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Unrecognized Legends: The Top NBA Players Who Never Set Foot in the All-Star Game


Being voted to the All-Star Game is reserved for the most elite NBA players, but some great players were never voted in. Who were the best to never make an All-Star Game?

The NBA All-Star reserves were just announced for the 2024 crop of All-Stars. Once again, Jamal Murray and CJ McCollum were left off of the All-Star teams. The NBA is deep with talent right now, and it is harder than ever before to make the All-Star Game. Both of those players have had such magnificent careers already, and you would have assumed they could have made the All-Star Game at least once by this point.

Murray and McCollum aren’t the only star players in NBA history who never made an All-Star Game, though. A number of NBA legends were never honored with the title of being one of the best players in their respective conferences. For that reason, we decided to rank the best NBA players in history who never made an All-Star Game.

Career statistics: 12.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG

Richard Jefferson was more of a role player than a superstar, so it makes sense that he never made the All-Star Game. He had some seasons where he was close to All-Star level, though, and he definitely had a long career of sustained success. Winning tended to follow Jefferson. In his early days, his New Jersey Nets went to two NBA Finals. He even contributed to two Finals appearances with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the end of his career, winning one of them alongside LeBron James in 2016.

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Players who put up good numbers while contributing to winning usually make an All-Star Game. What prevented Jefferson from getting the All-Star nod was his best days actually came when the Nets were struggling to win. Jefferson could play good defense, hit the jump shot, was capable of highlight dunks and had a fun personality that’s made him an up-and-coming broadcaster. Those attributes also it a little surprising that he didn’t at least make the All-Star Game once.

9. Rod Strickland

Career statistics: 13.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.3 APG

Rod Strickland had a relatively short peak, but his prime was very entertaining. With great ball handling and superior speed, Strickland could get into the paint and collapse a defense with ease. He could either finish in highlight fashion at the rim or use his advanced passing abilities to kick the ball out to open teammates. At his best, Strickland was a player who would approach 10 assists nearly every game. He even led the league with 10.5 assists in 1997-98.

That season, Penny Hardaway only played 17 games prior to All-Star weekend, so Strickland most definitely deserved a spot on the All-Star roster. Strickland never had a season as impressive as 1997-98, though, and because of that he never did make an All-Star team.


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