The Best Starting Fives in NBA All-Star Game History Since 1986

For the past 30 years, the NBA All-Star Game has featured some epic starting fives. Here are the best of the best.

2016 NBA All Star Team Lineups Toronto
USA Today Sports

Magic Johnson hugs Western Conference forward Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the start of the NBA All Star Game at Air Canada Centre.

2016 NBA All Star Team Lineups Toronto

The NBA All-Star starting lineups are supposed to honor the best of the best in the NBA for that season. The NBA’s players, fans, and media all vote who they believe should be in the starting lineup. But some starting fives are just a little bit better than others, whether that's because the fans voted for an aging star over a deserving up-and-comer or one conference—ahem, the Western—seems to be forever stacked. 

We wanted to know who the best starting fives in NBA All-Star history were, so we took a look back at the rosters over the past 30 seasons to determine which squads were head and shoulders above the others. 


1. 1993 Western Conference All-Stars

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Starting Five:

John Stockton, Jazz, PG

Clyde Drexler, Trail Blazers, SG

Charles Barkley, Suns, SF

Karl Malone, Utah Jazz, PF

David Robinson, Spurs, C

The 1993 NBA All-Star Game was momentous. It was the last NBA All-Star game for Michael Jordan before leaving the league for the first time. It was the last NBA All-Star appearance for Isiah Thomas, the debut of Shaquille O’Neal, and the first time the Hornets ever had a player in the NBA All-Star game (Larry Johnson). Charles Barkley would also make his debut on the West All-Star team. Teammates Karl Malone and John Stockton would share the MVP award as Malone would score 28 points and Stockton would rack up 15 assists.

2. 2016 Western Conference All-Stars

2016 Western Conference All Stars Kobe KD Harden Draymond

Starting Five:

Stephen Curry, Warriors, PG

Russell Westbrook, Thunder, SG

Kobe Bryant, Lakers, F/G

Kevin Durant, Thunder, F

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs, F

In Kobe Bryant’s farewell season, he led the polls with over 1,891,614 votes, earning an 18th All-Star appearance. Sure, it was nice to give Kobe a send off as an All Star, but there were more deserving players, such as Damian Lillard and Dirk Nowitzki. The West dominated the East, winning 196-173, as Kobe would finish with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. The All-Star Game also set a new NBA record with a combined 369 total points. The West players offered to feed Bryant the ball in an attempt to get him a record fifth All-Star MVP, but he declined.

3. 2005 Eastern Conference All-Stars

2005 Eastern Conference All Stars

4. 2009 Western Conference All-Stars

2009 Western Conference All Star Team Phoenix

5. 2010 Eastern Conference All-Stars

2010 NBA All Star Game Dwyane Wade Cowboys Stadium

Starting Five

​Dwyane Wade, Heat, PG

Joe Johnson, Hawks, SG

LeBron James, Cavaliers, SF

Kevin Garnett, Celtics, PF

Dwight Howard, Magic, C

In front of a record-setting crowd of 108,713 fans at Cowboys Stadium, the 2010 All-Star Game didn’t fail to live up to expectations. The country got a quick glimpse of what was going to come as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James would lead the East to victory. (Some say that the plan for the Miami Big 3 was created during this All-Star break.) Wade was named the game’s MVP with 28 points, 11 assists, and 5 steals, leading the East to a narrow 141-139 victory. Joe Johnson got the start due to Allen Iverson not attending the game because of personal reasons.

6. 1998 Eastern Conference All-Stars

1998 Eastern Conference All Star Team

7. 1986 Eastern Conference All-Stars

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Starting Five

Isiah Thomas, Pistons, PG

Sidney Moncrief, Bucks, SG

Julius Erving, 76ers, SF

Larry Bird, Celtics, PF

Moses Malone, 76ers, C

Thomas lead the East to a 139-132 victory, becoming the first player to finish with 30 points and 10 assists in an NBA All-Star Game. Predictably, he earned the game's MVP honors. 

8. 2012 Western Conference All-Stars

Kevin Durant 2012 NBA All Star Game

Starting Five

Chris Paul, Clippers, PG

Kobe Bryant, Lakers, SG

Kevin Durant, Thunder, SF

Blake Griffin, Clippers, PF

Andrew Bynum, Lakers, C

The West set an All-Star record scoring 88 first-half points, and the teams’ 157 combined points at the half was also a record. Kobe Bryant finished with 27 points and became the leading scorer in All-Star history, passing MJ. Durant would be the leading scorer of the game, scoring 34 of his 36 points in the first three quarters of the game, earning him MVP honors.

9. 2004 Western Conference All-Stars

Yao Ming 2004 NBA All Star Game

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