While “NBA on TNT” host Charles Barkley called the decision slanderous because the Jazz are among the top teams in the league right now, James explained why players like Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert weren’t picked right away.
“There’s no slander to the Utah Jazz,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said. “You’ve got to understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. As great as Karl Malone and John Stockton was, we would never pick those guys in video games. Never.”
Mitchell and Gobert were picks Nos. 22 and 23, respectively. Mitchell landed on Team Durant and Gobert landed on Team James.
Utah has the best record in the NBA as the All-Star break nears. The team is 27-9 and it’s thanks to guys like Mitchell and Gobert for figuring it out after the team’s coronavirus issues reportedly caused a fracture for the two stars.
Mitchell is averaging 24.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Gobert is averaging 14.2 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game this season.
NBA All-Star Weekend is set for Friday night with the game taking place Sunday. The festivities will be hosted in Atlanta.