Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo lead their respective conferences in the first tally of fan voting for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
According to totals released by the league on Thursday, James is the first player to get more than 1 million votes (1,083,363) for the February 17 showcase at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Veteran guards Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose appeared to benefit from the sentimental vote as they occupied starting spots in their respective conferences.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are on course to play against each other in the All-Star game
Miami Heat shooting guard Wade, who is playing his final NBA season, followed the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving in the East.
Rose, who is enjoying a revival with the Minnesota Timberwolves after years of injury struggles, beat fellow former MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook to second among guards in the West behind the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry.
Derrick Rose scored a remarkable career-high 50 points for the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this season
The other leading vote-getters in the West include Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic and Curry’s Warriors teammate Kevin Durant.
Antetokounmpo (991,561) is second overall in the early returns, with the other Eastern Conference front court positions occupied by Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
The fan voting accounts for 50 per cent of the final determination of the 10 All-Star starters, with voting by current NBA players and a media panel each accounting for 25 per cent.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had the most votes in the Eastern Conference
The top vote-getters from each conference will serve as team captains. They will draft rosters from the players who are named as starters and reserves, regardless of conference affiliation.
The All-Star draft will be televised for the first time this year, revealing the order in which players are picked after such information was kept quiet last year.
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