By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not be held according to the initial plan but produced yet another record-breaking number of European players and accordingly of international players. Team LeBron alone will feature five Euros, including three starters on Sunday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
An overall sum of six European players will participate with Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Nikola Jokic (Serbia), Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania), and Rudy Gobert (France) joining forces. Nikola Vucevic (Montenegro) was left alone on Team Durant.
Adding Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Kyrie Irving (Australia), and Ben Simmons (Australia) shapes up a list of nine international players. A new record in All-Star Game history was set by both the European and international selections. Fourteen active international players have been named All-Stars during their careers.
The USA vs. World format, already implemented in the Rising Stars, is not such a stretch looking into the rising numbers. LeBron James, purposely or not, as the captain picking his teammates neared producing a preview of such a spectacle but the future of the NBA evolving as a global league possibly holds a straight-forward International All-Star Team facing the USA All-Stars. Players born outside the US are not going anywhere anytime soon.
With Doncic, Jokic, Antetokounmpo, and many more international All-Stars relatively early in their careers, they can generate must-watch basketball by teaming up against the top USA players. Fans in and out of the NBA-based countries will certainly enjoy the different approach. It seems like it is just a matter of time.
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