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By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) — The NBA celebrated its diamond anniversary with a sparkling tribute to honor 75 years on the hardwood floor.

During halftime of Sunday’s All-Star Game, 45 members of the 75th Anniversary Team — including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — stood side by side on a circular stage in the middle of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

It was a chance to take a bow for the game’s biggest names, players who cut a path down the lane for today’s players.

Each of them wearing blue blazers with a 75th logo on their chests, the best of the NBA’s best were introduced to huge ovations, with the loudest cheers going to Jordan, who was the last player to walk onto the raised podium at center court.

The forwards were brought out first with Charles Barkley leading the way. Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of six current All-Stars on the 75th team, changed out of his Team LeBron uniform for the on-court tribute.

Julius “Dr. J” Erving bowed to the crowd, and the always entertaining Dennis Rodman strutted down the wine-colored carpet wearing a basketball cap Hey Dudes  and hooded sweatshirt under his jacket.

LeBron James was the last of the forward group to be welcomed, and the former Cleveland star spun in circle to return the love coming from every corner of the arena.

When it was the centers’ turn to be welcomed, Shaquille O’Neal stuck out his tongue toward the camera and posed while Abdul-Jabbar, the league’s career scoring leader, mimicked his signature “sky hook.”

Allen Iverson, who once scored 54 points in the building, led the guards out and was followed soon after by George “Iceman” Gervin, who made sure the crowd remembered his famed finger roll.

Before Jordan’s entrance, Kobe Bryant’s photo on the giant scoreboard touched off an emotional response and chants of “Ko-be, Ko-be” for the late Lakers superstar who died tragically in a 2020 helicopter crash with his young daughter, Gianna.

Even Steph Curry, who got booed during the first half of the All-Star Game, got a nice hand.

Jordan’s appearance was something of a surprise as the league kept a tight lid on any details of the celebration.

The still living members of the 75th team who didn’t attend were shown on video, with each saluting the fans with a wave.

This is the second time the league has honored its greats in Cleveland, after the 50th Anniversary Team was honored in 1997.

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