On Thursday, All-Star captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry selected their teams for this year’s game and sprung some interesting surprises.
One of the most intriguing subplots from the draft was whether LeBron would select his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving following his departure to the Boston Celtics in the summer.
The point guard was reportedly unwilling to continue playing with the four-time MVP and there was a reported breakdown in their relationship.
However, James eliminated any controversy or potential storylines as he selected his former teammate for his All-Star team.
The King went on to explain his reasons for choosing Kyrie and cited his excitement at sharing the court with the silky ball-handler once again.
“I just tried to pick the best available players,” James said on TNT. “And to be able to team up back with Kyrie is always special, along with Kevin Love.
“Just to have another weekend to bring back some of the memories that we had when we were all together. So Kyrie was available on the draft board.
“He’s one of the best point guards that we have in our league. So it was an easy choice for me.”
Many believed James would choose not to pick his old running mate to avoid any animosity between them and because of an interesting story that emerged earlier in the day.
According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, Irving threatened to have in-season surgery on his knee if the Cavs failed to trade him and would have been prepared to sit out the season.
But this would appear to show that there are no hard feelings between the two players as they prepare to team up once again after they spent three years in Cleveland together where they reached three straight NBA finals.
The on-court dynamic between the two will certainly be interesting to watch and how they interact with one another.
As well as Irving, LBJ selected Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins in the Team LeBron starting lineup.
Stephen Curry went with Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden and Joel Embiid as his starters.
Another surprising selection by LeBron saw him pair former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Unlike Irving and King James, this relationship has broken down completely following KD’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors and they’ve had heated exchanges on the court in some of their most recent meetings.
But their captain clearly wasn’t worried about personal relationships or feuds when making his choices as he was only focused on picking the best team and he certainly looks to have done that.
The All-Star game will take place on February 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and we’ll hope the revamped format will add a level of competition to the occasion.