The NBA All-Star Game will take place on February 19, and no one will know the team lineups until that night.
Not even the players.
The team captains — likely the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo or Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant — will pick their teammates live as part of a televised segment shortly before the game in Salt Lake City.
The NBA and Players Association announced the format change Tuesday.
It will be the sixth edition with the format in which the captains choose their team. In the first five instances, the templates were chosen days before.
Captains and starters will be announced on Thursday.
James has been captain in each of the past five editions and, based on the results of the vote released by the league last week, he is virtually guaranteed to do so again. The leader of the Eastern and Western Conference voting wins the right to be captain.
Durant was the early voting leader in the East, but fell slightly behind Antetokounmpo in the most recent vote. He is still expected to start and it will be known until Thursday if he regains the lead in the voting.
Voting to decide the incumbents ended on Saturday.
“I want to play,” Durant told reporters in New York on Tuesday. “I want to be a part of all those events.”
James’ teams are 5-0 when he’s captained.
Durant captained as the leading voter the past two seasons. Antetokounmpo was in the two previous editions, 2019 and 2020.
Three forward players (wings and center) as well as two point guards are chosen from each conference as starters. Voting leaders from each conference serve as captains and choose their teams.
Fan voting accounts for 50% of the vote, media ballots for 25%, and NBA player ballots for the remaining 25%.
The substitutes – seven players chosen by coaches – will be announced on February 2.