LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has overtaken Golden State’s three-point king Stephen Curry in the third round of voting for the NBA All-Star Game, released Friday by the league.
The Lakers’ recent struggles haven’t dimmed the appeal of James, who with 28.8 points per game is second in the league in scoring behind injured Brooklyn star Kevin Durant.
James trailed Curry in the first two rounds of fan voting, but had 6.8 million votes in the third round while Curry received just over 6 million.
The polls close on Saturday. The 71st NBA All-Star Game will be played on February 20 in Cleveland.
Weighted voting to decide All-Star starters will included 50% from fans and 25% each from players and a media panel.
The players who lead each conference in voting will be the team captains and pick rosters from available players regardless of conference.
James has been a captain for four straight years, dating back to the 2018 introduction of the current system.
After Team LeBron won last year, James said he hoped he could retire from the captain’s job with his perfect 4-0 record intact.
Durant, who sprained his left knee on Sunday and reportedly faces up to six weeks on the sidelines, has garnered 371,588 more votes than his nearest Eastern Conference rival — Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic of Denver and Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins follow James in voting for Western Conference frontcourt players.
Curry is followed in voting for backcourt players by Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.
Among Western Conference backcourt players, Curry is trailed by Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who has opened up a sizable lead over Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic for the second backcourt spot.
In the East, Durant, Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid lead frontcourt voting. Chicago Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan has a massive lead for the top spot in the backcourt ahead of Atlanta’s Trae Young, Chicago’s Zach LaVine and Brooklyn’s James Harden.