);
All-Star 2019

NBA All-Star Game 2019: How Luka Doncic compares with Michael Jordan and LeBron James as a rookie in voting

#MJ Luka

When the NBA unveiled the third release of the All-Star fan vote, Luka Doncic ranked second in the Western Conference and third in the entire NBA.

He's now jumped up in each of the voting releases after the rookie phenom was ranked seventh overall in the first release and fourth overall after the second.

For those who surmised that those initial results couldn't possibly last, Doncic is proving that he carries significant staying power in the hearts and minds of fans all over the world.

MORE: Takeaways from third All-Star voting release

That a 19-year old rookie stands toe-to-toe in what's essentially a popularity contest with the biggest names in a star-driven league that's dripping with marketable, forward-facing talent is simply incredible.

Even more remarkable?

Comparing his rookie All-Star voting results to how some of the game's biggest legends fared as rookies.

The monsoon of support showered upon a rookie just doesn't happen very often. Not like this.

Here's how some of the most notable rookies fared in All-Star voting.

Michael Jordan

Rookie season: 1984-85

  • 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • 5th in overall voting
  • All-Star? Yes
  • Stats at All-Star break: 27.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.5 APG

Given that Michael Jordan reigned supreme as the NBA's most popular world-wide athlete throughout his career and even after his playing days, it's somewhat surprising that he "only" finished fifth in All-Star voting in 1985. You'd have to think that had the internet and social media existed, Jordan could have ended up higher.

Nevertheless, he finished behind Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Moses Malone and Ralph Sampson.

That even Jordan couldn't finish higher as a rookie is a true testament to just how popular Doncic is today relative to his own peers.

LeBron James

Rookie season: 2003-04

  • 7th in Eastern Conference
  • 13th in overall voting
  • All-Star? No
  • Stats at All-Star break: 20.4 PPG, 5.8 APG, 5.7 RPG

LeBron James was left off the 2003-04 All-Star team as a rookie after not being named a starter by the fans. The reserves selected by coaches that year included Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, Jamaal Magloire, Ron Artest, Baron Davis, Michael Redd and Paul Pierce.

For what it's worth, the Cavaliers were just 20-33 at the All-Star break and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Every Eastern Conference All-Star played for a team above the Cavaliers in the standings at the time of the All-Star break.

Yao Ming

Rookie season: 2002-03

  • 2nd in Western Conference
  • 4th in overall voting
  • All-Star? Yes
  • Stats at All-Star break: 13.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.0 Blks PG

Yao's popularity as an international sensation might actually be the closest comparison to how Luka Doncic has taken the NBA by storm with the support of an overseas fanbase.

As popular as Yao was from Day 1 and with the sheer volume of votes from China and elsewhere, Yao still finished second in the West behind Kobe Bryant and fourth overall. Voted in as a starter in all eight of his seasons, including 2010-11 when injuries limited him to just five total games, Yao's positional dominance when it came to All-Star voting was enough to usurp the spot from Shaquille O'Neal early on and help pave the "he's a forward!" road for Tim Duncan's All-Star candidacy.

Kobe Bryant

Rookie season: 1996-97

  • N/A in voting (not on the ballot as a rookie)
  • All-Star? No
  • Stats at All-Star break: 7.0 PPG, 14.5 Mins PG, off the bench in 37 of 39 games

Though not on the ballot for the All-Star Game as a rookie, an 18-year old Bryant still electrified the All-Star weekend crowd in Cleveland as he soared to the Slam Dunk title defeating a field that consisted of Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Bob Sura, Darvin Ham and Chris Carr.

Bryant would, of course, make his first All-Star team the following season and go on to make 18 All-Star teams, the second-most in NBA history behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Larry Bird

Rookie season: 1979-80

  • 12th in Eastern Conference
  • 22nd in overall voting
  • All-Star? Yes
  • Stats at All-Star break: 19.3 PPG in 53 games

Bird finished fourth among forwards in the Eastern Conference in All-Star voting behind Julius Erving, John Drew and Dan Roundfield. Despite coming off the bench, Bird still tallied seven assists in his first All-Star game - an overtime thriller. With 1:40 left in the OT period, Bird drained a 3-pointer, the first made 3 in All-Star game history.

Shaquille O'Neal

Rookie season: 1992-93

  • 3rd in Eastern Conference
  • 4th in overall voting
  • All-Star? Yes
  • Stats at All-Star break: 24.0 PPG, 14.3 RPG, 4.0 Blks PG

The only players that received more votes than rookie Shaq were Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley. When you're a 20-year old centre playing in a league with established centres like Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing and the only players receiving more votes are three Dream Teamers, two members of the ruling dynasty (Jordan, Pippen) and that season's eventual MVP (Barkley), you know you're doing something right.

O'Neal scored 14 points in 25 minutes in his first All-Star game.

Grant Hill

Rookie season: 1994-95

  • 1st in Eastern Conference
  • 1st in overall voting
  • All-Star? Yes
  • Stats at All-Star break: 18.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.3 APG

Grant Hill was the last rookie to lead all players in All-Star voting, filling the void left by Michael Jordan's first retirement from the Chicago Bulls.

Magic Johnson

Rookie season: 1979-80

  • 2nd in Western Conference
  • 3rd in NBA
  • All-Star? Yes
  • Stats at All-Star break: 18.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG

A rookie Magic Johnson was almost as popular in the eyes of All-Star voters as his teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the only Western Conference player to receive more votes.

Every Rookie to Start the All-Star Game

Of course, the fans only make up 50% of the vote in determining who will actually start the All-Star Game. The players (25%) and media (25%) also have a sizeable voice, so there's certainly no guarantee that Doncic starts (or even makes the team) should he remain where he currently sits in the fan vote.

There have been 16 rookies overall to start the All-Star Game, most recently Yao Ming in 2003.

Rookie All-Stars
2010-11 Blake Griffin Clippers Reserve
2002-03 Yao Ming Rockets Starter
1997-98 Tim Duncan Spurs Reserve
1994-95 Grant Hill Pistons Starter
1992-93 Shaquille O'Neal Magic Starter
1991-92 Dikembe Mutombo Nuggets Reserve
1989-90 David Robinson Spurs Reserve
1985-86 Patrick Ewing Knicks Reserve
1984-85 Michael Jordan Bulls Starter
1984-85 Hakeem Olajuwon Rockets Reserve
1983-84 Ralph Sampson Rockets Reserve
1981-82 Isiah Thomas Pistons Starter
1981-82 Kelly Tripucka Pistons Reserve
1981-82 Buck Williams Nets Reserve
1979-80 Larry Bird Celtics Reserve
1979-80 Bill Cartwright Knicks Reserve
1979-80 Magic Johnson Lakers Starter
1977-78 Walter Davis Suns Reserve
1975-76 Alvan Adams Suns Reserve
1971-72 Sidney Wicks Trail Blazers Reserve
1970-71 John Johnson Cavaliers Reserve
1970-71 Geoff Petrie Trail Blazers Reserve
1969-70 Lew Alcindor Bucks Reserve
1968-69 Elvin Hayes Rockets Starter
1968-69 Wes Unseld Bullets Reserve
1965-66 Rick Barry Warriors Starter
1964-65 Willis Reed Knicks Reserve
1964-65 Luke Jackson 76ers Starter
1963-64 Jerry Lucas Royals Starter
1962-63 Terry Dischinger Zephyrs Reserve
1961-62 Walt Bellamy Packers Starter
1960-61 Oscar Robertson Royals Starter
1960-61 Jerry West Lakers Reserve
1959-60 Wilt Chamberlain Warriors Starter
1958-59 Elgin Baylor Lakers Starter
1956-57 Tom Heinsohn Celtics Reserve
1955-56 Maurice Stokes Royals Reserve
1954-55 Bob Pettit Hawks Reserve
1954-55 Frank Selvy Hawks Reserve
1953-54 Ray Felix Bullets Starter
1953-54 Jack Molinas Pistons Reserve
1953-54 Don Sunderlage Hawks Reserve
1950-51 Paul Arizin Warriors Reserve
1950-51 Bob Cousy Celtics Starter
1950-51 Larry Foust Pistons Reserve

More from NBA.com

fred-vanvleet-nick-nurse
Nurse talks Raptors upcoming season without Kawhi
Gilbert McGregor
#Lowry
Report: Lowry undergoes procedure on left thumb
Gilbert McGregor
derozan-kawhi-081819-ftr-getty.jpg
How will you remember Kawhi-DeMar trade?
NBA.com Staff
NBA - Summer Workout Plan
How Pascal Siakam can become a superstar
Scott Rafferty
#Raps Grade
How did the Raptors do in free agency?
Carlan Gay
rondae-hollis-jefferson-070819-ftr-getty.jpg
What Hollis-Jefferson brings to Raptors
Scott Rafferty
More News