The NBA All-Star Weekend takes place every February. This festival of basketball is one of the league highlights each year. There are a whole bunch of events over the course of the weekend with the All-Star Game the highlight.
Of course, many players never get to play in this showpiece game. Being selected is a massive honor for any NBA athlete. Many of the All-Star Games passed by are more memorable than others because of the individual players that lit them up. So today, we’re going to take a look at 20 such legendary NBA All-Star Game performances. Not all of these players won the All-Star Game MVP Award, but most of them did. All of them were fantastic in their own way. Check out the list below.
20. Scottie Pippen – 1994
During this time, Michael Jordan shocked the world by deciding to head off and play baseball. This left Pippen to pick up the pieces for the Chicago Bulls. He did so in style, averaging 22 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. In sum, he enjoyed being the main man. His All-Star selection was inevitable.
Pippen stole the show again. The East went on and won the exhibition 127-118 in Minneapolis. He put up 29 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists. Pipper doesn’t get the same respect as Jordan, but he was incredibly influential in his own right. He helped to popularize the game.
Duncan isn’t a fashionable name nor did he ever become the same cult of personality as other brilliant players of his era. But that didn’t stop him from being highly effective. In short, this made him one of the Western Conference’s most reliable players. His showing in Oakland proved that.
In the end, he shared MVP honors with Shaquille O’Neal. However, he did enough to deserve the prize for himself. 24 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists don’t tell the full story. He threw up a double-double and did so while shooting 12-of-14 from the field. Duncan was simply one of the most reliable players of all-time.
10 years after he dazzled the Chicago crowd, Jordan was back again. The veteran was playing for a clearly inferior Eastern Conference. However, his skills were enough to make the difference and help his team to victory. Jordan scored 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting, dished out eight assists, and grabbed six rebounds.
Of course, Jordan winning the MVP award is only part of the story of an enthralling night in Madison Square Garden. It also marked the first time that Kobe Bryant played in an All-Star game. Furthermore, Shaquille O’Neal also made his first appearance as a Lakers player after missing the year before due to injury.
If your team loses, then you’re not going to win the MVP award. We’re sorry but life in the NBA isn’t fair. If it was, then Griffin definitely would have got it in 2014 when he put on the show of his life in front of the world. Instead, it was Kyrie Irving who could the prize.
But Griffin was magnificent in defeat. He scored 38 points, shooting an amazing 19-for-23 from the field. The East won 163-155, but Griffin definitely deserves credit for putting on the pressure. It’s performances like that that make the All-Star game exciting.
The astounding thing is that George didn’t win the MVP award in 2016. But he still played sensationally, scoring an insane 41 points for the East. It was just a point shy of Walt Chamberlain’s record of 42, but George achieved it in 10 fewer minutes. That’s a wild figure.
However, Russell Westbrook got the MVP honors because his team actually won. When it comes to the actual game, who cares? Sure, Westbrook was good and put up strong all-around numbers. In the end, though, it was George’s performance that everybody remembers.
This game was a high-scoring bonanza. Anthony Davis obliterated New Orleans with a sensational scoring performance. He put an All-Star game record 52 points on the board to win the MVP board. It was a ridiculously high-scoring match with the West winning 192-182.
Davis’s contribution was huge. This was his fourth appearance in an All-Star Game, but he’s since appeared in three more installments. Furthermore, Davis was the youngest player to score at least 59 points in an NBA game. Truly a tremendous talent and a scoring machine.
Could there be an All-Star list without LeBron? Arguably the player of the decade, James is a 16-time All-Star. One of his best performances was in 2008 when he blew the roof off in New Orleans. He almost recorded a triple-double, something that he did achieve in 2011.
But James still got 27 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists. James was 12-of-22 from the field overall and shot 2-of-7 from the three-point line. The two teams were level with just a minute to go when LeBron landed an epic slam dunk to ensure the East won. In short, it was brilliant performance from the Cavaliers hero.
Iverson was the catalyst behind the East’s unlikely victory over the West in the 50th edition of the All-Star game. He scored 15 of his 25 points in the final nine minutes to help the East win by a score of 111-110. They were trailing 95-74 with less than 10 minutes left. In short, it was definitely one of the best games in the series.
Kobe Bryant was a nightmare in the final seconds. He had scored 19 points in the game and could have added three more if he took the last shot. Instead, he passed it to Tim Duncan who missed. It was quite the meltdown for the West, but a great display by Iverson.
This was a notable All-Star game for a number of reasons. First of all, it smashed the attendance record, more than doubling it to 108,713. It was also the first time one of the teams didn’t wear white. With Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Pau Gasol all selected, it was going to be tough for anyone else to win the MVP award.
But Wade put on a masterclass to blow his rivals out of the water. He propelled the East to victory with 28 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Wade spent the overwhelming majority of his career with the Miami Heat. The three-time NBA champion was also a 13-time All-Star.
This was Michael Jordan’s 14th time to play in the All-Star game. After announcing his retirement, all eyes were on him throughout the exhibition. However, Garnett didn’t get the memo because he went on and stole Jordan’s thunder with one exceptional performance.
The Minnesota Timberwolves star compiled 37 points, nine rebounds, and five steals in the West’s victory. The last game decided in overtime, his team won 155-145. Garnett’s brilliance was enough to earn him MVP honors. He should probably have apologized to Jordan for ruining his moment.
Chambers deserves a lot of credit for winning MVP honors in the 1987 All-Star game. The two rosters combined had a ridiculous number of legends. The likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all played in the game. Yet Chambers managed to outshine them all.
The Seattle Supersonics man was a late addition to the All-Stars. Nobody expected him to make the impact that he did. But he took full advantage of his selection with a 34-point performance. The West’s 154-149 overtime victory was the highest-scoring NBA game at that time.
Sure, it wasn’t the highest-scoring All-Star game ever, but it was still enjoyable for a number of reasons. Chief among these was the return of Jordan after his first retirement from basketball. Naturally, the fans were very excited to see him make his All-Star comeback. So it wasn’t surprising when he won the MVP award.
But did he deserve it? Most fans watching disagreed with the decision because Shaq outpointed and outperformed him on the night. Jordan only scored 20 points to O’Neal’s 25. Meanwhile, Shaq got 10 rebounds, six more than Jordan’s four. It was a strange decision but that’s what happens when you’re a megastar.
This installment of the All-Star game went down in the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. One of the most memorable parts was the ejection of Eastern Conference Head Coach Red Auerbach. It’s an NBA record because no other coach has been removed in the history of the event.
On the court, it was all about Barry. The San Francisco Warriors’ star helped the West to victory over the heavily favored East. Barry had 38 points, six rebounds, and three assists in a dominant performance. Finally, the West ran out 135-120 winners over their rivals.
The second James inclusion on this list, he didn’t actually win the MVP award this time. That went to Kobe Bryant who played sensationally to win the coveted honor. But more on that later. James was part of a losing Eastern side in his first season with the Miami Heat.
He went down guns blazing. James put up a triple-double, scoring 29 points on 10-for-18 shooting, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists. Typically the MVP award goes to a member of the winning team so it’s not surprising he didn’t win it. However, it wouldn’t have been a travesty if he had.
We saw one of the most star-studded All-Star rosters of all-time in 1986. The game boasted Kareem Abdul-Jabar Hakeem Olajuwon, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Moses Malone. We could go on and on, but the point is that the talent pool was incredible.
However, on the day, one man stole the show. Thomas was sensational. He orchestrated nearly all of the East’s offense, driving them to victory in a very competitive game. He compiled 30 points and 10 assists. It was a fantastic showing.
The third and final LeBron segment on this list, this was one of his most impressive All-Star performances because he was so young. In fact, he broke the record for the youngest player in history to win the All-Star Game MVP award. He was just 21 at the time. That’s a sensational achievement.
James scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds on the night in Houston, Texas. The East was trailing by 21 points when James turned up the heat and went on a scoring bonanza. In the end, they ran out winners by 122-120. LeBron had arrived and the world knew it.
The Black Mamba has always put out outrageous numbers. Bryant holds the record for most points by a Lakers’ player ever. He also scored the most in a single game with an astounding 81. However, Kobe did find it difficult to stand out in All-Star games when the likes of Michael Jordan and ‘Shaq’ were on the court.
2011 changed all that. He put on the best All-Star performance of his career. Kobe scored a career-high 37 points in the game. Even more impressively he recorded 10 offensive boards in the game, an NBA All-Star record. The fact that he achieved that as a guard is all the more impressive.
Chamberlain’s statistics don’t make sense at the best of times. This is a man who once scored an NBA record 100 points in a game. As such, he’s more than a legend. The Warriors’ icon is a myth. He played for a weak Eastern Conference in 1962 but still did enough to singlehandedly keep the game competitive.
He secured 42 points on the board with 24 rebounds. Eventually, the West ran out winners by a score of 150-130. But considering they had the likes of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Bob Pettit and Oscar Robertson on their team, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Chamberlain took on the storm.
By all accounts, Johnson shouldn’t even have played in the 1992 All-Star Game. The year before he shocked the world by announcing he was retiring after contracting HIV. Despite this, he still had the love of the fans. Then the NBA allowed him to play after fans voted him in in overwhelming numbers.
It led to one of the greatest moments in All-Star history. Johnson played well, getting 25 points and nine assists. The statistics don’t tell the full story as he demonstrated the skills and tricks of a once-in-a-generation talent. With 14 seconds remaining, he scored a three-pointer. In sum, the benches cleared and both sides embraced him.
Could it have been anybody else? Jordan put on one of the greatest All-Star performances in front of his home crowd in Chicago. He’d already won the Slam Dunk Contest the day before, so he had a lot of momentum coming into this game. The Bulls star helped the East to a five-point victory over the West.
His stat line was incredible. Jordan scored 40 points with 16 coming in the final six minutes of the contest. He went 17-for-23 shooting, which is ridiculously prolific. The Bulls hero also brought in eight boards, four steals, four blocks, and three assists. It was unbelievable.