The NBA All Star game is one of the most fun events of the regular season. It’s not too serious, which leads to some incredibly exciting plays, big moments, and flashy performances. Though most years the players cruise through the contest, sometimes someone goes off.
There have been quite a few seasons where some superstars had major games during the yearly break. The following paragraphs will go over the biggest and best ones, taking a long look at the few all stars who scored more than anyone else in the history of the game.
A Casual Affair
The All Star game has gone through many cycles since its inception. It’s always been a large part of the NBA, but the game’s importance has definitely both waxed and waned. It used to be an extremely big deal. Now, it’s not quite as large. Ratings have dipped a lot in recent years.
Some of that is due to shifting attention from the public, but a lot of it is that players don’t try too much either. As the game has no bearing on the regular season, there’s no reason to get hurt or injured while messing around in a meaningless game.
Players still score, but both sides are pretty relaxed on defense. That opens the door for large scoring opportunities, especially in more recent years.
Two Large Nights
Even in a high scoring game, no player has ever been able to put up points in an all star game like Anthony Davis did back in 2017. During that year, he didn’t just go for the record, he went for it on a big stage.
That year’s game was held at the Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans, which happened to be where Davis was playing at the time. He was already a hometown star, and everyone expected that he would try to deliver in front of a lot of his loyal fans. He did exactly that.
The big man put on a show, netting 10 rebounds and an incredible 52 points in just 32 minutes of play. That was made possible due to the fact that, even with the relaxed atmosphere of the all star game, he just couldn’t seem to miss any shots.
David finished the game going 26 for 39 on a crazy 66.7 percent shooting. That earned him the game’s MVP award, and forever etched his name into the all star record books.
That number is incredibly high. So high, in fact, that he was the first player ever to put up 50 in the game. That changed five years later, when Stephen Curry had a huge night of his own.
The greatest shooter of all time also put on a show for the crowd in 2022, when he scored 50 of his own on a great shooting percentage. He also put up five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks on his way to earning the MVP.
While not enough to break Anthony’s record, he did get those points by putting in a record-setting 16 three pointers throughout the game.
Other Great Performances
Curry and Davis are the only two players to score 50 or more in the all star game, but there have been a few other impressive showings over the years. In fact, to get the third most points scored (42) you have to go all the way back to Wilt Chamberlain’s 1962 season.
The big man shot 74 percent from the field and seemingly scored at will over the opposing team. Despite that, he didn’t end up with the MVP award. That went to Bob Pettit, who also had a big game with 25 points and 27 rebounds.
Looking at other 40 point performances, Russell Westbrook scored 41 points on two separate occasions (2015 and 2017), and Paul George did it once in 2016. That number is still tough to hit, especially since most players aren’t on the court that long.
In fact, Westbrook’s second 41 point game is largely forgotten about because it came in the same game at Davis’ 52. George set the record for the most three pointers when he broke 40 points, but was then overtaken by Curry just a few years later.
The other big 40 point all star performance came from Michael Jordan himself. During his fourth trip to the game in 1988, the legend put on an incredible show for his home fans in Chicago. He didn’t just score, he also got eight rebounds, four blocks, four steals, and three assists.
As with everything he did, the G.O.A.T. put on a truly incredible performance.
The all star game is not as big as it used to be. Even so, there have been quite a few incredible performances over the last decade. As defense tends to be more relaxed, more and more players are able to go off without worrying about hurting themselves.
That’s not to say that it isn’t tough to not score or put up that many points in any contest. Davis and Curry may not have had a lot of people in their way, but there’s something to getting 50. It may be a while before it happens again.