The NBA recognizes its best players during a season at the All-Star weekend. On All-Star Sunday, 24 of the league’s best players play against each other in the annual All-Star game.
But picking out 24 in a league where there are over 400 players during a single season is a difficult task. Every year there are notable omissions in the squads. Throughout its history, there have been many notable NBA stars who have never made it to the All-Star game until their retirement.
Here are the best NBA players never to make an All-Star team:
Andre Miller is the only player to have 16,000 points, 8,000 assists, and 1,500 steals never to make an All-Star team. Miller was 8th overall pick in 1999 by the Cleveland Cavaliers and ended up playing for a total of nine NBA teams during his NBA career. Miller played in a total of 17 seasons and missed only three games during that tenure. He averaged 16.5 points and led the NBA in assists at 10.9 dimes per contest during the 2003 NBA season.
Perhaps the greatest basketball player outside of the United States, Sabonis started playing in the NBA in 1995 when he was already 30 years old and despite being drafted 24th overall in 1986 by the Portland Trail Blazers. He led the Soviet Union to the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics and was a six-time Euroscar Player of the Year winner.
Sabonis averaged 16.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in his best NBA season in 1998 but it wasn’t enough to put him in the All-Star team.
Bones was one of Rick Barry’s sons who played in the NBA and was perhaps the best among them. He was the Slam Dunk champion of 1996 and won two NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs. He was a superb defender during his prime and was an instant scorer for every team he played on. His best season was with the Seattle Supersonics in 2002 where he averaged 14.4 points per game.
Really? Magic Johnson’s backcourt partner at Showtime didn’t make a single All-Star team. Byron Scott helped Magic win three NBA titles during the 80s and was a solid contributor to the Lakers’ team. Scott was a terrific three-point shooter who also had lockdown defensive skills. Scott averaged 21.7 points per game in 1988 when the Lakers fulfilled Pat Riley’s promise of a repeat title for the team.
“Cornbread” was overshadowed by his more prominent teammates in Boston but he played a key role in two of the Celtics’ record 17 NBA titles. In 1981, he was named NBA Finals MVP and was one of the best two-way players during his time. However, he never got an All-Star nod in 11 NBA seasons. His best year was in 1979 when he averaged 19.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
After he was selected 7th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft, Damon Stoudamire went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 1996, the shortest player to win the award. He was dubbed as Mighty Mouse because he stood just 5-10 tall. As a rookie, he set a then-record 133 three-pointers made in a season. Stoudamire averaged at least 19 points and 8 assists per game in each of his first three NBA seasons but was never given a chance to play in a single All-Star game.
Harper played 16 seasons in the NBA and made his mark for each of the four teams he suited up for. He was the Dallas Mavericks’ 11th overall pick in 1983 and played for the team until 1994. Harper averaged at least 17 points per game in six consecutive seasons ending in 1993 while putting up at least seven assists per game in four of those seasons. His best season was in 1991 where he averaged 19.7 points, 7.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.
Before he became the winningest coach in the history of the NBA, Don Nelson was an NBA star. He was the 17th overall pick in 1962 and won a total of five NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and his jersey number was retired by the team. Nelson averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during the 1970 season and was a terrific shooter throughout his entire NBA career. In 2012, he was inducted to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
In an era where everyone wanted to be like Mike, Drazen Petrovic challenged Michael Jordan as one of the NBA’s best scorers during his short stint in the league. Petro was a European superstar when he joined the league in 1989. But after he never really got going with the Portland Trail Blazers, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets where he blossomed as an unstoppable scorer. He averaged at least 20 points per game in each of his final two NBA seasons and led the Nets to back to back playoff appearances during that period. He would’ve surely made an All-Star team if he didn’t die at the age of 28 due to a car accident.
Jalen Rose was a member of the Fab Five of the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines during the 1990s. He was selected 13th overall in 1994 and was the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2000. Rose played for a total of six NBA teams and helped the Pacers reach the NBA Finals in 2000 where he averaged 25 points per game in six championship games. From 2001-2003, He averaged 20 points per game including 22.2 in 2003 with the Chicago Bulls.
One of the best sixth men in the history of the game, Jamal Crawford was the first-ever three-time winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award. He is also the NBA’s all-time leader in four-point plays and is considered one of the smoothest ball handlers to grace an NBA hardcourt. J Crossover was one of the best pure scorers in the game and averaged at least 18 points per game from 2008-10 including 20.6 PPG in 2008.
The Jet won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009 and helped the Dallas Mavericks win their first and only NBA title in 2011. Terry was the 10th overall pick in 1999 by the Atlanta Hawks and after averaging at least 16 points per game in four straight seasons, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. During the 2001 season, Jet averaged 19.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game but didn’t get any All-Star game invite during his peak years with the Hawks.
J-Smoove was one of the best up and coming players in the NBA during the 200s. He went to the NBA straight from High School and was the Atlanta Hawks’ 17th overall pick in 2004. Smith was the NBA’s Slam Dunk champion in 2005 and was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in 2010. He averaged at least 16.4 points per game during a four-season stretch beginning 2011. He posted a career-best 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.7 blocks per game during the 2012 NBA season.
Odom was one of the most enigmatic players in the history of the NBA. He had more talent than most of his peers and he could do anything inside the basketball court. However, he dealt with personal demons throughout his career and was never able to become a full-fledged All-Star. Despite that, he was Sixth Man of the Year in 2011 and helped the Lakers win back to back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.
Monta Ellis made the bold leap from high school to the NBA. He was selected 40th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2005. Two seasons later, he was named as the NBA’s Most Improved Player and after six and a half seasons with the Dubs, he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. He led the league in minutes during the 2010 and 2011 seasons and averaged 25.5 points and 24.1 points per game during those seasons. Despite being one of the most lethal scorers in the NBA during his prime, Ellis never played on a single All-Star team.