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James Harden selected as starter for 2019 NBA All-Star Game

The Beard is set to make his yearly appearance in the league’s exhibition game.

NBA: All Star Game-Team LeBron at Team Stephen Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden was officially named an NBA All-Star starter in the Western Conference on Thursday night.

This marks Harden’s seventh straight appearance in the All-Star game, third straight start, all in his time with the Rockets. The reigning MVP earns the starting nod in the midst of arguably (but probably not as arguable) his best individual statistic season. He currently leads the league with a career-high 36.3 points per game, is tied for third in assists at 8.3 a game, and is No.1 in the league in free-throw attempts.

While Harden was the leading media vote-getter for guards in the West, he wouldn’t have made the starting lineup if it were up to the fans.

Derrick Rose, in an incredible comeback season, was a heavy favorite among fans. According to the last All-Star returns on Jan. 17, Rose trailed Stephen Curry (2.97 million votes) for second in guard fan votes with a little over 2.7 million votes, with Harden coming in third at little over 2.3 million tallies. Rose finished in second in the West for fan votes. Good thing for The Beard, the fan vote is worth only 50-percent, while votes from the media and players are worth 25-percent each - Harden landed in first and second in those categories, respectively.

The pre-All-Star game process doesn’t end here.

Fans have to wait until Jan. 31 until the reserves are selected. Then on Feb. 7, team captains, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, will draft their teams in the second year of the the All-Star game’s new format. The draft event will be televised for the first time on TNT. The match will take place on Feb. 17 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

Harden averages 16.5 points, 6.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 25 minutes in his six exhibitions.