The January to March basketball calendar is one of the best three-month periods in all of sport. We have the end of the NBA season, rolling into the NBA playoffs and All-Star matches, followed almost immediately by March madness.
It will be non-stop basketball for over three months, and we can’t get enough of it.
This year, we might be the most excited about the All-Stars match. Will Team Lebron (if he’s selected) make it a 5th victory in a row, or will the other team cause an upset.
Today, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at the 5 greatest All-Star teams to grace the NBA court.
What is the All-Stars Match?
2022 will see the 71st annual All-Stars match. This match is played between two teams, each made up of who the NBA believes to be the best players of the year. The game takes place every February after the NBA season has ended.
Before 2018 one team was made up of the best players from the East Conference, and the other was made up of the best players from the West Conference. Up until four years ago, the teams were named East and West.
But they are now named after their captains, and the captains are allowed to select their teams from the All-Star pool. The conference of the player no longer matters.
#5 – 1983, Team East
For many, this match was memorable for the incredible way that Marvin Gaye performed the national anthem before the match started. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now.
However, don’t let that distract you from the incredible talent that was on the court that day – Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, David Thompson, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and George Gervin, just to name a few.
Erving was named MVP that day thanks to his incredible points tally of 25.
This was the event that put the All-Star match on the map for many people. We all felt lucky to see so many amazing players playing in one match. Both Team East and Team West deserve a spot on this list.
#4 – 2005, Team East
One of the best things about All-Star matches is that they are always close. So, for all the years that we mention, both teams really do deserve praise.
The 2005 event was unforgettable for many reasons. Let’s start with the act of kindness.
2005 was to be Micheal Jordan’s final All-Star match, he had been selected as a reserve, but Vince Carter gave up his spot on the team for Jordan.
Jordan went on to score 20 points in that match. He would have won his team the match if another player hadn’t fouled Kobe Bryant. Because of the foul, Bryant scored 2 points and took the game to extra time.
In the end, Allen Iverson was named the MVP after scoring 35 points for team East.
However, no one will forget the incredible final performance MJ treated us to.
#3 – 2001, Team East
This match witnessed the greatest comeback in the history of the NBA All-Stars competition. And this match also started Allen “The Answer” Iverson.
Team East was trailing by 20 points with 9 minutes left on the clock. If the score had stayed that way, it would have been the biggest losing margin ever seen in an All-Stars game.
However, Iverson wasn’t going to let that happen.
Many had expected Team East to dominate the whole match, as Team West’s best player (Shaq) was out with an injury. But Team West put in a shockingly strong performance throughout most of the match.
Iverson has already scored 10 points in that match but went on to score another 15 in the last 9 minutes and brought the game to 111-110 with less than a minute left on the clock.
With 4 seconds left on the clock, Kobe Bryant had a chance to take the final shot, but he ended up passing to Tim Duncan, who missed.
#2 – 1992, Team West
Even if this game hadn’t been exciting, we would have considered putting it on this list for the impact it had on the game of basketball and American society as a whole.
In 1992, Magic Johnson surprisingly ended his season early after contracting the HIV virus. He returned for the All-Stars match. The NBA turned the match into an HIV awareness event and fully supported Johnson.
However, much of the press and even a few players were openly against Johnson returning to the game. A lot of this was based on false beliefs about the virus and how it was spread.
In an emotional moment, both Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas openly supported Johnson and even took part in one-on-one periods of play during the match.
Johnson went on to score 20 points during the match, winning the game for his team and getting himself the MVP title. His performance and his friends’ support changed the way many sports fans saw the HIV crisis, and the game raised money to support Aids and HIV sufferers.
#1 – 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 – Team LeBron
LeBron James has been one of the most successful All-Stars captains in NBA history. His team has won the last four matches in a row. In their most recent victory, they beat their opponents by 20 points – a nearly unheard-of margin of victory in All-Stars games.
It is hard to pick out the best year for this time because every time they have stepped out onto the court together, they have excelled and exceeded expectations.
If LeBron is picked for the All-Stars this year, he will join Kobe Bryant as the second most selected All-Star player of all time, with 17 selections. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar currently holds the record with 19 games for the All-Stars.
Do you think LeBron will be named captain for the 2022 All-Stars game? Find odds on this and more All-Stars events at Fanduel.com.