The NBA All-Star Game will take place on February 19th, and no one will know the team lineups until that night.
Not even a player.
Team captains — possibly LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee or Kevin Durant of Brooklyn — will choose their teammates live as part of a televised segment shortly before the game in Salt Lake City.
The NBA and Players Association announced the format change on Tuesday.
This will be the sixth edition of the format in which the captains pick their team. In the first five examples, the templates were selected the day before.
The captain and starters will be announced on Thursday.
James has been captain in each of the last five editions and going by the polling results released by the league last week, he is almost assured that he will be again. The Eastern and Western Conference voting leaders win the right to be captain.
Durant was formerly the early-voting leader, but fell slightly behind Antetokounmpo in the most recent vote. He is still expected to be the starter and it will be known on Thursday if he takes the lead in the vote.
Voting to decide the office bearers ended on Saturday.
“I want to play,” Durant told reporters in New York on Tuesday. “I want to be a part of all those events.”
The team is 5-0 when James is captain.
Durant captained the last two seasons as the leading voter. Antetokounmpo was in the last two editions, 2019 and 2020.
Three forward players (wings and centers) as well as two point guards are selected from each conference as starters. The voting leaders of each conference serve as captains and select their teams.
Fan voting accounts for 50% of the vote, media ballots account for 25%, and NBA player ballots account for the remaining 25%.
The substitutes – seven players selected by the coaches – will be announced on 2 February.