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Damian Lillard edges Jalen Brunson as All-Star Game starter

Blame the fans as they gave more votes to Dame than they handed to JB.

New York Knicks v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Salute to your 2024 All-Star starters, including Jal—holdonwaitaminute.

The starters for the 2024 NBA All-Star Game to be played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Feb. 18 were announced on TNT ahead of the Knicks vs. Nuggets tip-off, and you bet the call brought some controversy with it.

Some of those picks might be right, some of those picks might be wrong, but one thing that’s a fact is that Jalen Brunson was nowhere to be found among the Eastern Conference starters.

The East guards will be Tyrese Haliburton, who will represent the hosting organization as a member of the Pacers, and new Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard, who made the starting five thanks to his wider appeal to the NBA audience.

After the 10-man contingent was officially revealed by the lovely folks of TNT, host Ernie Johnson revealed the actual truth behind the reason for the NBA to thrust Dame into a starting position instead of the Knicks superstar guard.

The race for the second guard start seemingly came down to the fans' voting, as Brunson earned a higher rank in both the media and fellow players' voting tallies but failed to outscore Dame in the voting from fans around the world.

Lillard and the Bucks are 31-13 this season and sitting in the no. 2 seed of the Eastern Conference just 3.5 games behind the league-best Boston Celtics.

Brunson is the leader of a Knicks squad that has beaten all expectations and is currently in the no. 4 seed boasting a 28-17 record.

Call this a snub, or call it what you wish, but when we’ve heard about the Knicks “not having a star” in their team of late, Brunson not being the proverbial “1A” type of player, and so on and so forth, this is what the folks uttering those words meant.

Dame is a star, JB is not (in the eyes of most hoops watchers). Full stop.

Now, obviously, all of this talk depends on what a “star” is and whether that means appearing on TV commercials and printed magazines (are those still a thing?) or if it is really about leading a squad to win games no matter what. Is it about highlight packages, or about advance statistics? Is it about IG stories or on-court production?

At the end of the day, your mom probably knows or at least has heard about “Dame Time,” but Brunson... not so much. And even though we’re way past the 19th century, Y2K, the early 2010s, and living in the era of streaming and all-access in tiny screens sitting in our pockets, welp, some things—for the good or the bad—I’m afraid will never change.

Here is a special mini-edition of our Knicks Bulletin, which today made more sense to include in this column alone than baking into the post-game report. Enjoy.

Kendrick Perkins (former NBA player)

On Jalen Brunson not getting the starting nod at the 2024 All-Star game...

“Jalen Brunson not being an All-Star starter in the Eastern Conference is a damn tragedy! That’s some BS!”

Charles Barkley (former NBA player)

On Jalen Brunson’s missing out on starting in his first All-Star game...

“I’m never gonna throw shade at Dame Lillard. I love him as a person and as a player, but I would have loved to see Jalen Brunson be a starter.”

“I can’t believe what a great player he’s turned into. When he went to the Knicks last year, I was like ‘That’s a good signing.’ That’s one of the best signings I’ve ever seen for a free agent.”

“Nobody knew he was going to be that good. He’s been fantastic. He’s made the Knicks relevant for the first time since Patrick Ewing, plain and simple.”

As for your whole Knickerbockers mob, here are all of the votes they got (h/t @NBA_NewYork).