1998: Jayson Williams
Jayson Williams was one of the least likely All-Stars in NBA history when he was named a reserve for the Eastern Conference in 1998.
Williams, almost 30, had been primarily a reserve during his first six NBA seasons before landing a starting role for the New Jersey Nets and running with it.
In 48 games before the break, Williams averaged 13.1 points and 13.5 rebounds in 36.1 minutes per game, shooting 51.1 percent overall while missing his three 3-point attempts.
Williams had come to New Jersey in October 1992 in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers that sent two second-round picks the other way. Despite early injury problems, Williams settled into a reserve role and worked his way up the rotation before becoming a starter in 1996-97.
The Nets were a surprise of their own, getting to the break at 27-21 in their second season under coach/general manager John Calipari, good for second in the Atlantic Division, 3½ games behind the Miami Heat.
In the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Williams played 19 minutes and finished with four points, 10 rebounds and an assist, going 2-for-3 from the floor.
The Nets, meanwhile, leveled off after the break, going 16-18. The eighth-seeded New Jersey club played two tough games against the two-time defending champion Chicago Bulls in the first round before the Bulls knocked them out with a 15-point win at East Rutherford in Game 3.
Williams’ career crashed to an end in March 1999, when his right leg was broken in a collision with teammate Stephon Marbury. Williams sat out all of the 1999-2000 season before announcing his retirement in June 2000.
He made a brief comeback in 2005 with the Idaho Stampede in the Continental Basketball Association.
His post-basketball life was turbulent, as he was charged in the 2002 shooting death of limousine driver Costas Christofi. He eventually pleaded guilty in January 2010 to aggravated assault and served time in prison on that count as well as a DWI charge in 2010.