Top 7 NBA Rookies Who Played in the All-Star Game

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Blake Griffin dunks in a game against the Washington Wizards in 2013.
(Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Sep 30, 2022, 12:00 PM
  • Here’s a list of NBA rookies who played in the All-Star game.
  • Michael Jordan leads the list.

Regardless of the criticisms that the NBA All-Star Game voting has received to select its starters, it is still an achievement for players to make it in the roster. Besides the voting system, the head coaches also have the power to pick the reserves for the world’s biggest at grandest basketball pick-up game.

This feat is something that most NBA rookies aspire to, as most of them don’t get the opportunity to play in the coveted game alongside other superstars. But this accomplishment has been done before by several super rookies who immediately made their mark in the league and improved their team’s NBA championship odds.

Here is a list of the top seven rookies who played in the NBA All-Star game.

Michael Jordan – 1985

Deemed to be the greatest basketball player ever to play the game, Michael Jordan has been making a buzz in the basketball world since his rookie season in the NBA. His season averages of 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists made the fans vote for him to be part of the Eastern Conference team and represent Chicago in the 1985 festivities.

Hakeem Olajuwon – 1985

Michael Jordan was not the only rookie in the 1985 NBA All-Star because Houston’s number one overall pick Hakeem Olajuwon made the cut through the coaches selection. The ‘’Dream’’ lived up to the expectation that the Rockets have set for him by producing a double-double number of 20.6 points and 11.9 rebounds which ultimately led to his inclusion in the Western Conference all-stars.

Shaquille O’Neal – 1993

Shaquille O’Neal was another number one pick in the NBA Draft who was able to play in the all-star game as a rookie. With his rim-breaking dunks and sheer dominance inside the paint, the 7-foot-1 behemoth earned the nod from fans and was included in the starting lineup of the Eastern Conference team. As a rookie, O’Neal racked up 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game for the Orlando Magic.

Grant Hill – 1995

Michael Jordan’s two-year hiatus from basketball has helped pave the way for young stars to ascend in the league, and Grant Hill took advantage of that opportunity. Drafted as the third overall pick in the 1994 draft, Grant Hill was touted to become one of the future faces of the NBA. His impressive 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists numbers were enough to win him the votes from fans and elected him in the starting five of the Eastern Conference team in 1995.

Tim Duncan – 1998

Although he hasn’t had the highlight reel to collect the nod from fans and push him to be in the all-star game, Tim Duncan’s fine play during his rookie year didn’t go unnoticed by the coaches, as they voted him to be in the reserves of the Western Conference team in 1998. Duncan has transformed himself as the other half of San Antonio’s twin tower beside David Robinson with his season average of 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest.

Yao Ming – 2003

In 2002, Yao Ming fulfilled China’s NBA dream by becoming the number one overall pick in the draft. The 7-foot-6 Chinese giant generated a decent number of 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks with countless battles with other star centers in the league like Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan. His immediate impact with Houston and presence inside the paint drew admiration from fans as he became the starting center for the 2003 Western Conference all-stars.

Blake Griffin – 2011

Due to a broken kneecap he sustained in the summer league, Blake Griffin needed to sit out the 2009-10 season for surgery and recovery. But when he finally suited up for the Los Angeles Clippers, he displayed his freakish athleticism, which produced a double-double average of 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds. This has helped Griffin obtain the coaches’ votes and ultimately led to his addition to the Western Conference all-star team in 2011.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.