Making the All-Star Team is an incredible achievement for any player, even if it looks normal to some all-time great players. The player with the most All-Star Team selections is none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has 19 selections to his name during his incredible 20-year career. In second place are LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, who both have 18 All-Star appearances. James has a chance to equal Kareem’s record in 2023 and exceed that record by the end of the 2024 season. Bryant also made 18 appearances over his 20-year career as he missed out on two appearances during his rookie season and his third NBA season.
LeBron missed out on the All-Star Team in his rookie season, while Kareem missed out on the All-Star Team during the 1978 season at age 30. The big man appeared in 62 games during that season. As great as Kareem, James, and Bryant were/are in terms of making All-Star Teams, they did not manage to make the All-Star Team every year in their careers. Even Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time by most accounts, missed out on the All-Star Team during the 1995 season when he only played in 17 games as he returned from his first retirement.
Which players in NBA history have ever managed to make the All-Star Team every year of their careers? That is a very rare feat because only five players have ever done so. That is correct, only 5 players in NBA history have managed to make the All-Star Team every season without missing the mark once. Without further ado, here are the only players to ever accomplish this feat, with only one player competing during the 2000s era.
Paul Arizin - 10 All-Star Team Appearances
Career Statistics: 22.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 APG
Because he was regarded as a pioneer for the game when he essentially introduced the jump shot to the league, Paul Arizin was included on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. He even twice led the league in scoring while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors. He was an expert jump shooter who shot 42.1% from the field, a solid percentage at the time. Although his numbers differ quite significantly in contrast to other offensive superstars from later eras, the 6'4" small forward was an offensive superstar during the 1950s and the early 1960s. But make no mistake—Arizin was the man in his period and unquestionably among the best players in NBA history, given the devastation he inflicted in the league's formative years.
Every year Arizin played in the league, he was named to the All-Star Team. Throughout his career, he never averaged less than 20 points per game except once during his rookie campaign when he dropped 17.2 PPG to go along with 9.8 RPG. Despite just being 6'4", Paul was a very good rebounder who averaged at least 8 RPG six times throughout his career. His greatest season came in 1952 when he added 11.3 RPG to his league-leading 25.4 PPG. Arizin is undoubtedly a top-5 player who was selected by the San Francisco Warriors because of his proven track record as a scorer with the Warriors.
Bob Pettit - 11 All-Star Team Appearances
Career Statistics: 26.4 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.0 APG
Bob Pettit, a Hall of Famer and the first dominant NBA superstar makes a compelling case for being the greatest Atlanta Hawks player in franchise history. The big man made his second of eleven consecutive All-Star appearances in his debut season with the St. Louis/Milwaukee Hawks. He also averaged an incredible 26.4 PPG over his career to go along with 16.2 RPG. His scoring ranks 8th all-time, while his rebounding figures rank 3rd all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Obviously, there are elite achievements that will likely stand the test of time.
One of the most physically intimidating players to ever play the game, Pettit was a powerful forward who could score the ball effortlessly in the paint. Pettit averaged over 20 PPG for 11 straight years, with his career-high coming in 1962 when he dropped 31.1 PPG on 45.0% shooting from the field. Adding 11 All-NBA Team selections to his resume, Pettit is one of the all-time greats who never missed an All-Star Game in his 11-year career.
Jerry West - 14 All-Star Team Appearances
Career Statistics: 27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Jerry West became the logo of the NBA for a reason. He was the model of consistency as a player and actually improved his game with age. But the story behind West becoming the logo is quite complicated, but the designer felt his style and grace were perfect for the NBA. And for how long the logo has been synonymous with the league, it is hard to argue that it looks good. The superstar guard made a total of 9 NBA Finals appearances with the Lakers, an extraordinary amount for a 6'2" guard who was almost always the best player on the team. Many will point to the fact that he has 8 losses out of those 9 appearances, but he captured the NBA title in 1972. Pair that with 12 All-NBA appearances and 14 All-Star Teams make him an iconic Lakers legend.
Of course, West is one of five players to never miss an All-Star Team over a career. Making an All-Star Team every season for a career with a franchise is nothing to sniff at, and West was the third player in history at the time to score 25,000 points. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson were ahead of him in that regard. Not to mention, West was known as "Mr. Clutch" because he was near perfection offensively when it came to making perimeter shots with efficiency. West put his heart and soul into the Lakers franchise, and his smooth jumper will always be a part of Lakers lore.
Julius Erving - 16 All-Star Team Appearances
Career Statistics: 24.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.0 SPG, 1.7 BPG
The man with all the style and class, Julius Erving, had one of the greatest starts to a professional career when he made 5 straight All-Star Teams with the Virginia Squires and New York Nets of the ABA. The small forward was clearly an explosive athlete at 6’7”, and had some of the greatest highlights we have ever seen from any superstar player. Erving started his career averaging 27.3 PPG and a league-leading 31.9 PPG over his first two seasons. The superstar dropped 27.4 PPG on 51.2% shooting from the field in his third year, followed by 27.9 PPG on 50.6% shooting from the field a year later. Obviously, Erving had one of the greatest runs in NBA history as a professional.
Dr. J is considered one of the greatest dunkers and athletes of all time, and his rapid start to his professional career gave fans an indication of what to expect when the superstar arrived in the NBA. In his final season with the New York Nets, Erving put up 29.3 PPG on 50.7% shooting. Not only is Dr. J one of the greatest ABA players ever, but one of the greatest NBA players ever as well. He played his first NBA season with the Philadelphia 76ers at age 26 and would go on to make every All-Star Team in the NBA as well. Over an incredible 16 seasons with the ABA and NBA, Erving never missed an All-Star Team and only averaged under 20 PPG for a season on two occasions. Both of those occasions came when the superstar player was 35 and 36 years old, although they, of course, resulted in All-Star selections.
Yao Ming - 8 All-Star Team Appearances
Career Statistics: 19.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.9 BPG
Yao Ming’s impact transcended the NBA because of his global impact on sports. The Chinese superstar brought an entire generation of fans into the American market because, as a basketball player, the 7’6” center was truly unique. He had an elite mid-range shot, accurate free-throw shooting, and a solid post hook he could go to at any time. Unfortunately for Yao, injuries cut short what could have been an all-time great career, although he still easily made the Hall of Fame and received consideration for the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, although he did not quite make it.
Yao played his entire career with the Rockets, getting drafted No. 1 overall in the 2002 Draft and making 8 All-Star Teams out of 8 seasons played. It is unfair that a player with Yao’s size and skill only managed 8 seasons, a number which is easily exceeded by most stars in today’s game. His popularity was unrivaled at the time because even in his last season, when he played in 5 games, he was voted into the All-Star Team. That ultimately gave the Chinese star the critical selection that allowed him to join the other 4 stars as the only player without a single missed All-Star Team selection. With Yao’s post moves and silky touch from the perimeter, he would become one of the top-ten scorers in Rockets history and earn his place in the esteemed Hall of Fame.