Team LeBron Wins the 2021 NBA All-Star Game

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game took place Sunday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, between Team LeBron and Team Durant

Team LeBron claimed the victory over Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Sunday.

The league opted to hold the annual game with a number of changes from years past due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One of the most prominent changes was closing the event to the public, except for 1,500 invited guests made up of frontline workers and members of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities community.

But the NBA's star-power was still on in full-force, with a team chosen by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James' taking on one assembled by Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets (Durant, himself, did not play due to a hamstring injury).

At the end of the first quarter, Team LeBron was winning over Team Durant, 40-39. James' team was victorious in the second quarter, as well, making the halftime cumulative score 100-80.

Following a halftime break, Team LeBron remained in the lead, winning the third quarter. The Lakers star led his team to ultimate victory, claiming the 2021 All-Star title, 170-150.

Steph Curry and Lebron James
Stephen Curry and LeBron James. Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty

As in years past, the league continued with events typically reserved for All-Star Weekend, such as the skills challenge and three-point contest. Noticeably, the dunk contest — which is typically the main event of All-Star Weekend's Saturday night — was moved to half-time of the All-Star Game. According to SB Nation, the league struggled to find stars to compete in the contest.

Stephen Curry was the victor in the three-point contest, scoring 31 points in the first round, and 28 points in the last. The skills challenge was won by Domantas Sabonis.

For the dunk contest, the Portland Trail Blazers' Anfernee Simons was the winner after one shot that included an almost-kiss of the rim.

This year's event, following similar efforts by the league over the course of 2020, placed an emphasis on supporting minority communities.

2021 NBA All Star Weekend game
Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty
2021 NBA All Star Weekend game
The NBA All-Star Game. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty

This was implemented in a number of ways, including the All-Star Game's court featuring art paying tribute to HBCUs, which was also designed with help from HBCU alumni. Other artworks made by HBCU students was on display in the arena.

As previously announced, the league provided over $3 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund), National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) and Direct Relief's Fund for Health Equity, as part of All-Star Weekend.

2021 NBA All Star Weekend game
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty

Similar to the 2020 All-Star Game, which followed the tragic deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, the game featured a unique format that had each quarter play out as a sort of mini-game, with the score resetting back to 0-0 at the start of the second and third quarters. The team with the most points in each quarter — again, played out like its own game with the score resetting to zero — won money for its chosen beneficiaries.

RELATED VIDEO: Russell Westbrook Is Opening Middle and High Schools in Los Angeles: I 'Want to Inspire and Empower'

The format changed in the fourth quarter, though, with the scores of each of the previous three quarters getting tallied up. Instead of going by a time limit, a target score was set that each team had to reach in order to win. The target score is decided by adding 24 points — in honor of Bryant, who wore No. 24 in the latter half of his career — to Team LeBron's winning score after three quarters.

The game itself was officiated by three HBCU alumni: Norfolk State graduate Tom Washington, Southern University graduate Courtney Kirkland, and Clark Atlanta University graduate Tony Brown, in his 19th season.

Leading up to the game, a number of the league's biggest stars — including James — spoke out against holding the event due to health and safety concerns related to the pandemic.

"I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year," James said in early February, according to The Ringer. "I don't even understand why we're having an All-Star Game."

Ahead of the event, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms asked fans not to travel to the city and asked bars and nightclubs not to throw parties, ESPN noted.

Related Articles