Youngest Players to Play in NBA All-Star Game

8 Youngest Players to Play in NBA All-Star Game

The first NBA All-Star Game was held in March 1951. It was an attempt to regain public attention to the league after the notorious college basketball point-shaving scandal.

Now, the National Basketball Association host this basketball exhibition game every year in February as the feature event of NBA All-Star Weekend. It showcases the 24 best players in the league. Based on Fans, players, and media voting, the starting line-up is selected.

Here we list 8 of the youngest players who got a chance to participate in the NBA All Star Game.

8. Kyrie Irving

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 331 days
Date of the match: February 17, 2013
Team: 1996-97 NBA Eastern Conference All-Stars

Kyrie Irvingphoto source:

Kyrie Irving is a seven-time All-Star and a three-time member of the All-NBA Team. His first All-Star game was in 2013; the following year, he won the Most Valuable Player award.

Irving was born in Melbourne, Australia. His father, Drederick Irving, was a professional basketball player who played college basketball at Boston University. After finishing college, he went to Australia and continued his career as a professional basketball player. The family relocated to the US when Kyrie Irving was two years old.

Irving joined the Cavaliers in 2011 and won the National Championship with them in 2016. Before that, he played college basketball for Duke Blue Davis. In 2017, he was traded to Boston Celtics, and in 2019, he joined the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent. He was also a part of the US national team that won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2014 Basketball World Cup.

Did you know?

Kyrie Irving has long been known for his support of different conspiracy theories. In the 2021-2022 season, he missed most matches as he refused to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

7. Isaiah Thomas

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 276 days
Date of the match: January 31, 1982
Team: 1981-82 NBA Eastern Conference All-Stars

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Isaiah Lord Thomas III played 12 NBA All-Star games; the first one was in 1982. Thomas was born in Chicago, Illinois, and began playing basketball at the age of three. 

He went to Our Lady of Sorrows School and St. Joseph High School. In his junior years, he attracted media attention by leading St. Joseph to the state finals. Later, he played college basketball for the Indiana Hoosiers and led them to the 1981 NCAA Championship.

The same year, he was selected for the NBA draft and joined Detroit Pistons. He played for the same team for his entire career.

Did you know?

At the time of his retirement, Thomas was ranked third in NBA history.    

6. Kevin Garnett

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 266 days
Date of the match: February 9, 1997
Team: 1996-97 NBA Western Conference All-Stars

Kevin Garnettphoto source:

Kevin Maurice Garnett is regarded as one of the greatest power forwards in the history of the NBA. Garnett was born in Greenville, South Carolina, to Shirley Garnett.

Garnett began playing organized basketball only after he reached high school. In 1995 he won a national player of the year award. The same year, Garnett entered the NBA draft. He was the first NBA player to be drafted directly from high school.

Garnett played for 21 NBA seasons. He began his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and after 12 seasons, in 2007, he joined the Boston Celtics. In 2015 he went back to the Timberwolves.

He was selected to 14 consecutive All-Star games from 1997 to 2011. Again, he was selected in 2013. He is among those few players who won both the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Did you know? 

Kevin Garnett became a target of racism during high school and had to change his school. He was caught in the middle of a fight between black and white students, and despite not being a part of it, he was arrested and charged with second-degree lynching.  

5. Zion Williamson

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 244 days
Date of the match: March 7, 2021
Team: 2020-21 Team Durant East

Zion Williamsonphoto source:

Zion Williamson played in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. At that time, he was the fourth youngest player to play in the NBA All-Star game. The following year he was pushed to the fifth position as LaMelo Ball, who was a few months younger, participated in the All-Star game.    

Williamson was born in 2001 in Salisbury, North Carolina. His mother, Sharonda Sampson, played basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union circuit. His stepfather Lee Anderson was a former college basketball player. During his childhood, he was coached by his parents and soon became a skilled basketball player.

He attended Spartanburg Day School and became one of the top five players in the 2018 class. During this time, he attracted national media attention for his slam dunks. 

Did you know?

Williamson is 6 ft 6 in tall and weighs 284 pounds. It is a heavyweight for a basketball player. Still, he has managed to be known for his speed and leaping ability. He is often touted as a once-in-a-generation type athlete.      

4. LaMelo Ball

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 182 days
Date of the match: February 20, 2022
Team: 2021-22 Team Durant East

LaMelo Ballphoto source:

LaMello LaFrance Ball became the fourth youngest player to be selected to NBA All-Stars in 2022.  

Ball was born in 2001 in Anaheim, California. His father, LaVar Christopher Ball, and his mother, Tina Ball, were former college basketball players. Ball was initially trained by his father and started playing the game with his older brothers at the age of four. When he was 14, he became a part of Big Ballers VXT, an under-17 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. The team was launched by Ball’s parents, but it could not compete in the top AAU circuit.

Ball joined Chino Hills High School in California and won a state championship. However, due to some coaching disputes, he left Chino Hills to be home-schooled. At that time, he began playing for the Lithuanian professional team Prienai.

Did you know?

Balls brothers, Lonzo Anderson Ball and LiAngleo Robert Ball are well-known professional basketball players. The trio played together since childhood and attracted national attention during high school.   

3. Magic Johnson

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 173 days
Date of the match: February 3, 1980
Team: 1979-80 NBA Western Conference All-Stars

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Earvin Johnson Jr., famously known as Magic Johnson, was born in Lansing, Michigan. His father, Earvin Sr., was an assembly worker in an automobile factory and his mother, Christine, was a school janitor. Both his parents played basketball while growing up and inspired Johnson Jr. to take this up.

He was a dominant junior high player by the time he was in eighth grade. He was first called Magic after he scored a triple-double of 36 points, 18 rebounds, and 16 assists as part of his high school basketball team.

Johnson joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979. Johnson played 12 All-Star games and made nine NBA Finals appearances. Besides, he won three NBA Most Valued Player Awards and NBA Finals Most Valuable Players Awards. He was a part of the 1992 Dream Team (US men’s Olympic basketball team) that won the Olympic gold medal.

Did you know?

In 1991, Johnson announced his retirement after he contracted HIV, but returned the next year to play All-Star game. However, protests from his fellow players forced him to retire again for four years. He made a comeback in 1996 and played 32 games before his final retirement.   

2. LeBron James

Age at the time of the match: 20 years, 52 days
Date of the match: February 20, 2005
Team: 2004-05 Eastern Conference All-Stars

LeBron Jamesphoto source:

LeBron James, nicknamed King James, is one of the greatest NBA players ever. In 2005, James played his first All-Star Game when he was 20 years and 52 days. 

The life story of LeBron James is nothing but a fairy tale. He was born in Akron, Ohio, to Gloria Marie James and Anthony McClelland. His father had an extensive criminal record, and thus, James was brought up single-handedly by his mother. 

During his childhood, the family struggled to make ends meet and moved from one place to another. His mother finally decided to let him move with Frank Walker, a local football coach, so he could have a good life. 

Frank introduced James to basketball at the age of nine. He started playing organized basketball when he was in fifth grade. 

James has won four NBA Championships. He has been a part of 18 NBA All-Star Games and won four NBA Most Valuable Player awards. He also has won two Olympic gold medals and one Olympic bronze medal.

Did you know?         

LeBron James is the first NBA player who made $1 billion in earnings as an active player.  

1. Kobe Bryant

Age at the time of the match: 19 years, 169 days
Date of the match: February 8, 1998
Team: 1997-98 Western Conference All-Stars

Kobe Bryantphoto source:

Kobe Bryant is the youngest player ever to be selected for the NBA All-Star Game. In 1997-98 Bryant was selected through fan votes. On February 8, 1998, when he played against NBA Eastern Conference All-Stars, he was 19 years and 169 days old. 

Kobe Bryant, born in Philadelphia to Pamela Cox Bryant and former NBA player Joe Bryant is known to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He started playing basketball at the age of three.

He earned national recognition as a high-school basketball player while studying at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia. During his high-school days, Bryant made numerous records and won many awards for his remarkable performances.     

Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers, a team he had been fond of since childhood. He spent his entire career of about 20 years with this team. During his long spectacular career, he won five NBA Championships and was selected to All-Stars 18 times. He was declared the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008. 

Did you know?

Kobe Bryant died on January 26, 2020, at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash. After his tragic death, several tributes were issued in his name, and the All-Star Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) was renamed.      

James has won four NBA Championships. He has been a part of 18 NBA All-Star Games and won four NBA Most Valuable Player awards. He also has won two Olympic gold medals and one Olympic bronze medal.

Did you know?         

LeBron James is the first NBA player who made $1 billion in earnings as an active player.  

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