NBA All-Star Game Rookies: Blake Griffin Joins Jordan, All-Time Greats
Blake Griffin continues to make history in his first season in the NBA.
Griffin was named a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team Thursday, becoming just the 44th rookie to earn that distinction.
He is the first rookie chosen since Yao Ming in 2003 and the first to be selected by the coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998.
Prior to that, it was Grant Hill in 1995, Shaquille O'Neal in 1993 and Dikembe Mutombo in 1992.
Since its inception in 1951, the NBA All-Star game has showcased some of the greatest players ever to come through the league.
It takes a special talent to earn the nod just halfway through that initial season.
While 44 may seem relatively high, Griffin is just the sixth rookie selected since David Robinson in 1990.
Twenty-three of those players are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan sure to follow.
Let's take a look at rookie All-Stars decade by decade.
Rookie All-Stars in the 1950's
Rookie All-Stars were much more prevalent in the league's early days. There were fewer teams and players entered the league more often as finished products rather than works in progress.
1951 saw three rookies named to the first NBA All-Star game: Philadelphia Warrior Paul Arizin, legendary Celtic Bob Cousy (pictured) and Larry Foust of the Fort Wayne Pistons.
In 1954, Ray Felix of the Baltimore Bullets and the Milwaukee Hawks' Don Sunderlage were named to the team.
Bob Pettit and Frank Selvy, both Milwaukee Hawks, earned the distinction in 1955.
Rochester's Maurice Stokes and Boston's Tom Heinsohn made it in 1956 and 1957, respectively.
In 1959, rookie Elgin Baylor was named to the team and took home MVP honors.
Rookie All-Stars in the 1960's
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Before Wilt Chamberlain (left) won league MVP in his rookie season, he was named All-Star game MVP as well.
Rookies Jerry West and Oscar Robertson were named All-Stars in 1961, with the Big O being named the game's MVP.
1962 saw Walt Bellamy of the Chicago Packers make the team.
A year later in 1963, Chicago Zephyr Terry Dischinger was named an All-Star as a rookie.
Jerry Lucas of the Cincinnati Royals was selected in his first season in 1964.
Willis Reed and Luke Jackson made the team in 1965.
Rick Barry followed in 1966.
Wes Unseld was selected in 1969 along with San Diego Rocket forward, Elvin Hayes.
Rookie All-Stars in the 1970's
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) was an All-Star in his first season in 1970.
Geoff Petrie and John Johnson made the 1971 team.
Portland's Sidney Wicks was an All-Star in his first try in 1972.
1976 saw rookie Alvan Adams make his lone appearance.
The Suns' Walter Davis earned the nod in 1978.
Rookie All-Stars in the 1980's
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The 1980 All-Star game welcomed three rookies into the fold: Larry Bird, Bill Cartwright and Magic Johnson.
Two Piston first-years, Isiah Thomas and Kelly Tripucka, were chosen in 1982 along with Nets big man Buck Williams.
Ralph Sampson made the team in 1984.
Michael Jordan and no. 1 pick Hakeem (then Akeem) Olajuwon were selected in 1985.
Knicks rookie center Patrick Ewing was selected in 1986, but was unable to participate due to injury.
Rookie All-Stars: 1990 to Present
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By the 1990's, rookie All-Stars were rare indeed, with just five during the decade.
David Robinson made the Western squad during his 1990 NBA Rookie of the Year campaign.
In 1992, the coaches selected Nuggets center Dikembe Mutombo as a Western Conference reserve.
Shaquille O'Neal was voted in by the fans in 1993 followed by Grant Hill two years later.
Tim Duncan in 1998 and Yao Ming in 2003 were the most recent.
That is, until Blake Griffin came along.