The 2022 NBA All-Star game is officially in the books. This year’s contest took place in Cleveland, Ohio.
As it is the 75th anniversary of the NBA’s creation, the league honored the 75 greatest players of all time throughout the game. Among them were Mavericks legends Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. Meanwhile, current Mavericks star Luka Doncic officially became the seventh player in NBA history to appear in three All-Star Games before turning 23.
Shortly before tip-off, Doncic, in his All-Star jersey, was chatting and taking pictures with Nowitzki and Kidd. They both wore honorary jackets given to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team members.
“Obviously, Dirk is the one that most represents Dallas, but it’s great to have those two guys with me,” Doncic said. “I see them almost every day, but it’s great. We represent Dallas.”
After chatting with them, Doncic was approached by another 75th Anniversary Team member, the legendary all-time great Michael Jordan. Jordan snuck up from behind and hugged Doncic, who is signed to the Jordan Brand. Doncic flashed a big smile as Jordan shook his hand, grabbed his shoulder, and told him to stay healthy.
“That’s amazing,” Doncic said. “I just, I don’t know how to explain. That moment was just unbelievable. MJ knows my name. It’s a lot, so it was just an unbelievable moment. I have no words for that.”
This was the fifth consecutive year where the two All-Stars who receive the most votes from fans are team captains and draft their teammates. The Lakers’ LeBron James and the Nets’ Kevin Durant were captains this year.
James has selected Doncic every year that the 23-year-old has been an All-Star.
“I love everything about his game, love everything about him,” James said of drafting Doncic to his All-Star team for the third consecutive year. “The way he plays the game reminds me of the way I play the game. We’re just triple threats. We rebound, we pass, which is the No.1 thing on our mind, trying to keep our teammates engaged and trying to keep our teammates feeling good on the floor, keeping our teammates in rhythm.”
Each captain picked one charity for their team to represent. For each quarter that a team won, their selected charity received $100,000. Team LeBron was playing for Kent State University’s I Promise Scholars Program. Team Durant was playing for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Unlike his previous two appearances, Doncic did not start the game and instead came off the bench as a reserve for Team LeBron. Doncic did not make his first appearance in the game until 1:30 left in the first quarter, but he came through for James’ chosen charity.
When he entered the court, Team LeBron was trailing 45-41. Doncic proceeded to make two consecutive three-pointers to end the first quarter with a 47-45 lead and clinch the $100,000 for the Kent State program.
Doncic would only add two more points, but they were also consequential. Near the end of the third quarter, he converted a layup that tied that quarter’s score at 45 to end the period. That meant the two charities split the $100,000 prize.
Doncic finished the game with eight points, the same amount he had in his two previous All-Star game appearances. He made 3-of-6 total shot attempts, including the two three-pointers.
Team LeBron wound up winning the game 163-160, making James’ record as All-Star team captain a perfect 5-0, including 3-0 with Doncic on his team. Team LeBron won the opening and final quarter of the game, while Team Durant won the second quarter, and the two teams tied in quarter three.
The Warriors’ Stephen Curry was named the game’s MVP. He put on a historic performance, pouring in 50 points on a scorching 16-of-27 from three-point range for Team LeBron. The 50 points were two points shy of the most points ever scored in All-Star game history, and his 16 three-pointers shattered the previous record for most three-pointers made in a single All-Star game (previously set at nine).
At halftime, the league honored all members of the 75th Anniversary Team by rolling out a red carpet and announcing the members’ names one by one, who then all took their place on a stage at halfcourt.
A few current All-Stars, including Doncic, joined them in a way, standing to give a short scripted speech praising the greats of the NBA’s past.
Doncic concluded the speech by saying, “Congrats, and here’s to the next 75 seasons full of shining stars.”