Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo is about to play in his third All-Star game Sunday night, but this time will be a bit different compared to the other appearances. Because Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid is unable to play because of an injury, Adebayo will start for the Eastern Conference.

This will be the first time for Adebayo and also the first for a Heat player to start in an All-Star team since legend Dwyane Wade did it back in 2016. Adebayo spoke to the media Saturday about the getting the opportunity to start, saying it will be a “dope experience” according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

“It’s going to be a dope experience,” Adebayo said. “Just going to really cherish that moment and thankful to God and all the people who support me through all the ups and downs. We’ve added something new to our list.”

East head coach Doc Rivers talks starting Heat star in Adebayo

Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo in front of the Kaseya Center.

The decision was made by the head coach for the Eastern Conference team which this year is Doc Rivers, who has the same mantle with the Milwaukee Bucks. He told the media that it was an “easy” decision to make and funny enough, Rivers got to see Adebayo with a close look as the Heat beat the Bucks last Tuesday where the big-man recorded a triple-double.

“I looked at Big Joel out, what other (center) do we have on the team, and Bam got the honor,” Rivers said. “It’s good for him, too. It’s funny, I told him in locker room. He didn’t know. I thought he knew because I told the league yesterday. You could tell he was very happy about it.”

While this is Adebayo's third All-Star appearance and likely many more to come because of how exceptional of a player he is, he said that he does not want to take it for granted. He used an example of Los Angeles Lakers star and former Heat player LeBron James who has a bevy of appearences, saying “that sound crazy.”

“I mean, it’s an accolade,” Adebayo said via The Miami Herald. “Obviously, some people tend to not care. But for me, man, why not? You look at a guy like [LeBron James], he just broke a record for the most All-Star appearances. That sounds crazy.”

“Then, obviously, when you look back at your legacy, you don’t want to be like, ‘I left a lot of things on the table,'” Adebayo continued. “For me, that’s not what I want. When I’m done, I want to be able to have every last ounce of relief when I walk away from this game and know I gave it everything I have.”

Lofty goals for Adebayo with Miami

Adebayo has already done so much in a Heat uniform and he is only 26 years old. Speaking to the media during All-Star weekend, he talked about wanting to stay with Miami as long as possible as he has seen first-hand what the organization can do, but the one goal he still has is winning a championship.

“I’ve seen guys stay in one situation and obviously you see the good and the bad of both sides,” Adebayo said. “But I feel like when you have an organization that can really push for championships, us going to the Finals with 60 percent of our team being undrafted. When you have those types of moments, when you’re always in that fight mentality, it’s something that it will be different if it changes. I see that in a lot of guys when they get here or when they leave, it’s always a different story on the other side.”

“For me, man, it’s just being able to look at some of the ones who have done it like a D-Wade, like UD,” Adebayo said.. “When you hear those types of stories, you want that type of story. It sounds like a great resume, being able to win championships, get everything you want out of your career and be with the same team.”

So far this season, Adebayo is averaging 20.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 51 percent from the field. The Heat entering the All-Star break are 30-25 on the season which puts them seventh in the Eastern Conference as their next game will be Friday, Feb. 23 where they will take on the New Orleans Pelicans.