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Spectacular fan support not enough to make Dončić All-Star Game starter

New York, 25 January - Slovenia's basketball sensation Luka Dončić has not made it into the NBA Western Conference's starting lineup for the 2019 All-Star Game, despite of coming second only to LeBron James in the fan voting portion of the selection process. He however still has a chance of making it to the 17 February game in Charlotte as a reserve.

Ljubljana
Slovenian basketball star Luka Dončić.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The 19-year-old star of the Dallas Mavericks, who has been heaped with praise in the opening months of his rookie season in the NBA, got 4.243 million votes in the fan voting which closed on 21 January and whose results were announced on Friday.

This put him in third place overall and in second place in the Western Conference, with the leagues's biggest star of the last decade LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers getting 4.621 million votes and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Eastern Conference's Milwaukee Bucks 4.375 million votes.

Fans however only account for 50% of the vote to determine the 10 starters of the prestigious exhibition game. A voice is also given to the league's players and a media panel, which each account for 25%.

Dončić was ranked eight in the West by the players and sixth by the media, which did not suffice to make him the first Slovenian to appear among the starters of an All-Star Game.

Last season's Euroleague MVP however still has a reasonable chance of receiving the extremely rare honour of a rookie All-Star appearance. His fate is now in the hands of the NBA's coaches, who pick seven more reserves for each of the two teams.

Goran Dragić of the Miami Heat became last year the first ever Slovenian with an All-Star honour, making it among the reserves of Team East as an injury replacement.

Dončić, the third pick of the 2018/19 NBA draft has had a sensational start into his NBA career. He is on track to win the Rookie of the Year Award, dominating in several statistical categories and having bagged the Rookie of Month awards in the West both in November and December.

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© STA, 2019