This week, the NBA released the initial results from the votes for the 2023 All-Star Game. Those who top the list won’t be much of a surprise to anyone with a modicum of knowledge about the league.
Boasting more than 3.1 million votes, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant lead the way. Other players garnering significant votes in the first fan returns were Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokoumpo, Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.
Of course, handing All-Star voting to the fans can lead to some wild and unpredictable outcomes. For instance, the optics of controversial Nets guard Kyrie Irving leading the Eastern Conference backcourt returns with more than two million votes is not great.
With the first round of 2023 NBA All-Star Game voting returns in, who are the three most surprising players to appear near the top of the ballot?
Fan votes aren’t simply for fun. Fans account for half of the vote to determine the starters at the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. The media makes up another 25 percent of the vote, while the players make up the rest of it.
There can also be incentives tied to the All-Star Game and the winners typically take home a nice chunk of change, while the losers get some penance for their troubles. Therefore, fan votes matter a lot to the players.
There’s plenty of voting left to be done, but with the first batch of results public, let’s take a look at three players who surprisingly garnered many votes.