Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Selected to Start 2021 NBA All-Star Game
Durant leads Eastern Conference in voting and will be team captain
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been selected to start in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, to be held March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Durant and Harden become the fifth and sixth Nets All-Star Game starter selections, along with Derrick Coleman (1994), Kenny Anderson (1994), Vince Carter (2005), and Jason Kidd (2008). Kidd (2002) and Carter (2006) also started All-Star Games as replacements. It’s the first time two Nets have been selected as starters since Coleman and Anderson in 1994.
“Kyrie and Kevin have been outstanding and were appreciated by the voters and well-deserved,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “So exciting times for Nets fans.”
This will be the 11th All-Star Game and ninth start for Durant, whose All-Star Game scoring average of 25.0 is the second-highest in NBA history. Durant was an All-Star for 10 consecutive years before missing the 2019-20 season due to injury. He was the game’s MVP in 2012 and 2019.
As the leading vote-getter among Eastern Conference players, Durant will be one of two All-Star Game team captains, along with LeBron James, and he and James will draft their teams from among the players voted as starters and those selected as reserves. All-Star reserves, to be chosen by coaches, will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and the All-Star Draft will be held on Thursday, March 4.
Durant is averaging 29.0 points on 52.4 percent shooting, including 43.4 percent from 3-point range, and he’s averaging 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Irving will be making his fifth start in his seventh All-Star game. He previously was an All-Star for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015 and 2017 to 2019. Irving was the MVP of the 2014 All-Star Game after scoring 31 points with 14 assists.
This season, Irving is averaging a career-high 28.3 points per game while shooting 53.4 percent overall and 44.2 percent from 3-point range and 91.8 percent on free throws, along with 5.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.
"I'm really grateful that I have the support not only from the community that I come from but communities all over to be able to vote, vote my teammates in – excuse me, vote (Kevin Durant) in and hopefully we get James (Harden) in as well – and we just want to always put on a great performance after we take the hours to go home and work on our craft, and then we get selected of the best of the best in the world," said Irving after Thursday night's win over the Lakers. "So that honor doesn't just go over my head. Like I said in the beginning of the season I know how much I care about being validated culturally, just my culture in terms of the hooping culture. That's where I came from. The NBA culture in terms of the fanatic and all the awards and accolades. They mean a lot too, but I do it for the love; so anytime I get a chance to do it on a bigger stage in front of millions of people, I'm gonna take full advantage of that. All glory to God for the talent that he's given me. And then, we have fun just building camaraderie as a brotherhood in the NBA and All-Star game."
Harden, acquired by the Nets on Jan. 14 was third among Eastern Conference guards, holding that position in separate voting among fans, players, and the media. The fan vote accounted for 50 percent of the vote for the All-Star Game starters, while players and media accounted for 25 percent each.
If Harden is eventually added as a reserve, it would mark the first time the franchise has sent three players to the All-Star Game. Along with Coleman and Anderson in 1994, the Nets have had two All-Stars on two other occasions — Kidd and Kenyon Martin in 2004, and Kidd and Carter in 2007.
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