In his first turn as an All-Star Game team captain, Kevin Durant was in a Brooklyn state of mind.
With his first opportunity in each round, Durant selected Nets teammates, first with Kyrie Irving among the starters and then James Harden among the reserves.
Going head-to-head with LeBron James in the 2021 All-Star Game draft, Durant filled out Team Durant with Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, and Jayson Tatum joining Irving in the starting lineup, and Harden, Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, and Donovan Mitchell as the reserves.
James had the first pick overall and took Giannis Antetokounmpo before Durant selected Irving, with the order flipping and Durant selecting first when it came time to choose among the reserves.
Sunday’s All-Star Game will air at 8 p.m. on TNT, preceded by the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest at 6:30 p.m., with the Slam Dunk content to be held at halftime of the All-Star Game.
As part of the league’s commitment of more than $3 million in support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in conjunction with the All-Star Game, Team Durant will play for the United Negro College Fund, with an initial contribution of $500,000, and further funding to come based on end of quarter scores throughout the game.
While he remained a team captain as the leading vote-getter among Eastern Conference Players, Durant will not be participating in this year’s game due to the hamstring strain that has sidelined him for Brooklyn’s last nine games. Durant had previously played in 10 consecutive All-Star Games before missing the 2019-20 season, selected as a starter eight times and being named the game’s MVP in 2012 and 2019. Durant’s career All-Star Game scoring average of 25.0 points is the second highest in league history.
The selection of Durant and Irving as starters this season, with Harden as a reserve, gave the Nets three All-Stars for the first time in franchise history. The Nets previously had multiple All-Stars in 1994 (Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson), 2004 (Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin), and 2007 (Kidd and Vince Carter).
Irving will be making his seventh All-Star Game appearance and fifth start. He’s been selected every season that he hasn’t been limited by injury since 2012-13 and has now been chosen as a starter in his last four All-Star Games. Irving was named the game’s MVP in 2014 after scoring 31 points with 14 assists.
Harden is making his ninth consecutive All-Star Game appearance, having been selected as a Western Conference starter in each of the last four seasons, and six times overall.