The first NBA All-Star voting returns are in, and Giannis Antetokounmpo leads everyone

Over the past few years, no NBA player has ascended more rapidly into basketball’s elite than the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. And if there was any doubt about his parallel rise into the upper echelon of fan favorites, it was put to bed Thursday.

The NBA issued its first update on fan voting for the 2018 All-Star Game, and Giannis, a few weeks in, has more votes than LeBron James; more than Kyrie Irving; more than Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, or any other player in the league.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the NBA All-Star fan vote as of early January. (Getty)

Antetokounmpo had 863,416 votes, around 7,000 more than LeBron, the second-highest vote-getter:

The full top 15 is as follows:

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (863,416)
2. LeBron James (856,080)
3. Kyrie Irving (802,834)
4. Kevin Durant (767,402)
5. Steph Curry (735,115)
6. James Harden (602,040)
7. Russell Westbrook (438,469)
8. Joel Embiid (433,161)
9. Anthony Davis (393,000)
10. Kristaps Porzingis (359,459)
11. Klay Thompson (359,442)
12. DeMarcus Cousins (356,340)
13. Draymond Green (325,612)
14. Paul George (291,495)
15. DeMar DeRozan (259,368)

What’s most impressive about Antetokounmpo’s lead? That hundreds, if not thousands of fans intending to vote for the Milwaukee Bucks star on social media can’t even spell his name right:

Despite the misspellings, if All-Star voting ended today, Giannis would be one of two team captains. The other would be Durant. The top vote-getter in each conference will earn that honor, and, under the NBA’s new format, will draft rosters from the rest of the All-Star selections. Those rosters will be revealed on Jan. 25. The East vs. West format has been scrapped.

Voting is open for two more weeks. The fan vote counts for 50 percent of the overall vote. NBA players get 25 percent, and select media members get the final 25 percent. That vote determines the 10 starters for the Feb. 18 game. Those starters will be revealed on Jan. 18. NBA coaches will then select the All-Star reserves.

Voting opened on on Dec. 21, and opened on all other platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, on Christmas Day. It’s therefore been open for two weeks. This is the halfway point. And Giannis is well on his way to a starting spot, even if LeBron eventually overtakes him as team captain.