Top 3 NBA players who overcame early career injuries to make an All-Star team

Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada

NBA players come into the league hoping to have amazing careers, win titles, individual awards and eventually make it to the All-Star teams and possibly be a Hall of Famer. But not all careers go as planned, most of them marred by injuries. Some of these injuries are career-ending and others are not so serious, but recurring. Often times players return and go on to have a struggling career.

However, there have been some very peculiar cases of players in the NBA that suffered major injuries and came back to have great careers. Let's take a look at those who have had an early career injury, overcame them and proceeded to make it to the All-Star team.


Three NBA players who overcame early-career injuries to make an All-Star team

#3 Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls controls the ball ahead of David Nwaba #2 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter of a game at the Toyota Center on February 22, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls controls the ball ahead of David Nwaba #2 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter of a game at the Toyota Center on February 22, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

The two-time NBA Slam Dunk champion pulled off one for the history books, returning from a serious knee injury with more fire than he had before the injury. LaVine developed amazing athletic abilities combined with much more acrobatic prowess than he had. Zach LaVine tore his ACL on February 4, 2017, during a game against the Detroit Pistons. The Minnesota Timberwolves lost 116-108 and LaVine was limited to only 47 games that season. He had an MRI the next day, was diagnosed and proceeded to undergo surgery on what was a season-ending injury.

The Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and got in Kris Dunn and the injured Zach LaVine. The latter made a full recovery and made his Bulls debut against the Detroit Pistons in a close win for Chicago (107-105). LaVine made his presence known from the get-go, making a three-pointer just 37 seconds after checking into the game. He made 14 points and two assists having played for 19 minutes.

In the 2020-21 season, the Bulls' shooting guard was selected to the NBA All-Star team having recorded an average of 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

#2 Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in action against Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks during their game at Madison Square Garden on April 11, 2021 in New York City.
Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in action against Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks during their game at Madison Square Garden on April 11, 2021 in New York City.

Kyle Lowry was the 24th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. However, his rookie season was cut short after featuring in only 10 games due to a broken wrist injury which he suffered in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 21, 2006. He missed the remainder of the season as he underwent surgery.

Upon full recovery, he featured in 82 games for the Grizzlies in the 2007-08 season. He has since gone on to receive six consecutive NBA All-Star selections from 2015 through to 2020. He also has a Championship ring under his belt with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.


#1 Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts referee James Williams #60 after being charged with an offensive foul against Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at State Farm Arena on June 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts referee James Williams #60 after being charged with an offensive foul against Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks during the first half of game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at State Farm Arena on June 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Joel Embiid has been considered to be one of the most injury-prone NBA players. Before his career began he had already been injured. He suffered a stress fracture and had to undergo surgery days before the 2014 NBA Draft. He was the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick but with news of his injury, teams stayed away but Sam Hinke of the Sixers took a chance in selecting him at No. 3 pick.

Embiid had a setback in his healing process and missed the whole of his rookie season in 2015. In 2017 NBA season, Embiid had only played 31 games when he was faced with yet another injury, a left knee meniscus tear, and was out for the rest of the season.

However, Embiid made a comeback and made it to the 2018 NBA All-Star team. He was also selected for the All-Star of the next three years but only played in 2018, 2019 and 2020, as he was ruled out in the 2021 All-Star game after he was exposed to a person with the Covid-19 virus.

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