Bob Pettit, Kobe Bryant (four), Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal (three) are the only players with more All-Star Game MVPs than James, who took the honours in 2006 and 2008. In 2014 during the Sochi Olympics, an average of 7.5 million people watched the NBA's best at the All-Star Game.
There was sufficient doubt the novelty of a new format would translate to the court after tip-off.
"It's one of the few cities that we have in our league that can accommodate all of this", James said. "They did a great job of trying to figure out the way to get the most out of us and the most out of this weekend".
Of course, the testament to whether the new format and increased player incentives would actually work would be defense. One can imagine a blowout in either direction robbing the game of its newfound intensity.
"They put on a show, but they gave the crowd something to root for rather than just wilding with dunks and lobs", said Paul George, who scored 16 points for Team LeBron. Everybody wanted to see where each player would end up and see if that added any extra tension to the game itself. Not only would the fourth bring a comeback and some defense with it, but these two mega-teams were running plays down the stretch!
However, there will be a handful of other teams that will likely pursue James, such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, and New York Knicks.
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The mano-a-mano was the stuff of "real-game" theater, with Embiid bullying his way to the bucket with his balletic footwork, blocking a layup attempt by George at a crucial moment, and LeBron avenging with a step-back 3-pointer over the Philadelphia center to tie the score at 144-144.
Stephen Curry would love to be an National Basketball Association all-star game captain again next year, especially since the game will be in his hometown of Charlotte.
Team LeBron staged a second-half rally and then got the defensive stops they needed in the fourth quarter to win the classic after trailing by two points at halftime.
For the first time in recent memory, the NBA All-Star Game produced a competitive, down-to-the-wire matchup that came down to the final play Sunday night. He was able to hit Kyrie on the baseline, and playing with Kyrie for so many games, you know, if I just make myself available, he would find me. "The fact is that these players are not just basketball players, they're multi-dimensional, they care about their communities, and they care about what's happening in our country".
When asked, again, who he would pick for his All-Star team, Antetokounmpo said, "I would pick LeBron".
With captain Stephen Curry sitting on the bench eating popcorn, Team Stephen maintained its lead early in the third. Team Stephen grew their lead to 11 while LeBron and KD got some rest.
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