*Thanks to a perfect 16-for-16 performance from the field — including multiple jump shots — Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, as Team LeBron sailed to a 170-150 Win over Team Durant Sunday night in Atlanta.
According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Antetokounmpo stomped all over the previous record of most makes without a miss in an All-Star Game, set by Hal Greer when he went 8-for-8 in 1968.
Team LeBron took the reins from the beginning and never let up. It was Antetokounmpo (who finished with a game-high 35 points), Steph Curry (28 points and eight 3-pointers) and Damian Lillard (32 points and the game-sealing 3-pointer) who led the way. The three fought for the MVP trophy down to the end, with Antetokounmpo ultimately winning it.
In addition to it being his first MVP win, it also was a chance for Antetokounmpo to take home an honor named after Kobe Bryant — something that made it extra special.
“Obviously, I’m extremely happy at just having the award with the name of Kobe Bryant in my house,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. I wanted to win the one last year really bad, and I had a chance to win because I felt like I wanted to have the trophy in my house. But this year, I wasn’t even thinking about winning it; I was just thinking about having fun, and I had the opportunity to play well.
“My team played great, and I was able to just win it. And to have the trophy with the name of Kobe Bryant, it’s amazing, and I know he would be happy. Yeah, I know he’d be happy.”
Watch highlights of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Curry’s dramatic 3-point shootout win, the Slam Dunk contest and Gladys Knight’s National ANthem below:
This All-Star Game, like everything else about this season, was inescapably altered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled to be in Indianapolis, it was instead moved to Atlanta. Only a handful of fans were in the stands, and strict quarantines were in place for everyone involved.
That, however, didn’t prevent the virus from infiltrating the event, as contact tracing forced the league to pull Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons out of the game — and potentially kept away from the Sixers when the second half of the season begins Thursday.