Every February, the NBA’s leading athletes attend the All-Star festivities to showcase their top-tier talent on the national stage with the rest of the association’s studs. While each player who receives the honor to play in the season’s festivities is incredibly talented already, every season’s All-Star game provides one player who is able to strut his abilities better than any of his fellow all-stars, resulting in All-Star MVP honors. Through over seventy all-star games, however, the question of which MVP is the real MVP of the entire pool arises. To shed some light on a debate with a long list of arguable answers, the top three all-time all-star performances will be highlighted and explained. Who’s the real M.V.P.?
Anthony Davis (West) 2016-17 All-Star Game Line: 52 pts, 10 rebounds, 2 stls, 66% FG
Congratulations to Anthony Davis on being named the Kia MVP of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game! pic.twitter.com/q9ldBZK3qt
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) February 20, 2017
In the highest scoring all-star game of all time, both conferences attempted to bust 200 points in the game with the West taking down the East for a final score of 192-182. The Western Conference was led by Pelicans’ superstar Anthony Davis, who checked in with an all-star record 52 points, to go along with 10 rebounds, 2 steals, and a scorching 66% shooting percentage from the floor.
There’s obvious arguments for why this performance is the greatest among any of the NBA’s 70+ all-star games. Firstly, The Brow set the league record for most points scored in the exhibition with 52, and did so on a ridiculous 66% shooting from the field. With 10 rebounds and a couple steals, one could argue for his impact on the defensive end as well.
On the flip side, however, this game is by far the highest scoring all-star game in NBA history. 52 points on 66% shooting isn’t as impressive considering the blatant lack of defense that was, or perhaps, was not on display by the East. The high scoring is a result of high shot attempts as well, so ten rebounds isn’t far out of the ordinary either. 52 points is special, though, exhibition or not – If you’re a fan of offense, this was the all-star game for you.
Lebron James (East) 2017-2018 All-Star Game Line: 29 pts, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 stl, 70% FG
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) February 19, 2018
A game that ended in a nail-biting finish, the exhilarating 2017-18 All-Star festivities were capped off with a special performance by the King himself. Lebron flirted with a triple double and finished the game with 29 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, a steal, and shot a staggering 70% from the floor.
Interestingly, of the four players who actually have pulled off a triple-double during the All-Star game in its history, none of them have been awarded the game’s MVP trophy. Nevertheless, Lebron was able to bring home the hardware as he led the East to a hairbreadth victory through a magnificent performance that included an unbelievable shooting percentage and a near-triple double.
While this was an extraordinary performance by the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T. of basketball, he didn’t set any records in his play. There has been more than a handful of 30+ point scorers in all-star game history, plenty of double-figure rebounders, and a surprising number of high efficiency, 70+ percent shooters throughout the exhibition’s past. The argument for this game is about intangibles – James put the team on his back and carried the East to a narrow three point victory – just the King being the King.
Michael Jordan (East) 1987-88 All-Star Game Line: 40 pts, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 stls, 4 blks, 74% FG
— Fastbreak Daily (@Fastbreak_Daily) February 7, 2016
Making his case as the G.O.A.T. during the regular season, playoffs, and all-star games, M.J. may possibly have turned in the best-played all-star game of all time as well. M.J. led the Eastern Conference ‘88 with 40 points on a cool 74% from the field, Next to that, his airness pulled down 8 rebounds, contributed a trio of assists, and was a menace on defense with four steals and four blocks.
In a rare display of a player turning up the heat on defense during the all-star game, M.J. piled up four steals and four blocks over just 29 minutes of play during the 1987-88 all-star contest. Not to be outdone on offense, however, he was able to drop forty points and shoot at a hyper-efficient 74% clip. Astounding numbers – what else would you expect from arguably the greatest player of all time?
Though it’s difficult to argue against what is potentially the most well-rounded MVP performance in All-Star history, the importance of defensive stats in the showcase can be argued. A game often accentuated by flashy passes and wild shot attempts, steals and blocks aren’t as difficult to come by as they are during regular season play. As such, their significance in the game is questionable. M.J. is regarded by many as the NBA’s all-time G.O.A.T. – can the same be said about him among all All-Star MVP’s?