, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement.

Starting in 2018, the leading vote-getters for each conference are designated as team captains and can choose from the pool of All-Star reserves to form their teams regardless of conference. LeBron James and Stephen Curry became the first players to choose teams through the new format, selecting players for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in a non-televised draft on January 25.[3] Likely due to fan interest in the draft process, captains for the 2019 All-Star Game, James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, drafted their teams live on TNT.[4] The teams also play for a charity of their choice to help the games remain competitive.[5]

The head coach of the team with the best record in each conference is chosen to lead their respective conference in the All-Star Game, with a prohibition against consecutive appearances.[2] Known as the "Riley Rule", it was created after perennially successful Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley earned the right to coach the Western Conference team eight times in nine seasons between 1982 and 1990. The coach of the team with the next best record gets to coach instead.


The idea of holding an All-Star Game was conceived during a meeting between NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA publicity director Haskell Cohen and Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown. At that time, the basketball world had just been rocked by the college basketball point-shaving scandal.

To regain public attention to the league, Cohen suggested the league to host an exhibition game featuring the league's best players, similar to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game.[6] Although most people, including Podoloff, were pessimistic about the idea, Brown remained confident that it would be a success, and he offered to host the game and to cover all the expenses or potential losses incurred from the game.[7]

The first All-Star Game was hosted at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951, where the Eastern All-Stars team defeated the Western All-Stars team, 111–94. Boston Celtics' Ed Macauley was named as the first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and the All-Star Game became a success, drawing an attendance of 10,094, much higher than that season's average attendance of 3,500.[8]

In 2010, the NBA All-Star Game set the attendance record for a basketball game with 108,713 people attending at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This shattered the existing attendance record previously held at Ford Field on December 13, 2003, when 78,129 attendees watched Michigan State play Kentucky.[9]

The 2017 All-Star Weekend was originally awarded to Charlotte, North Carolina. On March 23, 2016, North Carolina passed House Bill 2, also known as a "bathroom bill," which was seen as discriminatory against transgender persons. As a result, the NBA announced that it would move the game to another city if the bill was not repealed or revised. After North Carolina took no action, on July 21, 2016, the NBA announced that the 2017 game would be moved to New Orleans. In March 2017, after several provisions of the bill were partially repealed, the NBA awarded the 2019 All-Star Weekend to Charlotte.

On October 3, 2017, the NBA and NBPA announced changes to the game format, starting in 2018. Instead of being divided by conference, the top vote leaders for each conference would be team captains and hold a draft to choose among the rest of the starters and reserves, regardless of conference.[5]

Rosters selection

The starting five from each conference consists of three frontcourt players and two guards, selected by a combination of fan, player, and media voting. In 2017, the NBA moved from a pure fan vote to a weighted process wherein fan voting accounts for 50%, with player and media voting account for 25% each.[1][10] Prior to 2013, fans selected two forwards and one center instead of generic frontcourt players.[11] The NBA in 2003 began offering All-Star ballots in three languages—English, Spanish and Chinese—for fan voting of the starters.[12]

NBA coaches vote for the reserves for their respective conferences, but they cannot choose players from their own team. Each coach selects two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards, with each selected player ranked in order of preference within each category. If a multi-position player is to be selected, coaches are encouraged to vote for the player at the position that is "most advantageous for the All-Star team", regardless of where the player is listed on the All-Star ballot or the position he is listed in box scores.[13] If a player is unavailable for the game due to injury, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement for the roster. If the replacement is for a fan-selected starter, the All-Star Game coach chooses the replacement in the starting lineup, and is not limited to the commissioner's addition to the roster.[14]

Multiple All-Star players can be chosen from one team, with the record being four. This has occurred eight times, the first such instance being in 1962, when four players each from the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were chosen. The most recent game with four All-Star players from one team was the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 game.[15]

The game

The game is played under normal NBA rules, but there are notable differences from an average game. Since the starting All-Stars are selected by fan vote, players sometimes start the game at atypical positions. For instance, in the 2007 game, Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady were chosen as the starting Western Conference guards. As both players normally play shooting guard, Bryant started the game as a point guard. Gameplay usually involves players attempting spectacular slam dunks and alley oops and defensive effort is usually limited. The final score is generally much higher than a competitive NBA game.

If the score is close, the fourth quarter is more competitive. This format was changed in 2020 to use the Elam Ending. In normal Elam Ending rules, the game clock is turned off with four minutes remaining and a target score is set; whoever reaches the target wins the game. In 2020, the NBA took the score at the end of three quarters and added 24 points (in honor of Kobe Bryant, who had been killed in a helicopter crash a month prior). With Team Giannis leading Team LeBron 133–124 at the end of the third quarter, the target score was 157 points, and Team LeBron won the contest.

The player introductions are usually accompanied by a significant amount of fanfare, including lighting effects, dance music, and pyrotechnics. Special uniforms are designed for the game each year, usually red for the Western Conference and blue for the Eastern Conference. From 1997 to 2002, players could wear their normal team uniforms. The "host conference" also traditionally has light uniforms, except from 2010 to 2014. Players on the same All-Star team who wear the same number used to have the option to change numbers: Patrick Ewing, who normally wore #33, chose to wear #3 as Larry Bird also had that number. Since 1997, players can keep their uniform numbers. A major recording artist typically sings "O Canada" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to tipoff.

Halftime is also longer than a typical NBA game due to musical performances by popular artists. The first such halftime show happened in the 2000 game, with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mary J. Blige, and LL Cool J performing.

All-Star Game records

All-Star Game results

This is a list of each All-Star Game, the venue at which it was played, and the Game MVP. Parenthesized numbers indicate multiple times that venue, city, or player has occurred as of that instance (e.g. "Michael Jordan (2)" in 1996 indicates that was his second All-Star MVP award). As of the 2017 All-Star Game (the 2016–17 NBA season), the Eastern Conference leads with a record of 37 wins and 29 losses.

Eastern Conference (37 wins) Western Conference (29 wins)

Note: Stadium names are named based on the name at the day of the All-Star Game.

YearResultHost arenaHost cityGame MVP
1951East 111, West 94Boston GardenBoston, MassachusettsEd Macauley, Boston Celtics
1952East 108, West 91Boston Garden (2)Boston, Massachusetts (2)Paul Arizin, Philadelphia Warriors
1953West 79, East 75Allen County War Memorial ColiseumFort Wayne, IndianaGeorge Mikan, Minneapolis Lakers
1954East 98, West 93 (OT)Madison Square Garden III**New York City, New YorkBob Cousy, Boston Celtics
1955East 100, West 91Madison Square Garden III** (2)New York City, New York (2)Bill Sharman, Boston Celtics
1956West 108, East 94Rochester War Memorial ColiseumRochester, New YorkBob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks
1957East 109, West 97Boston Garden (3)Boston, Massachusetts (3)Bob Cousy (2), Boston Celtics
1958East 130, West 118St. Louis ArenaSt. Louis, MissouriBob Pettit (2), St. Louis Hawks
1959West 124, East 108Olympia StadiumDetroit, MichiganElgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers
Bob Pettit (3), St. Louis Hawks
1960East 125, West 115Convention HallPhiladelphia, PennsylvaniaWilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors
1961West 153, East 131Onondaga County War Memorial ColiseumSyracuse, New YorkOscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals
1962West 150, East 130St. Louis Arena (2)St. Louis, Missouri (2)Bob Pettit (4), St. Louis Hawks
1963East 115, West 108LA Sports ArenaLos Angeles, CaliforniaBill Russell, Boston Celtics
1964East 111, West 107Boston Garden (4)Boston, Massachusetts (4)Oscar Robertson (2), Cincinnati Royals
1965East 124, West 123St. Louis Arena (3)St. Louis, Missouri (3)Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati Royals
1966East 137, West 94Cincinnati GardensCincinnati, OhioAdrian Smith, Cincinnati Royals
1967West 135, East 120Cow PalaceDaly City, CaliforniaRick Barry, San Francisco Warriors
1968East 144, West 124Madison Square Garden III** (3)New York City, New York (3)Hal Greer, Philadelphia 76ers
1969East 123, West 112Baltimore Civic CenterBaltimore, MarylandOscar Robertson (3), Cincinnati Royals
1970East 142, West 135The SpectrumPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (2)Willis Reed, New York Knicks
1971West 108, East 107San Diego Sports ArenaSan Diego, CaliforniaLenny Wilkens, Seattle SuperSonics
1972West 112, East 110The ForumInglewood, CaliforniaJerry West, Los Angeles Lakers
1973East 104, West 84Chicago StadiumChicago, IllinoisDave Cowens, Boston Celtics
1974West 134, East 123Seattle Center ColiseumSeattle, WashingtonBob Lanier, Detroit Pistons
1975East 108, West 102Arizona Veterans Memorial ColiseumPhoenix, ArizonaWalt Frazier, New York Knicks
1976East 123, West 109The Spectrum (2)Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (3)Dave Bing, Washington Bullets
1977West 125, East 124Milwaukee ArenaMilwaukee, WisconsinJulius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers
1978East 133, West 125Omni ColiseumAtlanta, GeorgiaRandy Smith, Buffalo Braves
1979West 134, East 129Pontiac SilverdomePontiac, MichiganDavid Thompson, Denver Nuggets
1980East 144, West 136 (OT)Capital CentreLandover, MarylandGeorge Gervin, San Antonio Spurs
1981East 123, West 120Coliseum at RichfieldRichfield, OhioNate Archibald, Boston Celtics
1982East 120, West 118Brendan Byrne ArenaEast Rutherford, New JerseyLarry Bird, Boston Celtics
1983East 132, West 123The Forum (2)Inglewood, California (2)Julius Erving (2), Philadelphia 76ers
1984East 154, West 145 (OT)McNichols Sports ArenaDenver, ColoradoIsiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons
1985West 140, East 129Hoosier DomeIndianapolis, IndianaRalph Sampson, Houston Rockets
1986East 139, West 132Reunion ArenaDallas, TexasIsiah Thomas (2), Detroit Pistons
1987West 154, East 149 (OT)KingdomeSeattle, Washington† (2)Tom Chambers, Seattle SuperSonics
1988East 138, West 133Chicago Stadium (2)Chicago, Illinois (2)Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
1989West 143, East 134AstrodomeHouston, TexasKarl Malone, Utah Jazz
1990East 130, West 113Miami ArenaMiami, FloridaMagic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
1991East 116, West 114Charlotte ColiseumCharlotte, North CarolinaCharles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers
1992West 153, East 113Orlando Arena§Orlando, FloridaMagic Johnson (2), Los Angeles Lakers
1993West 135, East 132 (OT)Delta Center§Salt Lake City, UtahKarl Malone (2), Utah Jazz
John Stockton, Utah Jazz
1994East 127, West 118Target CenterMinneapolis, MinnesotaScottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls
1995West 139, East 112America West Arena§Phoenix, Arizona (2)Mitch Richmond, Sacramento Kings
1996East 129, West 118AlamodomeSan Antonio, TexasMichael Jordan (2), Chicago Bulls
1997East 132, West 120Gund Arena§Cleveland, OhioGlen Rice, Charlotte Hornets
1998East 135, West 114Madison Square Garden***New York City, New York (4)Michael Jordan (3), Chicago Bulls
1999Canceled due to the league's lockout.
The game was originally set to play at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[16]
2000West 137, East 126The Arena in OaklandOakland, CaliforniaTim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
2001East 111, West 110MCI CenterWashington, D.C.Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers
2002West 135, East 120First Union CenterPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (4)Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2003West 155, East 145 (2OT)Philips Arena§Atlanta, Georgia (2)Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
2004West 136, East 132Staples CenterLos Angeles, California (2)Shaquille O'Neal (2), Los Angeles Lakers
2005East 125, West 115Pepsi CenterDenver, Colorado (2)Allen Iverson (2), Philadelphia 76ers
2006East 122, West 120Toyota CenterHouston, Texas (2)LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
2007West 153, East 132Thomas & Mack CenterParadise, Nevada*Kobe Bryant (2), Los Angeles Lakers
2008East 134, West 128New Orleans Arena§New Orleans, LouisianaLeBron James (2), Cleveland Cavaliers
2009West 146, East 119US Airways Center (2)Phoenix, Arizona (3)Kobe Bryant (3), Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal (3), Phoenix Suns
2010East 141, West 139Cowboys StadiumArlington, Texas#†Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
2011West 148, East 143Staples Center (2)Los Angeles, California (3)Kobe Bryant (4), Los Angeles Lakers
2012West 152, East 149Amway Center (2)Orlando, Florida (2)Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
2013West 143, East 138Toyota Center (2)Houston, Texas (3)Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
2014East 163, West 155Smoothie King Center (2)New Orleans, Louisiana (2)Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
2015West 163, East 158Madison Square Garden (2)*** / Barclays CenterNew York City, New York (5)Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
2016West 196, East 173Air Canada CentreToronto, OntarioRussell Westbrook (2), Oklahoma City Thunder
2017West 192, East 182Smoothie King Center (3)New Orleans, Louisiana (3)Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
2018[5]Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145Staples Center (3)Los Angeles, California (4)LeBron James (3), Cleveland Cavaliers
2019Team LeBron 178, Team Giannis 164Spectrum CenterCharlotte, North Carolina (2)Kevin Durant (2), Golden State Warriors
2020Team LeBron 157, Team Giannis 155‡United CenterChicago, Illinois (3)Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
2021Team LeBron 170, Team Durant 150State Farm Arena (2)Atlanta, Georgia (3)Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
2022[17]TBA vs. TBARocket Mortgage FieldHouse (2)Cleveland, Ohio (2)
2023[18]TBA vs. TBAVivint Smart Home Arena (2)Salt Lake City, Utah (2)
2024TBA vs. TBABankers Life FieldhouseIndianapolis, Indiana (2)

Other All-Star events

The All-Star Game is the featured event of All-Star Weekend, and it is held on a Sunday night. All-Star Weekend also includes a number of popular exhibition games and competitions featuring NBA players and alumni as well as players from the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and NBA G League (G League).

See also


  1. Although Brooklyn has not hosted an All-Star Game, New York City has hosted at the third and current Madison Square Gardens, both home to the New York Knicks.


  1. "How NBA's new voting format determined All-Star starters, snubs". ESPN. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  2. "Anthony snubbed when All-Star reserves announced". Associated Press. February 1, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2007.
  3. Barnewall, Chris. "NBA All-Star Game draft results: LeBron James, Stephen Curry select their teams". CBS Sports. CBS. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  4. Smith, Sekou (February 11, 2019). "All-Star Draft filled with surprises and even one trade". NBA. NBA.
  5. "No more East vs. West as NBA revamps All-Star Game format". October 3, 2017. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  6. Goldstein, Richard (July 3, 2000). "Haskell Cohen, 86, Publicist; Created N.B.A. All-Star Game". The New York Times. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  7. Forrester, Paul (February 16, 2007). "That's entertainment; Counting down the top 15 All-Star Weekend moments". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  8. Penikis, Andrejs. "57 Memorable All-Star Moments–1950s". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  9. MacMahon, Tim. "Jones, Cuban hoping to break 100,000".
  10. "Players and media can now vote on NBA All-Star starters". Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  11. Beck, Howard (October 24, 2012). "The All-Star Center is Officially Extinct". New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012. The N.B.A., bowing to new realities in a multi-positional era, has eliminated "center" from its All-Star ballots for the 2012–13 season. Instead, fans will vote for three frontcourt players and two guards.
  12. Vecsey, George (January 12, 2003). "Fans in Shanghai Are Voting in the Mainstream". The New York Times.
  13. Stein, Marc (January 18, 2013). "1. Reserve Judgment: Stein's All-Star Benches". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013.
  14. "DeMarcus Cousins to replace Kobe Bryant in 2015 NBA All-Star Game" (Press release). NBA. January 30, 2015. Archived from the original on February 2, 2015.
  15. "Trivia:NBA Teams with 4 All-Stars".
  16. Steele, David (December 9, 1998). "NBA Drops All-Stars — What's Left? February game in Philly latest casualty of lockout". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  17. "Cleveland to host NBA All-Star 2022". November 1, 2018.
  18. "Utah Jazz to host NBA All-Star 2023". October 23, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.