Lakers forward LeBron James gave the 2020 All-Star game draft an L.A. twist when he selected teammate Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers with his first and second picks on Thursday.
James had the first overall selection as the leading vote-getter for the game.
“I know you’re all surprised,” James said after selecting Davis on the nationally televised TNT broadcast.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the leading vote-getter from the Eastern Conference and rival captain, chose “African brothers” with his top two selections: Philadelphia center Joel Embiid and Toronto forward Pascal Siakam. He continued to select Eastern Conference players to round out his starters.
Antetokounmpo had the first choice among reserves and selected teammate Khris Middleton. James then took Portland guard Damian Lillard, who might end up starting since Dallas guard Luka Doncic might be sidelined by an ankle injury he sustained in practice on Jan. 30.
“There’s no wrong choice,” James said during the telecast when bantering remotely with Antetokounmpo. “We’re all All-Stars, they’re all All-Stars for a reason.”
“You cannot go wrong,” the reigning MVP said. “These are the best 24 players in the world.”
The first three quarters will become mini-games, each worth $100,000 to the winning team. Scores will be reset after the first and second quarters, and then the scores will be added up after the third quarter. From there, the game clock gets turned off for the rest of the night and the first team to add 24 — another nod to Kobe Bryant — to whatever the leading score after three quarters was wins the game and captures another $200,000 for its charity.
“I love the idea,” said James, whose teams have won the last two All-Star games.
James’ team will be playing to benefit Chicago Scholars, which assists children trying to become first-generation college students. Antetokounmpo’s team will play for After School Matters, which funds after-school activities and summer programs.
Here are the All-Star teams for the 2020 game on Feb. 16 in Chicago (listed in order each captain picked them):
LeBron James, Lakers, 6-9, 250, F
Anthony Davis, Lakers, 6-10, 253, F
Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, 6-7, 225, F
Luka Doncic, Mavericks, 6-7, 218, G
James Harden, Rockets, 6-5, 220, G
Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers, 6-2, 195, G
Ben Simmons, 76ers, 6-10, 230, G
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets, 7-0, 284, C
Jayson Tatum, Celtics, 6-8, 210, F
Chris Paul, Thunder, 6-1, 175, G
Russell Westbrook, Rockets, 6-3, 200, G
Donovan Mitchell, Jazz, 6-1, 215, G
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, 6-11, 242, F
Joel Embiid, 76ers, 7-0, 280, C
Pascal Siakam, Raptors, 6-9, 230, F
Kemba Walker, Celtics, 6-0, 184, G
Trae Young, Hawks, 6-1, 180, G
Khris Middleton, Bucks, 6-7, 222, F
Bam Adebayo, Heat, 6-9, 255, C
Rudy Gobert, Jazz, 7-1, 258, C
Jimmy Butler, Heat, 6-7, 230, F
Kyle Lowry, Raptors, 6-0, 195, G
Brandon Ingram, Pelicans, 6-7, 190, F
Domantas Sabonis, Pacers, 6-11, 240, C