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NBA All-Star Game reverts to East-West classic format

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (right) could line up alongside French prodigy Victor Wembanyama in the NBA All-Star game. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK – LeBron James and French prodigy Victor Wembanyama could line up alongside each other at next year’s National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star game after the league announced the annual showpiece will return to a classic Eastern Conference versus Western Conference format on Wednesday.

The showdown of elite NBA talent will be played on February 18 at Indianapolis at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers. Indianapolis will host the NBA All-Star for the first time since 1985.

The voting process for the 73rd NBA All-Star Game to determine the All-Stars line-up will remain the same with 12 players chosen from each conference.

For the past six years, the league had used a format in which the top vote-getters from each conference were named team captains and held a draft to select a roster among the rest of the players, regardless of conference.

In 2020, the NBA changed the scoring format to create a “target score” in which the point total of the leading team after three quarters was raised by 24 points, in a nod to the late Kobe Bryant’s jersey number, and whichever team reached the target score would win the contest.

NBA All-Star Game team captains will continue to be the starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes.

Under the prior format, Team LeBron James won five NBA All-Star Games in a row before losing to Team Giannis Antetokounmpo earlier this year.

Through the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, the East had earned a 37-29 edge over the West in the All-Star Game rivalry. AFP