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How has NBA All-Star selection changed over the years?

The process of becoming an NBA All-Star isn’t what it once was

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Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) guards Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) as the teams play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Salt Lake City will host NBA All-Star Weekend this year from Feb. 17-19, 30 years after the league’s midseason showcase was last in Utah.

Over the past three decades, much has changed about All-Star Weekend, including how NBA All-Stars are selected.

How are NBA All-Star starters selected?

  • Starting in the 2016-2017 season, according to NBA.com, NBA players and select media joined fans in selecting starting lineups (more on that later).
  • Fans now account for 50% of the vote, while all current NBA players and media account for 25% each.
  • Once the votes are tallied, players are ranked in each conference (West and East) by position (guard and front court) within each of the three voting groups. Each player’s score is calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fans, players and media. The two guards and three front court players with the best score in each conference are named starters.
  • Fan votes serve as the tiebreaker for players in a position group with the same score.
  • Since 2018, instead of East vs. West teams, two captains pick the teams. The captains are the All-Star starters who earn the most fan votes in their respective conferences. Alternating picks, the captains draft the eight remaining players from the starter pool in the first round.

How were NBA All-Star starters selected in the past?

  • According to NBA.com, for the first 24 NBA All-Star Games (1951 until 1974), a panel of select media, namely sportswriters and broadcasters, chose each conference’s starting five (as well as three bench players).
  • In 1975, NBA All-Star fan voting was introduced and the fans selected all 10 starters, which remained the case until the 2016-17 season.

How are NBA All-Star reserves selected?

  • Until 1973, each NBA team had to be represented with at least one player and a maximum of three players, NBA.com reports.
  • When fan voting for starters was introduced, the coaches were then given the responsibility to select the seven reserves for each team.
  • Coaches still select reserves today, though they are now divvied up during the draft process.