LeBron James has faced Giannis Antetokounmpo as an opponent in the last three All-Star Games.
The Los Angeles Lakers' star got him as a teammate this year.
James used the No. 1 overall pick on Antetokounmpo — the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP from Milwaukee — in the draft for Sunday’s All-Star Game in Atlanta. Kevin Durant, who will not play in the All-Star Game because of injury but still is the captain for Team Durant, took Brooklyn teammate Kyrie Irving with his first pick.
The other starters for Team LeBron will be Stephen Curry of Golden State, Luka Doncic of Dallas and Nikola Jokic of Denver. The other starters for Team Durant will be Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, 2020 All-Star MVP Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, Bradley Beal of Washington and Jayson Tatum of Boston.
This is the fourth year of the NBA's playing captain format for the All-Star Game. James is 3-0, beating teams captained by Curry in 2018 and Antetokounmpo in the last two seasons.
“I just try to pick players that can complement one another,” James said during the draft that was taped Wednesday and aired Thursday night on TNT. “When we’re on the floor, we’ll try to play the game the right way. It’s the All-Star Game, so there’s going to be some shenanigans out there. But for the majority of the game, we’re going to try to play the right way and come out with a win.”
Durant had the first pick of the reserve round and took another Brooklyn teammate, James Harden with the opening selection there. James’ first pick among the reserves was Damian Lillard of Portland, Durant followed by taking Devin Booker of Phoenix, and James countered by selecting Ben Simmons of Philadelphia.
“I wanted Ben Simmons. I wanted Ben,” Durant said.