The NBA All-Star Game has taken on many formats over the years. It’s gone from a showdown of the best players in each conference to a glorified layup line to a nostalgic pickup game between friends. With the 2020 All-Star Game only a few weeks away, let’s find out how much players really make from this “halfway point” of the season.
The NBA All-Star Game over the years
When the All-Star Game was created in 1951, no one thought it would reach the heights it has today. For over 65 seasons, it saw the leading vote-getters from the Eastern Conference going toe-to-toe against the Western Conference.
Starting with the 2018 version of the All-Star Game, the player who led their conference in votes became the team captain. Each captain alternated picking players from the pool of All-Stars. This eliminated the traditional East-versus-West format and has become popular with players and fans.
How much do All-Star players make?
For the 2019 All-Star Game, players on the winning team earned $100,000. Those on the losing team won $25,000 each. This was important to a lot of the players because it made the game worth their time.
Both teams also select specific charities to play for. The winning team receives $350,000 for their charity and the losing team receives $150,000.
This year’s All-Star starters
The starters are selected by fan voting via NBA.com, with the highest vote-getter from each conference earning the team captain title. The captains then select the players for their team in an old-school back and forth process.
Coaches and general managers vote on the reserves for each conference. Here are the starters for the 2020 game:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (captain)
- Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
- Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
- Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
- Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the East. Notably, two first-time All-Stars, Trae Young and Pascal Siakam, will start. The latter athlete is the 2019 Most Improved Player in the NBA.
Kemba Walker serves as a starter for the second straight season. The strength of this team has to be up front, as Embiid is easily a top-two center in the NBA when he is healthy. The glaring weakness will be at point guard with Young, who will have a tough time defending the West’s guards.
- LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (captain)
- Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
- James Harden, Houston Rockets
- Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
The 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Luka Doncic will serve as the new face of the West. Everyone else in the lineup is a multi-time All-Star, with two MVPs in LeBron James and James Harden.
The strength of this team is at the forward position, as Davis, James, and Leonard are all arguably top-five players in the NBA. The only issue will be whether Luka Doncic is healthy enough to play in this game. If not, who will replace him as a starter?
Which NBA players got snubbed?
Each year, fans see snubs for both All-Star teams. This season could be arguably some of the biggest. In the Western Conference, Paul George missing out seems to be the biggest gripe with fans. He’s teamed up with Leonard to keep the Clippers as a top-four seed in the West while averaging 23 points and six rebounds per game.
Additionally, fans are sad to miss out on Devin Booker after he’s averaged 27 points per game this season. He is widely talented on the offensive end but the Suns aren’t moving the meter; their dysfunction makes them unimportant to casual NBA viewers.
In the East, Bradley Beal continues to play exceptionally, but the Wizards are struggling to stay in playoff contention. He did sign an extension last summer to give himself some security. It may have been a smart move as he wasn’t selected for a reserve spot this year.
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