LeBron picks Giannis; KD gets Kyrie

(Agence France-Presse) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

LOS ANGELES – LeBron James chose Giannis  Antetokounmpo to spearhead his NBA All-Star Game line-up on Thursday as rival  captain Kevin Durant opted for Brooklyn team-mate Kyrie Irving with his top  pick.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James -- who had the right of first choice  from the player pool after topping votes for the All-Star game -- wasted no  time in drafting the Milwaukee Bucks’ reigning league MVP Antetokounmpo.

Durant, who will be a non-playing captain in Sunday’s showpiece in Atlanta  due to injury, chose Irving with the second pick.

James, meanwhile, filled out his starting line-up with Golden State Warriors  star Steph Curry, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and in-form Denver Nuggets  power forward Nikola Jokic.

Durant, meanwhile, added Philadelphia 76ers power forward Joel Embiid and Los  Angeles Clippers talisman Kawhi Leonard with his second and third picks.

Washington Wizards league-leading scorer Bradley Beal and Boston’s Jayson  Tatum completed the Team Durant starting line-up.

Sunday’s All-Star game has been scheduled during a mid-season break that  originally was meant to give every player a rest as part of a restructured  campaign because of the shorter-than-usual off-season.

James and other top players have criticised the decision to go ahead with  the game, with James last month describing the move as a “slap in the face” for  weary players.

All-Star festivities surrounding the game have been scaled back and no  spectators, parties or special events have been planned to coincide with the  game, traditionally a highlight of the NBA calendar.

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