20 of the All-Time Best NBA All-Stars

20 of the All-Time Best NBA All-Stars

Every year around this time, basketball fans all around the world send their votes for who they think should be named this year’s NBA All-Stars. It’s a tradition that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and is one of the most exciting events throughout the entire NBA calendar. 

The All-Star roster consists of 24 of the league’s biggest stars. The highest vote-getters in each conference are named captains of the two teams and pick from a list of eight other starters. Aside from the starters, there are 14 reserves voted on by NBA coaches mid-season. 

The first All-Star game was played in 1951 as the league was trying to boost public interest in the league. It immediately became a success and has been implemented over 70 times since. It’s a weekend-long event that also features other fun events by celebrities and players alike. 

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Who Are the Best NBA All-Stars of All-Time?

20 of the All-Time Best NBA All-Stars
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Being named as an NBA All-Star is a tremendous honor for any player. It’s a testament to how their season is going, but also confirmation that their hard work and dedication isn’t going unnoticed – especially since votes come from the media, the fans, the players, and coaches.

Ever since 1951, there have been a number of players that have made a living as NBA All-Stars. They were consistently invited to the illustrious event and frequently played well when given the opportunity. They’re regarded as some of the best NBA All-Stars to ever play. 

With that said, it’s crazy to think that there are 41 players to be named NBA All-Stars at least 10 times in their career and six to achieve the feat at least 15 times. Even then, you’re still leaving out a lot of high-quality players. Without further ado, let’s meet the best NBA All-Stars of all-time. 

20. Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit was an 11-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1955 and 1965. He holds the record for most NBA All-Star MVP awards with four, a record he holds with Kobe Bryant. He was named the MVP of the All-Star Game in 1956, 1958, 1959, and 1962.

Pettit was drafted second overall by the Milwaukee Hawks in 1954 and spent his entire 11-year career with the team. He was a two-time scoring champ, one-time rebounding champ, one-time NBA champion, 11-time All-NBA, two-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Hall of Fame player. 

19. Bill Russell

Bill Russell was a 12-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1958 and 1969. He won the All-Star MVP award during the 1962-63 season after putting up 19 points and 24 rebounds for the East. The MVP award was named after Russell between 1969 and 2020.

Russell was drafted second overall by the St. Louis Haws in 1956, but was traded to the Boston Celtics on draft day. He spent his entire 13-year career with the team and was an 11-time NBA champion, five-time MVP, four-time rebounding champ, and 11-time All-NBA player. 

18. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson was a 12-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1961 and 1972. He was named the NBA All-Star MVP three times in his career, winning the award in 1961, 1964, and 1969. He has the most free throws made in a single All-Star game with 12. 

Robertson was the first overall draft pick by the Cincinnati Royals in 1960 and spent the first 10 years of his career with the team before finishing his career with the Milwaukee Bucks. He was a one-time NBA champion, one-time MVP, 11-time All-NBA player, and six-time assists champ.

17. Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson was a 12-time NBA All-Star, making the roster in 1980 and every season between 1982 and 1992 – though he missed the 1989 All-Star game. He holds the record for most assists in a single All-Star game (22) and was the All-Star MVP in 1990 and 1992. 

Johnson was the first overall draft pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and spent his entire 13-year career with the franchise. He would’ve achieved much more if his career wasn’t cut short after an HIV diagnosis. He was a three-time MVP and a five-time NBA champion. 

16. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is a 12-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 2010 and 2022, with the exception of 2020. He won his first All-Star MVP award in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but ended up winning it again in 2019 with the Golden State Warriors. 

Durant was the second overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in 2007 and has spent time with the Thunder, Warriors, and Brooklyn Nets since. He’s a four-time scoring champ, two-time NBA champion, Rookie of the Year, one-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP, and future Hall of Famer. 

15. Larry Bird

Larry Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every year between 1980 and 1988, and then between 1990 and 1992 – though he missed the 1991 and 1992 All-Star games. He was named the All-Star MVP once in his career during the 1981-82 season as a 25-year old. 

Bird was sixth overall draft pick by the Boston Celtics in 1978 and spent his entire 13-year career with the franchise. He was a three-time NBA champion, three-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, two-time Finals MVP, three-time All-Defensive, 10-time All-NBA, and Hall of Fame player. 

14. Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade was a 13-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 2005 and 2016. He was also a special roster selection in 2019 and was named the All-Star MVP in 2010 during a game where he recorded an incredible 28 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists, and 5 steals. 

Wade was the fifth overall draft pick by the Miami Heat in 2003 and spent 15 of his 16 seasons with the team. He had stints with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a one-time scoring champ, three-time NBA champion, eight-time All-NBA, and one-time Finals MVP. 

13. John Havlicek

John Havlicek was a 13-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1966 and 1978. Although he never won an All-Star MVP award, he was a productive ASG player. He could’ve had as many as 16 appearances, but was snubbed his first three years in the league. 

Havlicek was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the ninth overall draft pick in 1962 and spent his entire 16-year career with the franchise. He was an eight-time NBA champion, 11-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Defensive, and one-time Finals MVP. He was inducted into the HOF in 1984.

12. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy was a 13-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1951 and 1963 – his first 13 years in the league. He ended up winning the All-Star MVP award in 1954 (20 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists) and 1957 (10 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists). 

Cousy was the fourth overall draft pick by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in 1950, but never suited up for the team and spent the first 13 years of his career with the Boston Celtics. He retired ahead of the 1963 season and returned in 1969, but only played seven games before retiring for good. 

11. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain was a 13-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1960 and 1969, and then again between 1971 and 1973. He holds records for the most free throws attempted in a single All-Star game (16) and most career rebounds in All-Star games (197).

Chamberlain was drafted third overall by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959, also spending time with the San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers. He was a seven-time scoring champ, two-time NBA champion, Rookie of the Year, and four-time MVP. 

10. Jerry West

Jerry West was a 14-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1961 and 1974. During the 1972 All-Star Game, West was named the All-Star MVP after a performance that included 13 points, 6 rebounds, and five assists. His Western Conference won 112-110.

West was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall draft pick in 1960. He spent his entire 14-year career with the franchise and was a one-time scoring champ, one-time NBA champion, one-time assists champ, one-time Finals MVP, and Hall of Famer in 1980. 

9. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki was a 14-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 2002 and 2012, as well as 2014, 2015 (replacement selection, and 2019 (special roster selection). He was as consistent as they come, though he never won an All-Star MVP award in those seasons. 

Nowitzki was drafted ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, but was traded to the Dallas Mavericks to begin his career. He retired with the team after a storied 21-year career. He was a one-time MVP, one-time NBA champion, one-time Finals MVP, and 12-time All-NBA player. 

8. Karl Malone

Karl Malone was a 14-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1988 and 1999, and then again between 2000 and 2002. He missed the 1990 and 2002 All-Star games, but was named the All-Star MVP in both 1989 and 1993 – which he shared with John Stockton.

Malone was the 13th overall draft pick by the Utah Jazz in 1985 and spent a majority of his 19-year career with the team. He was a 14-time All-NBA, four-time All-Defensive, two-time MVP player that was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. He was known as ‘The Mailman.’ 

7. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan was a 14-time NBA All-Star, making the roster between 1985 and 1993, between 1996 and 1998, and then again in 2002 and 2003. One of the greatest players in NBA history, Jordan was named the All-Star MVP three times in 1988, 1996, and 1998. 

Jordan was drafted third overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and spent a majority of his career with the franchise. He was a 10-time scoring champ, three-time steals champ, six-time NBA champion, Defensive Player of the Year, five-time MVP, and six-time NBA Finals MVP. 

6. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal was a 15-time NBA All-Star, making the roster every season between 1993 and 1998, between 2000 and 2007, and then again in 2009 – though he missed the 1997, 2001, and 2002 games. He was named the All-Star MVP three times in 2000, 2004, and 2009. 

O’Neal was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in 1992, but also had memorable stints with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. He was a two-time scoring champ, four-time NBA champion, Rookie of the Year, one-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP, and Hall of Fame player. 

5. Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett was a 15-time NBA All-Star, making the roster between 1997 and 1998, between 2000 and 2011, and then again in 2013. He was named the MVP of the 2003 NBA All-Star Game for a performance that included 37 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, and one block.

Garnett was the fifth overall draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995, but also had memorable stints with the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. During his 21-year career in the NBA, he was a one-time NBA champion, one-time MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year. 

4. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan was a 15-time NBA All-Star, making the roster in 1998, between 2000 and 2011, and then again in 2013 and 2015. He shared the 2000 All-Star MVP award with Shaquille O’Neal, putting up 24 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, one block, and steal in the game. 

Duncan was the first overall draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs in 1997 and spent his entire 19-year career with the franchise. He was a five-time NBA champion, 15-time All-NBA, 15-time All-Defensive, Rookie of the Year, three-time Finals MVP, two-time MVP, and Hall of Famer. 

3. LeBron James

LeBron James is an 18-time NBA All-Star, which is tied for the second most all-time. He has made the roster every season since 2005, including the 2021-22 season. He has also been a team captain five years in a row, dating back to 2018. He has made a living in the All-Star game.

In fact, James holds the record for most career points, field goals made, field goals attempted, three-pointers made, and three-pointers ever attempted in the All-Star Game – though he also has the most turnovers. He was named All-Star MVP three times in 2006, 2008, and 2018. 

2. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, tied for second most all-time. He made the roster in 1998 and then every season between 2000 and 2016 – though he missed the 2010, 2014, and 2015 games. He was named All-Star MVP a record four times in 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011.

Bryant was the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 out of high school, but was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent his entire 20-year career with the franchise and was a five-time NBA champion, one-time MVP, 12-time All-Defensive player. 

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a 19-time NBA All-Star, the most all-time. He made the roster every season between 1970 and 1977, and then again between 1979 and 1989. He missed the 1973 game and was a replacement selection in 1989, though he was never named All-Star MVP. 

Abdul-Jabbar was the first overall draft pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, but also played for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a two-time scoring champ, six-time NBA champion, four-time blocks champ, six-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, and 11-time All-Defensive player in the NBA. 

Who Are the 2021-22 NBA All-Stars?

The 2021-22 NBA All-Star Weekend will be the NBA’s 71st installment of the event. It is set to begin on Friday, February 18th with the Celebrity All-Star Game and Rising Stars Challenge. The Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Contest will take place on Saturday. 

As for the NBA All-Star Game, that will take place on Sunday, February 20th. Although we’re still awaiting for the reserves to be announced, we do know that Kevin Durant and LeBron James will be this year’s captains. They were also the captains during last year’s NBA All-Star Game.

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We also know the rest of the starters from both conferences, which includes DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Trae Young, Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, Andrew Wiggins, and Ja Morant. The All-Star reserves are set to be announced on February 3rd, 2022.

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