Bulls forward Jimmy Butler named a starter for the NBA All-Star Game

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NEW YORK,NY - MARCH 24: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles up court against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 24, 2016 in New York,New York NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – For a quickly emerging NBA star, the third time was the charm for Jimmy Butler to be one of the top five players in the league’s mid-season classic.

On Thursday, the Bulls forward was named a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2017 All-Star Game on February 19th at Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans.

This is Butler’s third selection to the All-Star game but the first time he will crack the starting lineup. Butler joins Cavaliers LeBron James and Kyrie Irving along with the Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo along with the Raptors DeMar DeRozan.

Despite an up-and-down season for the team, Butler is enjoying a career season. He’s averaging 24.8 points per game along with 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.

Butler becomes the first Bulls player to start in an All-Star game since Pau Gasol did so in 2015. He’s one of just three players to start for the Bulls in an All-Star game since 1998, joining Gasol and Derrick Rose, who was in the lineup in 2011 and 2012.