It has been, on the whole, a heavy weekend here in Chicago. The NBA is playing its annual All-Star game on Sunday amid a series of tributes for Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter accident on January 26, along with his daughter and seven others. It’s also been a time to reflect on former commissioner David Stern, who died on January 1.
That’s resonated with Lakers star LeBron James.
“I always appreciate it,” James said. “It’s the game that I love. It’s the game that I fell in love with when I was a little boy. So for me to be a part of All-Star Weekend here with all the fans all around the world that we have that support our beautiful game, I never take this moment for granted.”
But it is basketball, after all, and it should be fun. Enough with the complaints about a stolen dunk contest, for cryin’ out loud.
With that in mind, the folks at ESPN put together a unique look at some of the players who will be donning uniforms for Team Giannis and Team LeBron: It gathered their baby pictures.
Yes, ESPN put out, “All-Star: Baby Edition,” photos of 20 of Sunday’s star players going back to when they were toddlers in diapers.
Some Priceless Expressions
The photos are highlighted by a round-cheeked LeBron James, ears in full bloom, cracking a full-faced smile while wearing orange overalls. Lakers teammate Anthony Davis and Chicago native appears next to him holding what appears to be a Chicago Bulls basketball. (A free-agency hint? Alert the conspiracy theorists!)
The birthday cake and accompanying smile on Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, along with the braids worn by Rockets guard Russell Westbrook are also notable.
The LeBron babies:
On the opposite side are the Giannis Antetkounmpo tykes. There’s more love for the Bulls there, from Celtics point guard Kemba Walker, who shows up in a black and red Chicago hat. The anger on the face of young Kyle Lowry is, maybe, the most interesting trait of any of the 20 babies.
Here’s Team Giannis:
And, Of Course, Some Hot Toddler Takes
There were, naturally, some zingers from ESPN’s Twitter audience on the subject.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, who earned a spot on the team by averaging 23.1 points and 8.5 assists this season, got noticed for his still-youthful looks. Young is 21, we should note.
And Suns guard Devin Booker, originally snubbed for the All-Star team but granted a spot when Damian Lillard was a late injury scratch, got the same question. How is it he could look so close to what he looked like when he was in diapers, anyway?
It was also noted that Anthony Davis, even in his preschool days, was sporting his trademark eyebrows–which are, of course, really just one extended eyebrow.
There was this for LeBron James who was known for looking like he was in his mid-30s even when he was a teenager. James still looks a bit old now that he is actually in his mid-30s.
For all the weight that has been attached to this weekend, it was nice, certainly, to be reminded that playing an All-Star game, in the end, is child’s play.