Every year 24 players from the NBA come together to showcase their talents and skillset in the annual NBA All-Star Game. The starting 5 players from each respective conference are chosen by fans around the world as they vote for who they like to see play. For example, Kobe Bryant is nowhere close to an All-Star this season. Bryant is averaging 16.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.0 spg, and shooting a career low 35%. However, this is Bryant's last season and he is one of the best to ever play so the fans feel like they should send him off the right way, which is understandable. While the starting 5 is left up to the fans, the remaining 14 players are chosen by the head coaches from each conference.
Choosing 14 players from a league of over 450 is not a easy task at all. Coaches have to look at individual stats, team stats, and much more to consider a player for a spot on an All-Star team. Sometimes, players are chosen because they have the NBA's best record at the All-Star break. For example, the Pistons sent Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups to an All-Star Game the same year because they were the best team in the Eastern Conference at the time. The Atlanta Hawks had Kyle Korver, Paul Milsap, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford go to the All-Star game last season for the same exact reason. These players may not have the best indiviudla stats, but they were a great team and deserved to be recognized. The Hawks are not as good as they use to be, causing Milsap to be the only All-Star this season, showing how much can change in a year.
We all have heard of the "The Dream Team" but what about an "All-Star Dream Team?" What if coaches had to pick an All-Star team from every player in NBA history? I'm no NBA coach but time to take a stab at it.
14 -Starting 5-
13 PG - Magic Johnson
The Los Angeles Lakers were a dominant franchise in the '60s and mid-70s, going to 9 NBA Finals in 12 seasons. After the Lakers did not reach the Finals for stretch of time, they drafted Magic Johnson and went to the NBA Finals to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 in the series to win their first NBA Championship in 8 years. Johnson winning an NBA Championship in his rookie season was just the start to his legacy as a player.
Johnson went on to finish his Hall of Fame career as a 5-time NBA Champion, a 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 3-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, 2-time All-Star Game MVP, and a 9-time All-NBA First team selection. Johnson also played for the infamous "Dream Team" at the 1992 Olympic Games, in which they won the gold medal.
Johnson averaged 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.2 apg and 1.9 spg in 13 seasons.
12 SG - Michael Jordan
Arguably the best player to ever pick up a basketball and step foot on the NBA hardware, so no explanation really needed here.
Prior to Jordan being drafted in 1984, the Chicago Bulls had never reached the NBA Finals in their franchise history. In 1991, Jordan and the Bulls reached the Finals for the first time, where they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Jordan and the Bulls went on to win the next 2 NBA Championships, completing their first three-peat. After Jordan won three NBA Championships he retired for 2 years. During those two years, the Houston Rockets won back-to-back championships. Jordan saw that the Rockets were taking over and came back, winning three more championships in another three-peat for the Bulls.
During his time with the Bulls, Jordan led the team to the playoffs every single season and was a 6-time NBA Champion, 6-time NBA Finals MVP, 5-time NBA MVP, 2-time Hall of Famer (Individual and Dream Team), 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, 2-time Slam Dunk champion, 14-time All-Star, and made 11 All-NBA teams.
11 SF - Larry Bird
The Boston Celtics were already an established franchise before Larry Bird joined them in 1978, but Bird contributed to their dominance when he came into the league. During his rookie season, Bird helped carry the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals where they fell short to the Philadelphia 76ers in 5 games. The very next year, the Celtics used that loss to motivate them and went to the NBA Finals where they beat the Rockets in 6 games, winning their 14th NBA Championship.
Over the next 7 seasons, Bird led the Celtics to 6 Conference Championships games and 4 NBA Finals, winning the Celtics 2 more Championships. Bird finished his Hall of Fame career as a 3-time NBA Champion, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, 3-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, 3-time three-point champion, and made the All-NBA First Team 9 times.
10 PF - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The NBA's all-time leading scorer has to make the list because he was a dominant big man. Kareem played with two teams his whole career, Los Angeles and Milwaukee, and had success with both franchises. With Milwaukee, Kareem brought them an NBA Championship his second season in the league. During his six season with Milwaukee, Kareem was a NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, 3-time NBA MVP, 6-time All-Star, 4-time All-NBA First Team selection, and a 2-time All-Defensive First Team selection.
When Kareem left Milwaukee, he went to the Lakers with two other Hall of Famers (James Worthy and Magic Johnson) to dominate the NBA. With the Lakers, Kareem won 5 NBA titles, was a NBA Finals MVP, 3-time NBA MVP, 13-time All-Star, 6-time All-NBA First Team selection and a 3-time All-Defensive First team selection.
Kareem retired in 1989 and still holds the NBA record for most points in a career at 38,387. Kareem is also the only NBA Player in history to win a NBA Championship, NBA Finals MVP Award, and an NBA MVP award with 2 different teams.
9 C - Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain was the first dominant big man the NBA had ever seen. During his rookie season in the league, Chamberlain averaged a staggering 37.6 ppg and 27.0 rpg. Chamberlain was one of those players that you loved to play with and hated to play against. Chamberlain is the only player in history to average 30 and 20, and he did it seven times. Chamberlain still holds the record for most points in a single game at 100.
The Hall of Fame big man finished his career averaging 30.1 ppg and 22.9 rpg, the only player in history to average 30 and 20 for their entire career. Chamberlain was a 2-time NBA Champion (with Philadelphia and Los Angeles), NBA Finals MVP in 1972, 4-time NBA MVP, 13-time NBA All-Star, and a 7-time All-NBA First Team selection. Chamberlain also led the league in scoring seven years in a row and led the league in rebounding 11 times.
7 Isiah Thomas
Isiah Thomas is one of the best point guards to ever play the game. His craftiness, quickness, and creativeness made him standout among other guards in the league. Thomas was also apart of "The Bad Boys" with the Detroit Pistons, who figured out the code on how to stop Michael Jordan, beating the Bulls two years in a row in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons went on to win both NBA Finals those two years, their first championships in franchise history.
In his 13 seasons with the Pistons, Thomas was a 2-time champion, NBA Finals MVP (1990), 12-time All-Star, 2-time All-Star Game MVP, and made 5 All-NBA teams.
6 Tim Duncan
Mr. Fundamental, Tim Duncan is arguably the best PF to ever play the game. Duncan was never the flashy player like all the other players on this list, but he always got the job done and stuck to the basics of basketball. Duncan is the perfect example of somebody that still the fundamentals of the game to assist his team, including him abusing the backboard over the past 19 years.
In just his second season with the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan helped the Spurs to their first NBA Championship in franchise history. That was just the beginning for Duncan and the Spurs. After their first NBA Championship, the Spurs went back to five NBA Finals, winning four more NBA Championships. Since Duncan has arrived in San Antonio, they have made the playoffs every single season, which is 18 in a row and will be 19 after this season. Duncan is nearing retirement, but might get one more ring before he leaves the game, as the Spurs are favorite to win the Western Conference this season behind the champion Golden State Warriors.
Duncan so far in his career is a 5-time NBA champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 2-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star, has been selected to 15 All-NBA teams, and 15 All-Defensive teams.
5 Kobe Bryant
The Black Mamba, Kobe Bean Bryant is set to retire this season as one of the best to ever play the game of basketball. Kobe, along with Shaq, are still considered as one of the best NBA duos of all-time. Bryant was drafted in 1996 and by 2002 had three NBA Championships, after the Lakers finished their 3-peat. In 2004, the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals, trying to win 4 NBA Championships in 5 years, but came up short to the Detroit Pistons. After their loss in the NBA Finals to the Pistons, Shaq and Bryant split up, causing people to believe the Lakers would not win anymore championships without him. In addition, their Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson left the team.
The following season, the Lakers failed to reach the playoffs. After 3 straight seasons of not making it past the first round, Bryant knew he needed help in order to become a title contender again. In 2007, he got his wish as the Lakers signed all-star Pau Gasol. The same season, Bryant and the Lakers reached the NBA Finals, but fell short to the Boston Celtics in 6 games. Over the next 2 seasons, the Lakers reached the NBA Finals and this time came away with 2 NBA Championships, quieting all the critics who thought Bryant needed Shaq in order to be successful. Phil Jackson also returned for these NBA Finals trips as well.
After this season, Bryant will finish his career as a 5-time champion (the Lakers have no chance of making the playoffs this season), 2-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP (2008), 18-time All-Star, 4-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, 15-time All-NBA team selection, 12-time All-Defensive team selection, and a 2-time Slam Dunk champion. Bryant also has the third highest career points, only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
4 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal was just an unstoppable force in the paint. He would overpower his opponents like they were kids on a playground. Shaq and Kobe Bryant dominated when they were together, going to 4 NBA Finals in 5 years, winning 3 NBA Champions in a row.
In 2004, O'Neal left the Lakers and joined the Miami Heat, alongside Dwyane Wade. During his first season with the Heat, Shaq helped lead the Heat to the Eastern Conference Final against the Detroit Pistons but fell short in 7 games. The following season, the Heat made it back to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they had to face the Pistons again. This time, the Heat would not be denied as they beat the Pistons and made their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. The Heat went on to win the NBA Championship, beating the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games.
Shaq finished his career as a 4-time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP (2000), 15-time All-Star, 3-time NBA All-Star MVP, 1time All-NBA team selection, 3-time All-Defensive second team selection, and 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist.
3 Bill Russell
Most people know about Bill Russell because he has the most NBA rings in history with 11, but people really don't know how dominant Russell and the Celtics were. Russell played in the NBA for 13 seasons. In those 13 seasons, the Celtics reached the NBA Finals 12 times, including winning 8 straight NBA Championships. Just to show how much of an impact Russell had on the Celtics, when he retired in 1969, the team did not make the playoffs the following two seasons.
Russell finished his Hall of Fame career as a 11-time NBA Champion, 5-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, and was selected to 11 All-NBA teams. Russell had a career average of 15.1 ppg, 22.5 rpg and 4.3 apg (The league did not keep track of steals and blocks at this time).
2 Hakeem Olajuwon
In his 17 seasons with the Houston Rockets, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon took the Rockets to the playoffs 14 times, including 4 Western Conference Finals and 3 NBA Finals. Olajuwon help lead the Rockets to the NBA Finals in just his second season, although they lost to the more experienced Boston Celtics.
When Michael Jordan retired from the NBA in 1993 after winning three straight NBA Championships, Olajuwon and the Rockets knew this was their chance. With Jordan away, the Rockets went on to win the first 2 NBA Championships in franchise history. Those 2 Championships caused Jordan to come back and win three straight NBA Championships again.
Olajuwon was one of the quickest and craftiest big men the league has ever seen. He had a bag of tricks when he was in the post that would have defenders confused and baffled. Olajuwon finished his career as a 2-time NBA Champion, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP (1994), 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, 12-time All-Star, selected to 12 All-NBA teams, and selected to 9 All-Defensive teams.
1 LeBron James
Before LeBron James arrived in Cleveland, they had no hope of ever winning a title. Since becoming a franchise in 1970, the Cavs had never reached the NBA Finals in their entire franchise history, but King James was the savior they were looking for.
During his first 2 seasons with the Cavs, they failed to make the playoffs, having everybody think he was overrated and was not the player everybody thought he was. However, James kept working, practicing and making himself better and in 2007, the Cavs made the NBA Finals for the first time, in James' fourth season in the NBA. James was the backbone to this team and literally carried them all the way to the Finals. Although the Spurs swept the Cavs in the Finals, Cavs fans, players, and owners knew they had made the right decision in drafting James to bring the city their first title.
In 2010, there was a setback when James left the Cavs to join the Miami Heat with superstars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. While there for 4 years, the Heat went to the NBA Finals 4 straight years, winning two NBA Championships. In 2014, James announced he was returning to Cleveland to deliver an NBA Championship like he said he would. James did not disappoint as he took the Cavs to the NBA Finals his first year back, but although James put on a unforgettable show and gave it his all, the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in 6 games. Now that James has a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, which he did not have last playoffs, the Cavs can make another run at a title and hopefully bring the Cavs their first Championship.
At this point in his career, James is a 2-time NBA Champion, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, 4-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, 2-time All-Star Game MVP, selected to 11 All-NBA teams and selected to 6 All-Defensive teams. The scariest thing about his stats is that he is only 31. Let that sink in.
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