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Lightning Fast: Meet the NBA’s All-Star Baby Boom!


The NBA All-Star Game is the midseason showcase of the league’s best players. Let’s look at the youngest players to be NBA All-Stars.

The annual NBA All-Star Game is a showcase of the cream of the crop in the league. Although the exhibition often involves certified superstars, there have been a handful of youngsters who have managed to crack a spot in the All-Star showcase, most of which would go on to become fixtures in the event and even become legends at their own right. Let’s take a look at the 10 youngest NBA players to become an All-Star.

10. Shaquille O’Neal

Age: 20 years and 352 days old

Known as the Big Diesel, Shaq made history in the NBA for becoming the first rookie to be voted an All-Star starter since Michael Jordan at the 1993 All-Star Game. In his All-Star Game debut, Shaq put up a good showing by tallying 14 points and seven rebounds in the 135-132 loss against the Western All-Stars. O’Neal went on to make the All-Star Game a total of 15 times, three of which saw him become the All-Star Game MVP.

Age: 20 years and 342 days old

Next up on this list is another Lakers big man in the form of Anthony Davis. Davis made his first All-Star Game in 2014 where he served as the replacement for the injured Kobe Bryant. In the 2014 All-Star Game, Davis registered an efficient 10 points in 10 minutes of action.

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Overall, Davis would become a nine-time All-Star. In the 2017 All-Star Game, Davis broke the All-Star Game record in points after producing 52 points and 10 rebounds to be named the All-Star Game MVP.

Age: 20 years and 331 days old

At the 2013 All-Star Game, Irving joined this elite list after being selected as a reserve for the annual showcase. Despite being the youngest in the All-Star Game selection, Irving managed to give a decent showing after putting up 15 points, three rebounds, and four assists. A season later, Irving returned to the All-Star Game and took home the All-Star Game MVP honors.

7. Isiah Thomas

Age: 20 years and 276 days old

Only a handful of NBA players have made the All-Star selection as a rookie, one of which was Isiah Thomas, when he started for the East at the 1982 All-Star Game. In the All-Star festivities, Thomas tallied 12 points and four assists to lead the East over the West with a 120-118 victory.

6. Kevin Garnett

Age: 20 years and 266 days old

There was no doubt that Kevin Garnett was going to be a legendary player in the NBA. In fact, as early as his second season, Garnett already made his first All-Star Game.

At the 1997 All-Star Game, Garnett put up six points and nine rebounds in the Western All-Stars’ loss against the East, 132-120. The NBA Hall of Famer totaled 15 All-Star Game appearances while taking All-Star Game MVP honors in 2003.

5. Zion Williamson

Age: 20 years and 244 days old

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The 2021 All-Star Game was quite a strange atmosphere, after it was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was still a special event for Zion Williamson, who became one of the youngest players to get selected for the showcase. Playing for Team Durant, the Pelicans star registered 10 points in just 14 minutes of action.

Age: 20 years and 182 days old

There’s no doubt that the Charlotte Hornets are an exciting squad, thanks to the rise of LaMelo Ball. Ball’s presence in the NBA continued to soar, especially after becoming one of the youngest players to ever play in the All-Star Game. Representing Team Durant, Ball gave a good account of himself after producing 18 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

3. Magic Johnson

Age: 20 years and 173 days old

As part of the Lakers’ Showtime era, there’s no question that Magic Johnson was one of the most exciting players to watch, including the All-Star Game. Despite only being in his 20s, Johnson shined under the bright lights in his first All-Star Game. At the 1980 exhibition, he scored 12 points, to go along with four assists, as a NBA rookie All-Star Game starter. Throughout his career, Johnson made 12 All-Star Game appearances and collected a pair of All-Star Game MVP honors.

Age: 20 years and 52 days old

Considered to be part of the GOAT conversation, LeBron James has done it all, including making a mark in the All-Star Game. During the 2005 edition, James made his first All-Star Game appearance to become the second youngest in NBA history to play in the showcase.

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In his debut, James tallied 13 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Fast-forward to today, James has collected 20 All-Star Game selections and three All-Star Game MVPs to become the player with the most selections of all-time.

1. Kobe Bryant

Age: 19 years and 169 days old

At only 19 years and 169 days old, Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to make the All-Star Game. In his first showcase, Bryant impressed with 18 points and six rebounds. The Black Mamba became a fixture in the All-Star Game, racking up 18 appearances to go along with four All-Star Game MVPs, which is tied for the most in NBA history.


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