The NBA All-Star Game is one of the greatest showcases in the sports world. The game’s best athletes put on a jaw-dropping show that includes a 3-point barrage, incredible passes, and huge dunks. Eastbay athletes strive to reach the big stage, and ten of our cover athletes were selected to participate in this year’s All-Star Game. Here’s a closer look:
King James is no stranger to the All-Star Game as he will be making his 13th straight appearance in the game and has been the game’s MVP twice. James earned his place in this year’s game with nearly 26 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds per game.
LeBron will be joined by his Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving, who is making his fourth All-Star Game appearance. Irving’s play jumped to another level during last year’s playoffs, and he’s picked up right where he left off this season with 24 points, six assists and three rebounds per game this season.
Golden State’s roster is more stacked than ever, but Stephen Curry’s play continues to amaze fans and opponents alike. As a key part in a deadly offense, Curry is averaging nearly 25 points, six assists, and four rebounds per game for the league’s top team.
Golden State’s newest Warrior has had no problem adjusting to his new team this season. Adding a whole new dimension to the Warrior’s offensive attack, KD’s averaging almost 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per contest.
Draymond’s stats aren’t as gaudy as some other superstars, but he’s the glue that holds together one the league’s marquee teams. Green does a little bit of everything for the Warriors with 10 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and one-and-a-half blocks per game.
Harden has exploded this season after taking over the point guard role for one of the league’s most improved teams. Harden’s always been a scoring threat, but in his new role his assist numbers are even more impressive. The MVP candidate is averaging 29 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds per contest.
Mr. Triple Double has had one of the best seasons in NBA history so far with 31 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds per game. Russ has been on a tear all season and after being snubbed a starting spot in the All-Star Game, it’s likely that he’ll make some noise off the bench this weekend.
Nike’s newest signature athlete is having another strong season for Indiana with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. Getting your first signature shoe and your fourth All-Star appearance in the same season? Not bad, PG.
The Brow is having another monster year. Arguably the game’s best big man, AD is averaging nearly 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. It’s his fourth straight All-Star Game appearance, and at only 23 years old, he’ll likely be playing in this game for the next decade or so.
John Wall will appear in his fourth straight All-Star Game this weekend. The point guard is putting up nearly 23 points, 11 assists, and 5 rebounds per game for one of the Eastern Conference’s best team. Wall’s flashy style of play is perfect for the All-Star Game, so expect some highlights from the former Wildcat.
Congrats to all of our cover athletes and good luck in the All-Star Game! Who do you have winning MVP honors this weekend? Let us know in the comments!
This year’s 65th NBA All-Star teams have been announced, and we’re happy to have ten Eastbay athletes heading to Toronto for the game. Eastbay is for the dedicated, the driven, and the focused — it’s why athletes dream of being on our cover. The following athletes are a testament to the goals and values of Eastbay, and without further ado, our 2015-2016 NBA All-Stars:
STEPHEN CURRY (PG) – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
What’s there to say about Curry that hasn’t already been said? Last year’s MVP also won 2015’s 3-point contest with a record 27 points. While trying to defend that title this year, Curry will try to add a new piece of hardware that he’s never had: All-Star Game MVP.
Despite a not-so-great supporting cast and coming off of an ACL tear, PG is carrying the (currently in 8th) Pacers into the playoffs. When times are tough, PG gets tougher. He’s made the All-Star team every season since 2013, with the exception of last year due to his season-long injury.
LEBRON JAMES (F) – CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Despite all the noise, the pressure, and the off-court distractions, LeBron James has been a cool customer this season (he’s averaging nearly identical numbers to last year). As the Cavs struggle to mesh, they at least know their identity: LBJ. And he’ll carry that competitive dedication into the All-Star game. You can count on that.
JAMES HARDEN (G) – HOUSTON ROCKETS
The bearded baron has been a scoring machine this season, averaging 27.5 points per game and nearly 7 assists. He’s ready for any challenge, and his fearlessness has allowed him to sink some ludicrous game winners. Often overshadowed by Stephen Curry (who isn’t?), he still has the filthiest step-back in all of basketball. This will be his fourth straight All-Star appearance.
ANTHONY DAVIS (C) – NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Loud, proud, and uni-browed, Anthony Davis is making his third straight All-Star appearance, averaging 22 points and 10 boards per game. Though he’s struggled with injuries, Davis is playing like an All-Star, and deserves his spot on the squad.
With seven straight appearances, KD is a permanent fixture on All-Star weekend. It’s crazy to think that two stars as big and bright as Russ and KD can share not only the same sky, but also the same court. Grab your telescopes and watch as the 2012 All-Star Game MVP tries to regain his former title from his fellow teammate.
CHRIS PAUL (PG) – LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
In 2013, Chris Paul led the West with 20 points and 15 assists to earn the All-Star MVP Award. He has nearly the same regular season numbers this year as he did that year, so is it destiny for him to regain his past All-Star Weekend glory? This will be Chris Paul’s ninth overall All-Star appearance.
KOBE BRYANT (SG) – LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Eighteen straight All-Star Game appearances. Eighteen straight. No matter how many times you say it, that accomplishment is hard to fathom. Though some may question this bid, it’s an incredible nod to his career achievements, fierce competitiveness, and his endearing presence in the game of basketball. Hats off to Kobe for a tremendous accomplishment.
Tell us in the comments below who you think will win the dunk contest, 3-point contest, and All-Star Game MVP!
Draymond Green was drafted in 2012 with the 35th overall pick by Golden State, and his presence in the basketball realm was significant and immediate. Known as a top NBA defender, he completely transformed his body in a single offseason through hard work and dedication. Draymond preaches confidence on the court, and having fun off of it, and that combo must work because last season, he was an integral part of Golden State’s championship team.
EASTBAY: First of all, what’s it like to be an NBA Champion? DRAYMOND: It’s hard to put into words. It continues to feel surreal. I sometimes sit back and think, “Man, we won an NBA Championship? I’m an NBA Champion?” It never feels real. It’s just a very good feeling that’s very, very hard to describe to anyone else. It was like “Wow, I can breathe now.”
EASTBAY: You guys had incredible on-court symmetry. How were you able to accomplish that? DRAYMOND: It was a work in progress. We got a new coaching staff. We had to iron out a lot of kinks. If you would’ve seen us day one in training camp, you would’ve never thought we would win the championship. Coach used say, “We just have to get better. We’re not very good.” I knew we had an opportunity to be really good, but if you would’ve seen us, it was like elementary school. It was tough, but you’re talking about a team that’s very close off the court. Being that close carries over onto the court. You trust each other.
EASTBAY: How did winning two state championships in high school prepare you for this?
DRAYMOND: Back then that was the biggest thing in my life. Like, “Man, we’re state champs.” It taught me how to be a winner and the necessary steps you need to take to go back-to-back. We won a lot at MSU: the Big Ten Tournament, we won three Big Ten Championships, played in two Final Fours, and played in the National Championship game. Going from all of those steps to winning an NBA championship, you continue to learn because it gets tougher and tougher. There are a lot of things that go into that. And those past experiences of winning have helped prepare me for this moment.
EASTBAY: What was the experience like at Michigan State. DRAYMOND: I always wear Michigan State gear. I love Michigan State. It’s a huge reason behind where I am today. Playing for Izzo — for him, good isn’t good enough, and great isn’t great enough. He’s looking for perfection. And you know how often you’re going to reach perfection no matter what you’re doing? Zero. But what that does is push you to be better, and continue to push you to work and want more. I thought I was good when I got to MSU, but I wasn’t. I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know how to work. I didn’t know how to work out. Growing up, all I did was play basketball every day. Obviously, playing every day, you’re going get better, but some of the things that I needed to do, I didn’t have the slightest clue. And they taught me that.
EASTBAY: What are your goals heading into next season?
DRAYMOND: I have a few different goals that span past the season. But number one, to come into the season in-shape. Everyone talks about the championship hangover, and everyone’s gonna be gunnin’ for you from the jump. So, come back in good shape. I want to shoot. I don’t want to be streaky from the 3-point line. I don’t want to put a number on it, because if you get to that number, you’re satisfied, and if you don’t, people look at you as a failure. So, I just want to be more consistent from the 3-point line. Also, I want to push for the All-Star Game. That’s one of the next steps in my career. I’ve won a championship, and I want to win many more of those. But I want to be an All-Star. It’s something that’s really high on my priority list. Obviously, I want to go back-to-back. Not many teams have done that, and I want to be on one of those teams that do that — and I think we can do it. I want to make the USA roster. That’s one of my biggest goals. When I played in the World University Game going into my senior year of college, we fell short and didn’t win gold. I was crushed, because I was thinking that was my last opportunity to play for USA. But to be provided that opportunity for next year’s training camp, it’s a realistic goal.
EASTBAY: What are you doing right now to prepare for that? DRAYMOND: One thing I’m really taking more seriously is lifting — strength and conditioning. I’ve been able to lose weight and change my body over the course of my career, but the one thing I need to take more seriously is the weights part. I’ve done cardio and all that stuff, but as far as lifting weights and strengthening my core, I haven’t really taken that as seriously as I need to. It’s the first time since my junior year where I’ve really focused on lifting. And that’s when I took off.
EASTBAY: What kind of advice would you give a high school kid in order to stay on top of their game? DRAYMOND: Number one, you have to work. When you think you’re at the top, you have to work even harder than you did to get where you are. Always want to get better. You’re never good enough, because there’s always somebody else working. Believe it or not, but there’s always somebody out there that’s better. As far as repeating, you’ve got to come into the mindset that everyone’s gunning for you if you’re a champion and trying to repeat. There are no nights off. Even if it’s the worst team in the league, they’re gunning for you. You’ve gotta sacrifice for each other if you want to win a championship. Everybody’s gonna be in your ear, everybody thinks they have an answer now, but they don’t know what you really went through to win that championship together. Ya’ll got to stick together, with that mindset of “it’s us against the world.”
EASTBAY: You’re wearing the Soldier now, what do you think about it?
DRAYMOND: I used to wear the Soldier in college when it was super heavy, but I was super heavy in college. As the years have gone on, it’s continued to get lighter and lighter and just become a much better shoe. I think it’s just one of the most comfortable shoes, and I feel I get the ankle support I need. I’ve worn it in the last two NBA seasons, and it’s been phenomenal. Grab all the Nike basketball gear Draymond trusts.
EASTBAY: What do you think about the straps on the Soldier 9?
DRAYMOND: I think the straps are great — the placement is phenomenal. The top strap gives me all the ankle support in the world.
EASTBAY: Do you have any pre-game rituals with your gear? DRAYMOND: When I warm up, I wear a certain thing every game, no matter what it is. If I have a bad game, you know, sometimes I’ll switch shirts or something, but I usually try to keep everything the same. And I don’t get dressed until coach starts talking. No matter if I’m bored with nothing to do, I will not get dressed and put my shorts and jersey on until he starts talking. It’s just something I started doing, and I like to keep everything the same. I’m one of those guys who thinks “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and it’s never been broke, so why fix it?
EASTBAY: What does it mean to be an athlete on Eastbay’s catalog? DRAYMOND: For someone to tell me that I’m gonna be on the cover of Eastbay, I kept laughing at them. You have these dreams, but they seem so farfetched. You want to believe it, but you really know it will never happen. And just to be on the cover of Eastbay, that’s one one of those dreams like, “aww man that would be dope, but it will never happen.” For it to be happening — it’s amazing to me.