With less than a month until the 2015 NBA all-star game at Madison Square Garden, basketball fans don’t have long to wait until they find out who will make a mark on the big occasion this year. After last year’s incredible 163-155 victory for the Eastern conference – their first win since 2010 – this year promises to be just as exciting.
We can’t promise that there will be another record-breaking number of points scored to upset the bookmakers and thrill fans, but the quality of play is certain to be outstanding and the action will have fans across the world, particularly those who have placed a bet with betfair, glued to the edge of their seats. With just a matter of weeks until East meet West again, it is a great time to look back on the men who have shone in the all-star game in the past. There are any number of worthy candidates, and supporters of the different franchises may disagree, but here are our three of the best.
Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Lew Alcindor) enjoyed a 20-year career in the NBA, first appearing for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969-70 season and then joining the LA Lakers in 1975-76. By the time he played his last game at the top level in 1988-89, he had appeared in the NBA over 1500 times and had amassed over 38,000 points. During his NBA career, Abdul-Jabbar won the NBA Championship on six occasions, and was also named NBA MVP six times. Abdul-Jabbar made his first all-star appearance in 1970, in a game the Eastern conference would win 142-135, and would go on to be selected a further 18 times and appear on a further 17 occasions. The only year that Abdul-Jabbar missed out on selection throughout his whole career was 1978 and he still holds the record for number of selections, number of appearances and minutes on court (449).
Another dominant Center who made the all-star game his own was Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain made his NBA debut for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959-60, a year after first appearing for the Harlem Globetrotters. During his 14 seasons in the NBA, Chamberlain enjoyed spells with the San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and then the LA Lakers, where he preceded Abdul-Jabbar in the middle of the court. Chamberlain won the NBA Championship twice (1967 and 1972) and was named NBA MVP four times. Also like Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain was selected in the all-star game in all but one of his NBA seasons (1970) and still holds the record for the most career rebounds (197). Despite his longevity, Chamberlain makes the cut as one of our top three because of his exploits in just one all-star game, 1962. To this day, Chamberlain still holds the record for most points in a game after amassing 42 in the Eastern Conference’s 150-130 victory. The Eastern conference’s second highest scorer on the day was Richie Guerin, who scored just 23 points.
Despite Chamberlain and Abdul-Jabbar’s exploits, neither of them come close to Michael Jordan in terms of their fame. The NBA legend was initially drafted in 1984 by the Chicago Bulls and would remain with franchise until the end of the 1997-98 season, when he retired for the second time (he had already retired once but came back after a brief spell playing baseball). After three seasons away from the sport, he returned with the Washington Wizards and played for a further two years before hanging up his sneakers in April 2013. Jordan won the NBA Championship on six occasions, each whilst with the Bulls, and was named MVP five times. Jordan won all-star selection 14 times, including in both of the seasons that he represented the Wizards – he was aged 39 when he played in his last all-star game in 2003. Jordan was the first man ever to record a triple double in the all-star game (1997) and currently holds the joint career record for steals (37) in the all-star game along with Kobe Bryant.