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LeBron James takes Giannis Antetokounmpo with first pick in NBA All-Star draft

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (23) went with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic to start alongside him in this month's All-Star Game. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (23) went with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic to start alongside him in this month's All-Star Game. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James used the first pick in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game draft to select Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The past two years, James was unable to choose Antetokounmpo because both players were captains of their squads. But this year, with Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant earning the Eastern Conference captaincy, James was finally able to choose the NBA's two-time reigning Most Valuable Player.

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"I just try to pick players that can complement one another," James said before drafting Antetokounmpo to begin Wednesday night's draft. "We're out on the floor, just try to play the game the right way. It's an All-Star Game, so it's going to be some shenanigans out there, but for the majority of the game we just play the right way and try to get a win."

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James went with Antetokounmpo, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic to start alongside him in Sunday night's All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Durant's starting group consists of his Brooklyn Nets teammate Kyrie Irving, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Durant, who is out until after the All-Star break because of a hamstring injury, won't participate in the All-Star Game. Tatum is replacing Durant in the Eastern Conference's starting lineup.

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In the reserve round, Durant picked his other star teammate, James Harden, followed by Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic and Donovan Mitchell.

James selected Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Domantas Sabonis and Rudy Gobert to be his reserves.

Durant and James also announced their choices for the charities both teams will play for Sunday night. Team LeBron will play for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Team Durant will play for the United Negro College Fund.

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