The NBA All-Star Game has provided fans a time during every season to take a break and watch some of the greatest players in history compete amongst each other. In doing so, there have been some pretty spectacular performances from those players that actually take the game seriously, which has been one of the main criticisms of the All-Star Game in recent years. For example, in 1962 Wilt Chamberlain scored 42 points and grabbed 24 rebounds en route to his Eastern Conference All-Star team’s loss.
In more recent years, fans have seen Michael Jordan drop 40 points in the 1988 All-Star Game, with 16 of those points coming in the final six minutes. For some All-Stars, the weekend of festivities offers a chance to participate in a few events, such as the 3-point or dunk contest, and watch the future stars of the league square off in a friendly game between each other.
While it would be nice to see LeBron James take part in the dunk contest, don’t get your hopes up. It seems that recently, some of the greatest stars in the league have chosen to sit out most of the activities, which hurts All-Star weekend overall. Yes, it was sweet to see Blake Griffin jump over a Kia Optima in the dunk contest, but wouldn’t it have been more exciting if he jumped over an actual player during the All-Star game?
Beginning in 1951, All-Star weekend was created for the fans to gather the league’s greatest talent and attempt to make the playing field equal, at least for one game. By crowning a player the All-Star Game MVP, it gives a little extra incentive for those who are still trying to prove themselves, or just can’t satisfy their egos for one game. Here is a list of the All-Star Game MVPs from 2005-2014.
2005. – Allen Iverson – Philadelphia 76ers
Making his sixth All-Star game appearance, Allen Iverson made it count while being an Eastern Conference All-Star. Alongside other stars such as Vince Carter, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal, Iverson scored 15 points, dished out 10 assists, and had five steals en route to the East’s victory, 125-115. It was Iverson’s second ASG MVP Award of his career, but certainly not his last All-Star Game, as he went on to make it to All-Star weekend five more times before his retirement. His 26.7 PPG during the regular season rank him sixth on the all-time list, while Iverson’s 29.7 PPG in the playoffs put him second on that list, right behind Michael Jordan.
2006. – LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
The 55th All-Star Game was one to remember for all fans. Not only because it was a good game, but it was also when the country was finally introduced to “King” James on the big stage. Behind James’ 29 points and six rebounds, the East beat the West 122-120. The first of LeBron’s All-Star Game MVP Awards was also the most special to date for the superstar, as he became the youngest player in NBA history to win the award. Not only was James named the ASG MVP, but he was also a finalist in the PlayStation Skills Challenge before the game, barely being beaten out by his future Miami Heat teammate Dwayne Wade.
2007. – Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
The 2007 All-Star Game was the first one ever played in a city without an active NBA franchise, as well as the first time the ASG was played at a college campus. Kobe Bryant led the West to a 153-132 win against the East with 31 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. With his performance, Bryant moved from 11th to 10th on the all-time ASG scoring list, passing Magic Johnson. The 2007 ASG was Bryant’s ninth selection of his career, tied for the second most selections on the Western Conference’s roster, behind Kevin Garnett’s 10 appearances at the time.
2008. – LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
Making his fourth All-Star Game appearance, James’ 2008 performance was one of the best to date. Despite his team being down in the fourth quarter, LeBron and Ray Allen teamed up to pull out the win for the Eastern Conference, 134-128. James scored 27 points for the East, including an amazing slam-dunk in the final minutes of the game. Even though Allen had more votes than James, the fan vote named James MVP, showing how much the award had become a popularity contest among fans. The 2008 ASG in New Orleans was the first major sporting event that was held in the city since Hurricane Katrina dismantled the bayou in 2005.
2009. – Shaquille O’Neal – Phoenix Suns/ Kobe Bryant LA Lakers
In a complete dismantling of the Eastern Conference, the Western All-Stars went on to win the game 146-119. Leading the West, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, had four assists, and tallied four steals for the team. In addition to Bryant, O’Neal added 17 points, going 8-9 from the field in just 11 minutes of play, leading to the two splitting the MVP Award. It was the first time that the MVP Award had been shared since the 2000 ASG when Shaq split it with fellow big man Tim Duncan. The 2009 ASG MVP was the third such award of their careers for both Bryant and O’Neal.
2010. – Dwyane Wade – Miami Heat
With an all-time high attendance of 108,713 in Dallas, Texas, Dwyane Wade put on a shooting clinic en route to the Eastern Conference All-Stars’ 141-139 win. Wade shot a lights out 75% from the field, scoring 8 points with 11 assists and 6 rebounds. It was Wade’s sixth ASG selection and he was third in total voting for the Eastern Conference, behind Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and LeBron James of the Cavaliers. The 2010 ASG MVP was the only one of Wade’s career thus far, which looks to be on the downside. As he gets older, younger and more lively players such as Paul George and Kyrie Irving have taken over for the Eastern Conference, but don’t count Wade out just yet, he still has a little bit left in his tank.
2011. – Kobe Bryant – LA Lakers
In his 13th straight All-Star Game selection, Kobe Bryant dominated while playing on his home court of the Staples Center. Bryant scored 37 points with 14 rebounds and three steals, as he took home his fourth All-Star Game MVP Award and helped the West win 148-143. With his 2011 ASG MVP Award, Bryant tied NBA Hall of Famer Bob Pettit for the most ASG MVP Awards all-time. Kobe also led both the Eastern and Western conference All-Stars in total fan votes, tallying 2,380,016, the most he had ever received. Bryant’s 13th selection to the game tied him for the most on the West’s roster, along with Tim Duncan’s 13 appearances as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
2012. – Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
In a historic game for Durant and Kobe Bryant, the Western Conference held off the East for a 152-149 victory. Durant led all scorers with 36 points, with 34 of those points coming within the first three quarters of the game. The 2012 ASG was also a historic one, as the West scored 89 points in the first half, the most ever in a All-Star Game. It was also historic for Bryant, as he moved past Michael Jordan to top the all-time ASG scoring list with 262 points. However, because of Durant’s performance, Bryant was stuck with his four ASG MVP Awards as Kevin Durant won his first in just his third overall appearance.
2013. – Chris Paul – LA Clippers
Despite Kevin Durant making history as the only player to ever score at least 30 points in three straight All-Star Games, Chris Paul was the one who led the Western Conference to its 143-138 victory. Paul led all players with 15 assists and added a 7-for-10 night of shooting to tally 20 total points for the team. It was CP3’s sixth ASG selection and he fit right in with this particular lineup. Along with his teammate Blake Griffin, the Western Conference All-Star team was dominated with athletes from LA, including Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
2014. – Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers
The 2014 All-Star game was the highest scoring All-Star Game of all time, as the East went on to defeat the West, 163-155. In just his second ASG appearance, Kyrie Irving took the team over, as he dropped 31 points on the Western Conference and dished out 14 assists. The 2014 All-Star Game saw 11 different records broken, along with Carmelo Anthony’s record 8 3-pointers as he was fuelled by Kyrie Irving’s rock star night in New Orleans. Even though Irving went nuts during the ASG, his Cleveland Cavaliers are currently 14 games under .500, leading many to believe this may be one of Irving’s last seasons as a Cavalier.