Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone will head up Team LeBron James at the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City later this month. The coach with the best record in each conference leads the All-Star team that corresponds to their conference’s top vote recipient from the fans. That means that Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla will lead Team Giannis antetokounmpo, and Malone, as of Wednesday’s Memphis Grizzlies loss, has officially clinched the right to coach Team LeBron.
This is the second All-Star Game Malone will coach, as he led Team LeBron to victory in the 2019 All-Star Game against Mike Budenholzer and Team Giannis. There will be plenty of pressure on Malone this time around, as James has built up a 5-0 record as a captain in the new All-Star voting format.
Of course, there’s not too much a coach can do to affect the outcome of an All-Star Game. When Mazzulla was asked how to coach an All-Star Game, he replied “you don’t.” It is an event defined entirely by the players, They are there to put on a show for fans in the league’s premier regular-season showcase.
But, hey, it’s still a nice honor for Malone. He and his coaching staff have led the Nuggets to the best record in the Western Conference at the unofficial halfway point of the season. They may not get a trophy for that, but at least they’ve earned a free trip to Salt Lake City and front row seats to the best exhibition game of the year.