The All-Star Game is fast approaching where the best players in the world will be pinned against each other. For some players, it is a yearly occurrence of seeing their name on the All-Star Game roster. Among the best players in the history of the NBA, 10 players have made at least 14 All-Star appearances, which also happens to be the top-10 among players.
There is only one player that remains active on this list and he is chasing down greatness. Right now, LeBron James is tied for the second-most appearances in this game. If he can play like an All-Star for two more years, he could be the first to reach 20 appearances. Among the other nine great players ever, these are the 10 NBA All-Stars with the most appearances.
10. Jerry West - 14 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1961-1974)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 1972
Missed All-Star Games: 1969, 1974
All-Star Stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.6 APG
Out of his 14 selections, West has been named MVP once. It came in 1972, where he was coached by his head coach Bill Sharman. West logged 13 minutes and played 27 minutes. What stood out the most, was that he was able to pull off being the hometown hero, as the game was played at The Forum, and hit the last-second 20-foot jump shot to break a tie and win the game for the West.
Among other years, West scored 20 points in the game two times. The 1971 All-Star Game saw him make nine assists, but his most efficient game came in 1972, where he connected on 6-of-9 shots from the field. In the 12 games he played, he made 11 starts.
9. Dirk Nowitzki - 14 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (2002-2012, 2014-2015, 2019)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: None
Missed All-Star Games: None
All-Star Stats: 8.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG
You have to give Nowitzki a break when it comes to his overall stats. Longevity is what matters here. With that said, Nowitzki scored double figures in the All-Star Game just five times. His best performance came in 2010 when he scored 22 points but was not rewarded with All-Star Game MVP, which was awarded to Dwyane Wade.
Nowitzki was named a starter in two of the 14 games he played. As a matter of fact, Nowitzki was healthy enough to play in every All-Star Game he was selected for. That includes in 2019 when he was 40 years old and played for three minutes.
8. Karl Malone - 14 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1988-1998, 2000-2002)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 1989, 1993
Missed All-Star Games: 1990, 2002
All-Star Stats: 12.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Had there been an All-Star Game in 1999, Malone would have made the All-Star Game 15 consecutive times and every single year in the 90s. The reason there was not an All-Star Game was due to the lockout. When Malone won his first All-Star Game MVP, he did it on the biggest stage, as at the time, it was the largest recorded audience for an All-Star Game.
In 1993, Malone shared the honor with teammate John Stockton. The game was played in Salt Lake City Utah, home of the Utah Jazz. With the Western Conference winning the game in overtime, the officials still elected to reward Malone and Stockton in front of their home audience.
7. Michael Jordan - 14 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1985-1993, 1996-1998, 2002-2003)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 1988, 1996, 1998
Missed All-Star Games: 1986
All-Star Stats: 20.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
It should come as no surprise that Michael Jordan took this game seriously. When Jordan won his first MVP, he scored 40 points in the game on 17 of 23 shooting. The following year he scored 28 points but missed out on MVP. Jordan probably should have won MVP in 1993 had the Eastern Conference come out on top, but the team lost in overtime.
He wouldn’t earn another MVP until his full return in 1996. That year, Jordan scored 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting. In 1998, he scored 23 points and added eight assists. Out of 13 games played, Jordan was elected a starter in every single game.
6. Shaquille O’Neal - 15 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1993-1998, 2000-2007, 2009)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 2000, 2004, 2009
Missed All-Star Games: 1997, 2001, 2002
All-Star Stats: 16.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.6 BPG
O’Neal recorded three double-doubles in his participation in the All-Star Game. He just missed it in three other games. He was also rewarded with three All-Star Game MVPs. The first one came during his Triple Crown season, where he won regular-season MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and Finals MVP in 2000. That year, he scored 22 points and added 19 rebounds.
After a two-year hiatus from the game, he returned in 2003 to score 19 points and 11 rebounds. He would earn MVP the following year with 24 points and 11 rebounds. He would later share MVP in 2009 with Kobe Bryant, which was a brilliant sight as the two hoisted the trophy together, potentially ending a long-time feud between the two players.
5. Kevin Garnett - 15 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1997-1998, 2000-2011, 2013)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 2003
Missed All-Star Games: 2008
All-Star Stats: 11.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.8 BPG
When Garnett won the All-Star Game MVP in 2003, that game itself was a fun one. The game went to double overtime with the West coming out on top 155-145. Garnett led the team with 37 points, nine rebounds, and five steals, outdueling Allen Iverson of the East who had 35 points. It was also the first time the All-Star Game was transmitted to cable television. It’s also the last time an All-Star Game was decided in overtime.
Outside of that one great game, Garnett had 13 other games he played in. Garnett recorded two double-doubles in other games. He made 12 stars out of 14 opportunities. He missed one game in 2008, which ultimately was the season he won a championship. All in all, Minnesota hasn’t seen an All-Star like this since he left in 2007.
4. Tim Duncan - 15 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1998, 2000-2011, 2013, 2015)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 2000
Missed All-Star Games: None
All-Star Stats: 9.3 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG
After winning his first NBA championship, Duncan made a splash in California. Playing at The Arena in Oakland, Duncan teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to share MVP honors. It was when O’Neal famously said, “you already have one of those rings, so I’m taking the trophy.” It was the only ASG MVP of Duncan’s career. It was also the most points (24) that he scored in 15 games.
Duncan recorded six double-doubles in the All-Star Game, which included a run of five straight from 2000 to 2004. The last seven appearances featured a point performance no higher than six points, but by then Duncan had already established his Hall of Fame resume. The one year that Duncan didn’t make the All-Star Game? That was 2014, the year he won his fifth and final championship.
3. Kobe Bryant - 18 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1998, 2000-2016)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 2002, 2007, 2009, 2011
Missed All-Star Games: 2010, 2014, 2015
All-Star Stats: 19.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Outside of Michael Jordan, there might have been only one player that took the All-Star Game as seriously as Kobe Bryant. With his four MVPs, he owns the most out of any player on this list. He is tied with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history. After he died in 2020, the league renamed the award after him.
In 12 of the 15 games played, Bryant scored in double figures. That included 31 points, five rebounds, and five assists in 2002. In 2007, Bryant scored 31 points on 13 of 24 shooting and added five rebounds, six assists, and six steals. In 2009, he scored 27 points and then capped off his last MVP in 2011 with a career-high 37 points and 10 rebounds.
2. LeBron James - 18 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (2005-2022)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: 2006, 2008, 2018
Missed All-Star Games: None
All-Star Stats: 22.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
LeBron James was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2003. The only season without an All-Star appearance was in 2004. After that, he has spent just as many appearances at the All-Star Game as the Class of 2021 has been alive. From fans voting him as the top vote-getter to winning three All-Star Game MVPs, nobody can deny that LeBron didn’t belong there.
If LeBron can make the All-Star Game next season, he will be tied for the most selections. With his selection this season, he tied a former rival, and friend, for the second-most. Assuming he could play in the league for two more seasons, he could be the first to ever record 20 All-Star game selections.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 19 All-Star Selections
All-Star Selections: (1970-1977, 1979-1989)
All-Star Game MVP Awards: None
Missed All-Star Games: 1973
All-Star Stats: 13.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Abdul-Jabbar currently reigns supreme with the most All-Star Game selections in NBA history, but that reign could be coming to an end soon. For now, we can marvel at what he accomplished in this game. In 18 games played, he scored in double figures 15 times. He scored at least 20 points five times and added double-digit rebound totals six times.
His career-high in points came in 1984 when he scored 25 points. His best rebounding output came in 1980. That game was special as he finished with 17 points and came up one assist short (9) of coming up with a triple-double. He also finished with six blocks. Altogether, he made 13 starts, but what sticks out the most is that he never received an ASG MVP trophy.