The NBA All-Star Game is what all players aspire to. It’s a childhood dream. Aside from making First Team All-NBA or being named MVP, it’s the pinnacle of individual accolades. It’s also a rather exclusive club. There are only 13 spots in each conference each season, and deserving players are often left by the wayside.
That’s been the case for veteran point guard Mike Conley for most of his career. During the heyday of the Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies, Conley certain had seasons worthy of real consideration but was always a casualty of the loaded field of backcourt players in the Western Conference.
Now, it appears Conley will have finally get his due, as the league announced on Friday that, pending a health evaluation, Conley will become a first-time All-Star this weekend in Atlanta.
BREAKING: Mike Conley pending medical protocol is invited to the all-star game, league sources tell The Athletic
— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) March 6, 2021
Can confirm that Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley will be a participant in this Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, as first reported by @Tjonesonthenba of The Athletic. It is not immediately known if he is an injury replacement, or simply a league invitee. More to come.
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) March 6, 2021
Shams Charania of The Athletic offered a few more details on the situation, clarifying that Conley will replace Devin Booker, who is suffering from a knee sprain, and will also take his place in the three-point contest.
Phoenix’s Devin Booker has been replaced by Utah’s Mike Conley Jr. in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday. Conley will also participate in the 3-point contest.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 6, 2021
Conley will join Jazz teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert when the NBA’s annual midseason showcase kicks off on Sunday. The news is a nice change of pace for the Jazz after a relatively rough week. They dropped an overtime thriller to the Sixers on Wednesday, after which both Mitchell and Gobert expressed their frustrations about the officiating and were subsequently fined by the league.
For Conley, it’s the culmination of an understated but stellar NBA career that now sees him playing a pivotal role on the NBA’s No. 1 team.