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Top 10 NBA All-Star Game Performances

photo by Keith Allison, 2014, CC 2.0

For 70 years, the NBA All-Star Game has been the greatest exhibition of basketball talent in the world. This is especially true of the past 20 years, with the league seeing a sharp increase in international players. The following list features the top 10 individual performances in All-Star Game history.

1) Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, 1988

In a historic season in which he won NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and a scoring title, Jordan’s talent was on full display at the All-Star Game in Chicago. The Bulls’ great scored 40 points while shooting 17 of 23 from the field and going 6-6 from the free-throw line. He also added eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and four blocks. Always at his best in the clutch, Jordan scored 16 points in the final 5:30 to fight off a Western Conference rally and secure a 138-133 victory for the East.

2) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, 2017

In the highest-scoring game in All-Star Game history, Davis scored 52 points to break Wilt Chamberlain’s single-game record. He also set records for most points in a quarter (20) and half (30), and most field goals made (26) and attempted (39). The Pelicans’ big man added 10 rebounds and two steals in the West’s 192-182 victory in front of the home crowd in New Orleans.

3) Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors, 1962

Chamberlain’s 1961-62 season was the most dominant display of individual talent in NBA history. The Warriors’ center set records with 100 points in a game, a 50.4 scoring average and 42 points in the All-Star Game, a record that would stand for 55 years. In addition to his 42 points, Chamberlain pulled down 24 rebounds and shot 17 of 23 from the field in a 150-130 loss for the East in St. Louis.

4) Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2014

In one of the most efficient performances in All-Star Game history, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard scored 31 points on 14 of 17 shooting, and added five rebounds and 14 assists in the East’s 163-155 victory in New Orleans. Irving’s performance was also instrumental in bringing Eastern Conference teammate LeBron James back to Cleveland the next season.

5) Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, 2011

In 2011, Bryant tied Bob Pettit’s record with his fourth All-Star Game MVP. Bryant’s 2011 performance turned out to be his best. The Lakers’ Hall of Famer led all players with 37 points and 14 rebounds, including an All-Star record 10 offensive rebounds. Bryant added three assists and three steals in the West’s 148-143 win at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

6) Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2003

In a night that was supposed to be highlighted by Michael Jordan’s final All-Star appearance, it was the Timberwolves’ Garnett who stole the show. The versatile 6’11” forward scored 37 points on 17 of 24 shooting, and added nine rebounds, three assists and five steals in the West’s 155-145 double overtime win in Atlanta.

7) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2018

In the first year of the new captains format, captain James hit the go-ahead shot with 34 seconds remaining to lead Team LeBron to a thrilling 148-145 comeback win over Team Stephen (Curry) in Los Angeles. James had 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the game.

8) Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, 1964

The first televised All-Star Game almost didn’t happen. After players threatened to walk out before the game, owners agreed at the last minute to recognize the Players Union and grant several of their demands. After winning off the court, Robertson, who was head of the union, won the game’s MVP with 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in the East’s 111-107 win at Boston Garden.

9) Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers, 1977

In the first All-Star Game after the NBA-ABA merger, Erving led all players with 30 points, 12 rebounds and four steals at Milwaukee Arena. The East lost the game 125-124, but the 76ers’ star was the best player on the court in a game featuring the top talent from two leagues.

10) Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers, 2001

With the East trailing by 21 in the fourth quarter, the 2001 scoring champ and MVP scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the final nine minutes to lead the East to a 111-110 comeback win in Philadelphia. Iverson also had five assists and four steals in the game.

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