2021 All-Star Game represents a first for LeBron James, Steph Curry


LeBron James had his choice of any starter save for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kyrie Irving for his second pick during the draft for the 2021 All-Star Game, and it's not like he needed any extra motivation to opt for Stephen Curry with that pick. After all, Curry is probably the greatest shooter the game has ever seen and is putting up phenomenal numbers this season: 29.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game on .478/.411/.934 shooting. Sure, there were some other candidates that could have made sense as his second choice, like Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard (both of whom also ended up on Team LeBron). Frankly, nearly every player there could have foreseeably gone first overall... that's why they're the All-Star starters.

But James did have an extra bit of motivation to go with Curry before the veteran Warriors guard could be snatched up by former teammate Kevin Durant. That's because the 2021 All-Star Game will mark the first time that LeBron and Steph have ever played on the same team in an organized, documented basketball game, as noted by CBS Sports' Sam Quinn as an "obvious milestone" to come out of the draft.

It's obvious, when you think about it, but it's also fairly surprising. How have the two faces of the NBA, both of whom were born in Akron, Ohio, not shared the same court with the same team?

The East vs. West format, which lasted until the 2018 iteration of the event, obviously made them ineligible to play together over the years — LeBron didn't join the Western Conference until the 2018-19 season. And after that format change occurred, the two were either pitted against one another as captains (Team LeBron vs. Team Stephen in 2018, for instance), or the draft just didn't go the way that was needed to put them together.

In 2019, LeBron was captain and drafted Durant first overall before Curry went second overall to Team Giannis. In 2020, Curry was injured and didn't play. Now, finally, the two will end up on the same team for the 2021 event.

The All-Star Game wasn't the only medium through which they could have played together, though. Even players that LeBron has not gotten a chance to team up with via the All-Star Game have been his teammates in Olympic and international competition. Curry's only international play as an NBA star, however, came in the 2010 and 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cups. LeBron didn't play in either, and neither played in the 2018 games.

On the other hand, LeBron played in the and 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics, the first two of which Curry was too young for and the last of which Curry did not play in. Neither played in 2016, and it's anyone's guess what might happen for the 2020 (now 2021) Olympics.

But now that this history lesson is over, we can once again look forward to the fact that perhaps the two greatest players of this generation will finally play on the same team at the same time.

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