After 14 seasons, Mike Conley is finally an All-Star. On Friday, the league announced that the veteran Utah Jazz point guard will be an injury replacement for Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. In addition to playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday, Conley will take part in the 3-Point Contest.
Booker, who himself was originally an injury replacement for Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis, suffered a left knee sprain which will prevent him from participating. This would have been the second All-Star appearance for the high-scoring Suns guard, but he’ll now have to wait at least another year to return to the league’s midseason classic.
Conley was widely considered one of the biggest snubs from the All-Star Game when the reserves were announced last month. He’s having one of the best seasons of his career, putting up 16.1 points and 5.7 assists per game, while shooting a career-high 42.2 percent from 3-point land. And, of course, he’s been a key factor in the Jazz claiming the best record in the league after the first half of the season.
Earlier this season, Conley told The Athletic that his inability to make the All-Star Game felt like going to the DMV and being told after hours of waiting that you don’t have the correct forms of ID. “This is the year,” Conley said. “This is the year that I have two forms of identification.”
In the end, it took multiple injuries to other players, but Conley finally had the right credentials. He’ll join teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in Atlanta, but they won’t all be on the same team. As is the new tradition, the All-Star teams are picked playground-style by two captains instead of being based on conference affiliation. Conley will be on Team Durant along with Gobert, while Mitchell will play for Team LeBron.
Due to COVID-19, all of the All-Star festivities have been condensed into one night. The 3-Point Contest, which Conley will also participate in for the first time, will take place pre-game.