Bradley Beal is an All-Star for the third time, and for the first time he will start the annual game featuring all of the best players in the NBA.

Brad was selected by the fans as the leading vote-getter amongst Eastern Conference guards with an overwhelming total of nearly 3.5 million votes. He also was the No. 1 pick of East guards among the media and players, making his choice unanimous.

“It is truly an honor to be selected to start in the All-Star game for the first time in my career,” said Beal. “I want to thank the fans, media and players for selecting me to represent the Wizards organization during the All-Star festivities in Atlanta. I also want to thank my teammates, coaches, the entire organization, and our fans who are still supporting us through this unprecedented season.”

He was joined in the East backcourt by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. The East frontcourt starters are Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. Durant led all East vote getters and LeBron James led all West vote getters, making them team captains for the All-Star draft. We’ll find out on Thursday, March 4 whether Brad will start for Team LeBron or Team Durant.

After being selected as a reserve in 2018 and 2019, Brad was notably snubbed from last year’s All-Star squad despite averaging better than 29 points and six assists per game before the 2020 game.

No. 3 believes the notoriety that came along with that snub, as well as his continued improvement as a player and ascension to a place among the game’s elite guards — he currently leads the league in scoring at 32.8 points per game — helped rally support for him in 2021.

“To go from being snubbed to starting this year is a huge honor,” Beal said. “I thank the fans, my peers, the media – everybody who had a say so in voting for me. It’s a huge honor. I don’t take it for granted. It’s definitely a motivation for me to continue to be a mentor, to be a better player. It’s so many guys who are more than deserving to be where I am, so please believe I don’t take it for granted.”

Being on a team that has struggled mightily to get back into playoff contention the last three seasons, after making the postseason in four of his first six seasons, has given Brad a unique perspective on All-Star honors and other individual accolades.

“It’s tough at times, but ultimately it brings you back to why you play the game. When I first picked up a basketball, it wasn’t to win a trophy. It wasn’t to win someone’s approval, it wasn’t to win someone’s vote. It always brings me back,” Beal said. “At the end of the day, accolades is not what I want to be remembered by. I want to be remembered by the impact I leave on people… I just want to be a dominant player and leave a lasting impact on people.”

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is scheduled to be played on Sunday, March 7th in Atlanta.