The NBA All-Star Game is a fan’s dream come true; the chance to see the best players team up and face each other in a game that puts talent and showmanship at the forefront, but can also bring out competitiveness. Likewise, for players to continuously appear in All-Star Games is not only a testament to their fanfare around the world (at the end, it is a popularity contest), but also their sustained dominance throughout the years.
Which NBA player has the most All-Star Game appearances? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James are tied for the most All-Star Game appearances in NBA history, with 18 appearances each. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was selected to 19 All-Star Game teams, although he missed the game one year; James has been selected to play, and has played in, 18 consecutive games, and as he is still active, Lebron is likely to break the record for most appearances in the 2022-23 NBA season.
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How many NBA All-star Games did Kobe Bryant play in?
The late, great Kobe Bryant was also selected to play in 18 NBA All-star games. Sadly he was unable to take the court on 3 occasions due to injury (2010, 2014 & 2015). This left Kobe with a still very impressive 15 appearances during his 20 year career.
How did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play in so many All-Star Games?
The record-holder for the most career points, it’s no wonder that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was just about always around for the NBA All-Star Game. Abdul-Jabbar was selected to the All-Star Game 19 times in his 20 year career, which is an NBA record. He played in all but one of the games, after extraordinary circumstances in 1973 led to fear for his safety, and he decided to skip the game. He wasn’t selected to the 1978 All-Star Game after missing significant time early on in the season due to injury. Despite playing in so many All-Star Games, Abdul-Jabbar never won the All-Star Game MVP award.
How has LeBron James played in so many All-Star Games?
LeBron James has one of the most storied NBA careers, especially if you look at his All-Star Game record. After not making the All-Star Game in his rookie year (he came 4th in voting at the time), he has made 18 consecutive All-Star Game appearances, which is an NBA record. He has won 3 All-Star Game MVP awards and has been a captain in each edition of the new All-Star Game format introduced in 2018, of which his team has won each time so far. James also holds the record for total points scored in All-Star Games. James has been a mainstay in the All-Star Game thanks to his immense talent and performances which have also made him extremely popular amongst voters.
Which players have been selected for the All-Star Game every year of their career?
Three legendary players have had the privilege of being selected to the All-Star Game in every single season of their career: Jerry West, Julius Erving, and Bob Pettit. Jerry West was selected to 14 All-Star Games, played in all but two, and also won the MVP once. Erving and Pettit were each selected to and played in 11 All-Star Games; Erving won two MVP awards and Pettit won 4 MVP awards, one of which he shared with Elgin Baylor.
List of NBA Players with most All-star Game selections
|Player||NBA All-star Game Selections|
List accurate as of 2022 All-star Game, selections only regardless of appearance in the game itself.
Which NBA player has won the most All-Star Game MVP awards?
At the end of each All-Star Game, one All-Star is awarded with the All-Star Game MVP award. The record for most All-Star Game MVPs is shared between Bob Pettit and Kobe Bryant, who both won it 4 times each. Interestingly enough, both players shared the All-Star Game MVP award the third time they won it in their careers; Pettit shared it with Elgin Baylor in 1959, while Kobe shared it with Shaquille O’Neal in 2009. The All-Star Game MVP has since been renamed after Kobe Bryant.
How does the NBA All-Star Game voting work?
The current format of the NBA All-Star Game voting has been in place since 2018; previously, it was Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference, but now teams are put together by captains who build their teams based on the pool of players, regardless of their conference. The pool is split into starters and reserves; starters are voted by a mix of fan votes (50%), player votes (25%), and media votes (25%), resulting in 5 starters from each conference. The starting teams are comprised of 2 backcourt players (guards) and 3 frontcourt players (forwards and centers). The reserves are selected by coaches, resulting in 7 reserves from each conference. The players with the most votes in their respective conferences are chosen as the team captains, and they then pick players to build their teams in the All-Star Draft.
How does the NBA All-Star Game work?
Once voting is complete and the two rosters are constructed, the All-Star Game is played. Since 2020, the game has a different structure from not only the traditional All-Star format, but a normal NBA game altogether. The first three quarters are 12 minutes each, and the scoreline resets every time. In the 2022 All-Star Game, the winner of each quarter (team with the most points) earns donations for their chosen charity. At the end of the third quarter, the scores for each team from each quarter are added up, which then sets a target score for the fourth quarter, which is untimed.
For example, Team A scored 50, 35, and 40 in each quarter, while Team B scored 55, 45, and 30. Team B won the first and second quarters, while Team A won the third quarter. The score heading in to the fourth quarter is 130-125, with Team B in the lead. The target score is +24 of the leading team’s score (24 is a tribute to Kobe Bryant’s jersey number); Team A would need to score 29 points to win, while Team B would only need 24 points to win. The game ends once a team reaches the target score first, regardless of how long it takes.
It is no coincidence that two of the players most lauded for their longevity and dominance also share the record for the most NBA All-Star Game appearances. It is no easy feat to play for a long time in the NBA, let alone at the elite level that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James have played at in their respective careers. It comes as no shock at all that their long-term dominance has seen voters choose them to be perennial All-Stars.