James is the overall leader so far in All-Star balloting, and Durant leads all Eastern Conference players in early voting returns — putting them on track to be All-Star captains for the third consecutive year.
James had 3,168,694 votes entering Thursday, topping the list of Western Conference frontcourt players. Denver’s Nikola Jokic is second (2,237,768) and the Lakers’ Anthony Davis is third (2,063,325).
The top three frontcourt players and top two guards in each conference will be chosen as starters, with the leading overall vote-getters from each conference serving as captains and choosing their teams.
Fan voting counts for 50% of the starters balloting, a media ballot counts for 25% and the ballots turned in by NBA players count for the other 25%.
James has been a captain in all five previous uses of that process, going 5-0 in All-Star Games. His team beat a Durant-picked team in 2020 and 2021, beat teams picked by Antetokounmpo in 2018 and 2019, and beat a team picked by Curry in 2017.
Voting continues through Jan. 21. The captains and the starters will be announced Jan. 26. Reserves — chosen by NBA coaches — will be revealed Feb. 2, and the game is Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City.
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The Associated Press