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Tip-Off Timer: Kareem Played in Record 18 All-Star Games

Oct 9, 2009 – 10:50 AM
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Tom Ziller

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Tip-Off Timer counts down the days until the first game of the 2009-10 season. On Friday, there are 18 days remaining.

Most current players don't last as long as the stars of the 1970s and 80s did. As the game becomes faster and stronger, players who reach their 30s have a tougher time keeping up (with some obvious exceptions). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had no such problem.

KAJ was selected for all but one NBA All-Star Game between 1970 and 1989, and he played in an NBA record 18 of them. By my count, there's only two current stars who can catch him.

... and one of them is not Shaquille O'Neal, who sits second all-time in All-Star Game selections at 15. But Shaq has missed three ASGs due to injury, so he has only played in 12. I don't think O'Neal has six more All-Star appearances in him, especially considering that he barely made it in the center-light Western Conference last year and missed the ASG completely in 2008.

But LeBron James has a shot at knocking Kareem off the top of this record (if not also the NBA points scored record). LeBron has been selected to and played in five All-Star Games already ... at age 24. Health is a tricky aspect to bet on, but something tells me LBJ can remain at an All-Star level for another 13 seasons, especially considering he's a perennial MVP candidate just entering his prime.

Dwyane Wade also has five ASGs, but he's two years older than LeBron and has a more worrisome injury history. Kobe Bryant, however, has played in 11 All-Star Games. Being a Laker and being popular all over the world will help in fan voting over the next decade, and while betting on Kobe getting into every ASG between now and 2016 seems like a reach, I'm not ready to claim Kobe won't be an excellent player at 37 years old. Few players work harder to keep themselves in great shape, and Bryant is such an excellent shooter that he should be a star for another few years. His reputation and name can carry him from there.
Filed under: Sports