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All Star Games Past & Present

The NBA All-Star Game, pitting the top players in the Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference, has been conducted every year since 1951, with the exception of 1999 when a league lockout forced cancellation of the game. Currently, All-Star starters are selected by fan vote, while reserves are chosen by the league’s head coaches. When a selected player is injured, the commissioner picks the replacement. The All-Star Game head coaches are the coaches of the teams that have the best records in their conferences on January 31, but no coach serves in two consecutive games. Players from the West usually wear red uniforms, while players from the East don blue uniforms. Final scores of All-Star Games are generally higher than the typical NBA game due to defensive efforts being somewhat more lax.  The NBA All-Star Game is occasionally played in NFL or Major League Baseball stadiums, including the Pontiac Silverdome (Pontiac, Michigan) in 1979, the Hoosier Dome (Indianapolis) in 1985, the Kingdome (Seattle) in 1987, the Astrodome (Houston) in 1989, and Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas) in 2010. Only once has the game been contested in a region with no NBA team – the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas in 2007. The All-Star Game is the culmination of NBA All-Star Weekend, which also includes a Celebrity Game featuring retired NBA players, WNBA players, athletes from other sports and entertainment celebrities; the Rising Stars Challenge featuring first and second-year NBA players; and slam dunk contests, three-point shootouts, H-O-R-S-E competitions and skills challenges. The first NBA All-Star Game, played March 2, 1951, at Boston Garden, saw the East defeat the West 111-94 in front of 10,094 fans. The Highland Mint has been producing licensed products commemorating the NBA All-Star Game for a number of years, including limited-edition collectibles such as Coins, Silver Coin Cards and PhotoMints featuring pieces of the nets that were actually used during the games.