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LeBron James, Stephen Curry voted as captains for NBA All-Star Game

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry led All-Star voting in their respective conferences and will serve as the captains for the All-Star Game next month.

Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid, Boston's Kyrie Irving and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan were also selected as starters from the Eastern Conference.

Houston's James Harden, Golden State's Kevin Durant and New Orleans teammates Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were also selected as starters from the Western Conference.

Starters were determined by a vote from fans, players and a select group of media. They were announced by the NBA on Thursday.

Curry posted a tweet expressing gratitude for the votes he received.

In a new format this season, James and Curry will choose their teams -- without regard for conference affiliation -- from the pool of starters and reserves. Reserves will be selected by NBA head coaches and announced Tuesday, and the full team rosters will be announced Jan. 25.

The format was changed from the traditional East vs. West matchup for the first time after lackluster games the past two seasons, when players made little attempt to defend and the West nearly scored 200 points in both of its victories.

James' and Curry's first four selections must come from the pool of starters. James will select ahead of Curry because he finished with the highest overall voting total.

It provides for an interesting dynamic. For instance, James might have the opportunity to select Durant, who is Curry's teammate. James, who was named to the All-Star team for the 14th consecutive season, also could choose Irving, his former teammate who now plays for the Celtics.

"I am truly appreciative of the fans of the NBA and the Boston Celtics for voting me in to this year's All-Star Game as a starter," said Irving, a five-time selection and MVP of the 2014 All-Star Game. "I am super proud that I can represent the Celtics in LA and looking forward to putting on a show."

Embiid, the first 76ers player to start an All-Star Game since Allen Iverson in 2006, will be making his first appearance in the game.

"I feel very blessed to be in this type of position," Embiid said Thursday. "Thanks to all the fans out there for the support. It's been a tough couple years. I really appreciated everybody out there, everybody around me, the whole team, the whole organization -- the fans, especially -- for making this happen. We can only get better from here."

76ers coach Brett Brown lauded Embiid's selection, saying it was amazing, given the limited time Embiid was able to practice before the season.

"It's the biggest announcement as far as a personal accolade as we've had," Brown told TNT in Thursday's broadcast of the 76ers' game at Boston. "He represents a significant part of our growth. I'm proud of him."

As in previous seasons, players were sorted by conference and position (guards and frontcourt players), and the two top guards and three top frontcourt players were named starters. Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote, while all current players and the media panel accounted for 25 percent each.

James (2,638,294 fan votes) beat Antetokounmpo (2,530,211) as the top overall vote-getter among fans. Curry, the first player in Warriors history to start five consecutive All Star games, finished with 2,379,494 votes to lead the Western Conference, ahead of his teammate, Durant (2,238,406).

Voting concluded Monday.

The All-Star Game will be Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.

ESPN's Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Author: Ian Begley, ESPN

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