Posted by Jonah Gardner on February 12, 2016
In 1951, the 20 biggest stars in the NBA gathered at the Boston Garden to play an exhibition. The hometown hero, Ed Macauley, scored 20 points, leading the East to victory in the very 1st NBA All-Star Game.
This Sunday, the 2016 NBA All-Star Game will be going down just about 550 miles, and one national border, away. In addition to the normal spectacle of All-Star Weekend, this year's edition could be a historically important one. It will be Kobe Bryant's final ASG, and could be the first of many for young stars like Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard.
For Kobe, this weekend presents the chance to make some history. Bryant will be making his 15th All-Star start, extending his career record. It'll also be his 15th game, meaning he'll be tied with Tim Duncan for the 2nd most All-Star Games.
Kobe also has a shot at a number of other career records in the All-Star Game. His 227 All-Star FGAs are 2nd all-time. He trails Michael Jordan by just 6 shots, a number he should surpass on Sunday barring some kind of injury.
Kobe is tied with Wilt for 2nd in most Minutes Played in an All-Star Game and should move to sole ownership of that position (Kareem's 61 minute lead for first will almost certainly stand). And he needs just one steal to break his tie with MJ and take sole ownership of 1st all-time.
The scoring records are a little more complicated. Kobe currently holds the record for most points in the All-Star Game, as well as Field Goals. However, LeBron James trails him by just 2 points and 2 made FGs, so Kobe will have to outscore him on Sunday to hold his record. Even if he does, LeBron will almost certainly pass him to take both records next year.
One non-Kobe storyline to watch involves LeBron and KD. Durant currently holds the record for most Points Per Game in the All-Star Game, with 26.0. LeBron just trails him with 25.3, meaning that a big night from King James could put him in first in total points and points per game.
We also have the full list of NBA All-Star Game records for a single-game, if you want to check that out. Last year, Russell Westbrook made a serious run at Wilt's scoring title, coming up just one point short.
Given the debate over Kobe's All-Star candidacy, we wanted to take a look at how his season stacked up. It turns out that he has the lowest WS by an All-Star, -0.5, since 1958-59 and the 13th worst BPM since 1973. However, his PER is not as historically bad.
Of course, this weekend is about more than just the All-Star Game! There's the 2016 Rising Stars Challenge, which will feature Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis, among others. The 1st Rising Stars Challenge was in 1994, and we have box scores for all. Here's the record performances:
- Most points: 46, Kevin Durant, 2009 Rising Stars Challenge
- Most rebounds: 25, Andre Drummond, 2014 Rising Stars Challenge
- Most assists: 22, John Wall, 2011 Rising Stars Challenge
In addition to his memorable All-Star Game performances, Kobe Bryant had 31 points, including 16 Free Throw Attempts, in the 1997 Rising Stars Challenge.
Then there's the Saturday Night Events: the Slam Dunk Contest, the Skills Challenge, and the 3-Point Shootout. You can see every winner from these events, as well as retired ones like H-O-R-S-E, in our All-Star Hub.
If Zach LaVine wins the Dunk Contest, he'd be the first back-to-back winner since Nate Robinson in 2009 and 2010 and the 4th ever. If Andre Drummond wins it, he'll be the first center to do so since Dwight Howard in 2008. Lastly, no Nugget or Piston has ever won the Dunk Contest, so Drummond or Will Barton would make history on that front.
Lastly, don't forget to check out our list of the 5 Best All-Star Games since 1978, complete with video highlights. Enjoy the game!