Photo Credits: Coby Van Loan/OKC Thunder
The NBA’s Rising Star game rosters came in Thursday evening, selecting a variety of 10 rookies or sophomores for the US and World teams respectively.
As first reported by NBA Topshot, a league-backed virtual trading card company, Oklahoma City’s own Lu Dort and Theo Maledon were invited to the event on the World’s roster. The Bricktown pairing are adjoined with big names in RJ Barrett, Brandon Clarke, and Deni Avdija — tag-teaming with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Since the inception of the USA vs. World game in the 2014-2015 season (replacing rookie vs. sophomores) Oklahoma City have only netted two players on a roster once — in 2017’s selection of Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) and Alex Abrines (Spain). Not only does this season tie the franchises record, but both Lu Dort (Canada) and Theo Maledon (France) were chosen in the immediate roster, Abrines replaced an injured Joel Embiid back in 2017.
Current teammate and 2x Rising Star participant (2008-2009) Al Horford credited Lu and Theo, saying, “It’s a great honor. I’m very happy for Lu and Theo. Lu continues to grow. Theo, he is a guy, that continues to impress us. He continues to take steps, he is a very hard worker.”
Hard work sure has paid for both elects of the roster, docking numbers that make them locks for the roster. Lu Dort has averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for Oklahoma City, all the while carving himself as a top defender in the NBA. Theo Maledon has advanced himself from a training camp standout to a consistent starter, dropping numbers of 7.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a paltry 25.4 minutes a night.
Due to potential Health and Safety protocol risks, the USA vs. World competition will not be held during All-Star Weekend. However, the accolade and recognition for all men elected should yield nothing but more star-studded moments for the years to come.