LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, closing in on the top spot on the National Basketball Association’s all-time scoring list, leads the fan voting for the league’s All-Star Game in the first returns announced Thursday.
Fifteen days after voting opened, James has collected 3,168,694 votes.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is the top vote-getter in the Eastern Conference with 3,118,545.
The players who lead the voting in each conference captain the two All-Star teams.
James has been a captain in all five All-Star Games that used that format, and his teams beat Durant-captained Eastern outfits in 2020 and 2021.
Voting continues through 21 January for the mid-season exhibition scheduled for 19 February in Salt Lake City.
While James’s Lakers are struggling this season and are currently out of playoff position at 12th in the West, James himself is approaching the most coveted record of the league.
He is on pace to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) as the league’s all-time leading scorer sometime in February, perhaps before the All-Star Game.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is second to Durant in Eastern Conference voting for front court players with 2,998,327 votes, followed by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (2,226,712).
Denver’s two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic is second to James in the West (2,237,768 votes) with James’s Lakers teammate Anthony Davis third (2,063,325).
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving and Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell are also currently positioned to start for the East.
In the West, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Dallas’ Luka Doncic are holding down the remaining two starting spots.