DeMar DeRozan is going back-to-back.
The Bulls' veteran forward earned a second-straight All-Star nod on Thursday. It's his sixth-career appearance on an NBA All-Star team.
"It's beyond exciting," DeRozan said before Thursday's Bulls-Hornets game. "To still be playing, all the things I've accomplished in my career, I can't even lie to you, it's a lot of stuff I still don't believe that I've accomplished being from Compton, California, being through all the stuff I've been through, personal(ly), career-wise, just to still be honored as an All-Star is honoring.
"I just hope anybody out there, whatever field you work in, never listen to outside noise of people doubting you, counting you out. As long as you're true to yourself, believe in yourself, you keep putting in the work with a genuine heart and genuine passion, you'll be rewarded."
Similar to last season, DeRozan's spot on this season's All-Star roster is well-deserved. He's currently averaging an impressive 26.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5 assists per contest, shooting 51.1 percent from the field through 47 games this season.
DeRozan slots 15th in scoring in the league, as well as 10th in free throws attempted per game and 17th in free throw percentage.
Like last year, his stats in "clutch" time are at the top of the leaderboard; he averages 4.8 points per game in clutch periods, shooting 47.4 percent down the stretch and a blistering 91.5 percent from the free throw line.
Despite the Bulls experiencing more ebbs than flows this season – by way of a 23-27 record, as of this writing – DeRozan emphatically earned his spot on the All-Star roster.
His coach believes so, too.
"I think he certainly deserves to make it," Billy Donovan said of DeRozan. "In my opinion, it's hard for me, because I get to see him every night. I don't get a chance to watch other guys every night. Just based on the way he's performed every night, certainly, I would think he should be in the game."
DeRozan will join Joel Embiid, Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo, Julius Randle, Jrue Holiday and Tyrese Haliburton as the Eastern Conference reserves. The NBA announced the Eastern Conference All-Star starters last week, naming Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell the starters.
The NBA's All-Star weekend will run Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City.
"It means everything," DeRozan said of the All-Star nod. "Just from me being at the 20,000 point mark, 1,000 games, just everything I've accomplished, I still to this moment don't believe it. I grew up a fan of this game way before it was even possible for me to be in this position. So for me, it's a dream.
"Pretty sure, after the game tonight, as we get this win, I'm gonna lay in bed at some point and be in awe again and reminisce on everything that I've been through in my career."