Mike Conley has sought his whole career to be an NBA All-Star.
And now he is.
The Utah Jazz guard on Friday was named as an injury replacement by commissioner Adam Silver. He will take the place of Suns guard Devin Booker (himself an injury replacement for the Lakers’ Anthony Davis), who suffered a left knee sprain.
It will be the first All-Star appearance of Conley’s 14-year career.
The veteran point guard is averaging 16.1 points, 5.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting a career-high 42.2% from 3-point range. He has helped lead the Jazz to a 27-9 record at the break — the best mark in the NBA.
Conley had made no secret of his desire to make the All-Star Game, saying before the initial reserves were selected that a selection “would mean the world to me, obviously.
“It would say a lot about me as a person after the year I had last year, to come back and compete at the level I competed at,” Conley added. “I do feel like I’ve played well enough to be in that conversation and to, quite frankly, be one of those reserves. I think that this year, everything is falling into place: We have the best record and we’ve got our coach coaching [one of the teams]. So it’s all falling in line. If it’s not going to happen this year, man, that’ll be tough.”
His teammates advocated for it, as well.
“I’m praying Mike gets in,” Donovan Mitchell said. “For a guy like him who’s done so many things for his career — on and off the floor — he deserves this.”
Initially, it didn’t happen, with teammates Rudy Gobert and Mitchell chosen to represent the Jazz (along with coach Quin Snyder) in Atlanta, as they were named reserves to the game.
Conley expressed disappointment over his exclusion, which only became exacerbated when Booker was quickly tabbed by Silver as Davis’ injury replacement.
In the end, though, Conley ultimately got the reward he was seeking.
And, it turns out, a bit of a bonus, too.
Conley will not only be replacing Booker in the All-Star Game itself, but also in the 3-Point Shootout set to take place beforehand.
He now joins his backcourt partner, Mitchell, both in the contest and as a reserve on Team Durant. Rosters were selected by team captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant in an event televised by TNT on Thursday night.
Snyder and Gobert will both be representing Team LeBron.
Conley’s Jazz teammates were quick to celebrate his accomplishment on social media.