2021 NBA All-Star Game: Broadcast, rules and predictions
The most talented basketball players on the planet come together for the annual NBA All-Star Game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
This year's NBA All-Star action will be jam-packed into one day of entertainment due to COVID-19 restrictions in the US.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Lakers great LeBron James will be team captains this year, although a hamstring injury will prevent Durant from playing. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will start in place of Durant.
This is the first time Atlanta has hosted the All-Star Game since 2003 when Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan made his final All-Star appearance.
We've got a comprehensive guide available that breaks down all your options to watch the NBA All-Star day.
NBA All-Star Game schedule
The NBA's All-Star festivities normally run over an entire weekend but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be packed into one day this year.
It will be staged on Monday 8 March AEDT at State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. Due to time constraints, the Rising Stars Challenge will not be held. But rosters were still named to honour the league's top first- and second-year players.
Here is a breakdown of the events on the program (all times AEDT).
- 9am: NBA All-Star Pre-Game Show
- 10:30am: Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest
- 12pm: NBA All-Star Game (Slam Dunk Contest at halftime)
How to watch NBA All-Star game live in Australia
As stated above, we have a full viewing guide to the All-Star game that you can see here. ESPN is the official broadcaster of the game in Australia. Foxtel iQ, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports are your main viewing options, along with Fetch TV and NBA League Pass. You can watch for free on Kayo Sports using its 14-day free trial for new users. Foxtel Now also offers a 10-day free trial.
How does the NBA All-Star game work?
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game will have the same competitive format as last year, a dynamic set-up that makes every quarter count. It works like this:
- The two All-Star teams will compete to win each quarter for their respective beneficiaries.
- Each of the first three quarters will begin with a score of 0-0 and will last 12 minutes. The winner of each 12-minute quarter (first, second and third) will be the team that scores the most points within the quarter.
- The fourth quarter will be untimed and the teams will play to a Final Target Score. It means that the game will end with a made basket or a made free throw instead of with the clock running out.
- The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team's total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points. The 24 representing Kobe Bryant's jersey number.
- The first team to reach (or surpass) the Final Target Score will win the NBA All-Star Game.
NBA All-Star rosters
|Team LeBron - Player||Team||Age||Position||All-Star appearances|
|LeBron James||Los Angeles Lakers||36||Forward||17|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||26||Power Forward||5|
|Stephen Curry||Golden State||32||Point Guard||7|
|Jaylen Brown||Boston Celtics||24||Shooting Guard||1|
|Paul George||LA Clippers||30||Power Forward||7|
|Damian Lillard||Portland||30||Point Guard||6|
|Domantas Sabonis||Indiana Pacers||24||Power Forward||2|
|Ben Simmons*||Philadelphia 76ers||24||Point Guard||3|
|Team Durant - Player||Team||Age||Position||All-Star appearances|
|Bradley Beal||Washington Wizards||27||Shooting Guard||3|
|Joel Embiid*||Philadelphia 76ers||26||Power Forward||4|
|Kyrie Irving||Brooklyn Nets||28||Point Guard||7|
|Kawhi Leonard||LA Clippers||29||Forward||5|
|Jayson Tatum||Boston Celtics||23||Power Forward||2|
|James Harden||Brooklyn Nets||31||Point Guard||9|
|Zach LaVine||Chicago Bulls||25||Shooting Guard||1|
|Julius Randle||New York Knicks||26||Power Forward||1|
|Nikola Vucevic||Orlando Magic||30||Center||2|
|Zion Williamson||New Orleans||20||Power Forward||1|
|Anthony Davis**||Los Angeles Lakers||27||Power Forward||8|
* Absent due to COVID-19 protocols
** Absent due to injury
All-Star Game predictions
We're tipping LeBron James' team to triumph in this fun format. "King" James has been the undefeated (3-0) Western Conference captain since the NBA introduced a draft format for its All-Star clash in 2018.
This is Kevin Durant's first time as Easter Conference leader and sadly the Nets star won't have a chance to play due to injury.
James had the first-pick advantage and predictably went with the "Greek Freak" Giannis Antetokounmpo and then Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.
There will be plenty of interest in Durant's pick on the reserves bench in 2019 No.1 draft pick Zion Williamson. He also boasts Brooklyn Nets teammate Kyrie Irving and 2020 All-Star game MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Why is the Slam Dunk contest at halftime this year?
Fans will be accustomed to the dunking competition being part of the standalone activities leading up to the game itself. But in a reduced schedule, the 2021 Slam Dunk Contest will double as halftime entertainment for the All-Star Game.
In previous years, the field has consisted of four players. But this year, three of the league's up-and-coming high flyers will take part. They are Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks, Portland's Anfernee Simons and Cassius Stanley from the Pacers.
It will be the first Dunk Contest appearance for each of the three players, two of whom are rookies, Toppin and Stanley. All will compete in the first round, with two of them making the final.
Image source: Kayo Sports