By Art Garcia, NBA.com
Posted Nov 12 2008 2:54PM
Let the voting begin.
The league unveiled the official 2009 NBA All-Star ballot today at a star-studded happening in Phoenix. The Suns were well represented with Shaquille O'Neal, Amar'e Stoudemire, Grant Hill and Raja Bell among those casting the first ballots for the midseason showcase that returns to Phoenix on Feb. 15.
They chose from a ballot that includes 120 players split evenly between the Eastern and Western Conference. Each side has 24 guards, 24 forwards and 12 centers. Voters can select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference.
Last week's blockbuster Pistons-Nuggets trade did alter the ballot. Online voting does reflect Allen Iverson' move to the East and Chauncey Billups in the West. Paper ballots were printed before the trade, so votes cast for Iverson, Billups or Antonio McDyess will be counted toward their new team and conference.
Voting will continue through Jan. 11 for paper balloting. NBA.com and wireless voting will begin Thursday and continue through Jan. 19.
Also on hand today were Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon and a pair of former players -- Detlef Schrempf and Glen Rice -- who were in Phoenix when the All-Star Game was last played in the Valley of the Sun. Rice took home the 3-Point Shootout title in 1995 and Schrempf played in the game.
|All-Star 2009 FAQ|
|Do you want to purchase tickets to the All-Star game? Want to find out how to volunteer at one of the coolest sporting events around? Find the answers to your questions in this FAQ. Read Full Article|
|Amar'e talks All-Star Game|
|Suns All-Star forward Amar'e Stoudemire talks about what it means to have the 2009 All-Star Game in Phoenix.
|Suns cast their votes|
|Shaq, Grant Hill, Raja Bell and Amar'e Stoudemire cast their votes and it's no surprise their team is stacked with Suns.
The 2009 NBA All-Star Game from US Airways Center will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
The balloting program allows fans around the world to vote daily for the five starters from the West and East. Fans can vote at every NBA arena, in 20 languages on NBA.com, and on T-Mobile phones or wap.nba.com for any wireless carrier.
Fans can also get the word out through a T-Mobile All-Star widget available on NBA.com. The widget can be placed on blogs, social network pages or personal websites to allow others to vote directly from the widget.
As the presenting partner of the All-Star balloting program, T-Mobile will donate $1 for every ballot cast on t-zones and T-Mobile's wireless Web portal to help the youth of Phoenix. It's part of the NBA's season-long effort to better various communities throughout Phoenix.
The week leading up to the 58th NBA All-Star Game features a full slate of community activities and fan festivals, such as NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Feb. 13.
In conjunction with the balloting, 2K Sports is giving fans a chance to win a trip to the All-Star Game through the NBA 2K9 Sweepstakes. The winner will also have their likeness as a digitized player incorporated in next year's NBA 2K10 video game.
The players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media who regularly cover the NBA. This year's panel: Paul Coro (Arizona Republic), Ernie Johnson (TNT), Jack McCallum (Sports Illustrated), David Moore (Dallas Morning News), Marc Spears (Boston Globe) and Marc Stein (ESPN.com).
2009 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOT
|Open Court: Coaches|
The panel talks about the difference between a good coach and a great coach.
|Open Court: Rebounds|
Grant Hill talks about why he always wanted to hit the boards.
|Open Court: Assist|
Isiah Thomas breaks down when you should shoot and when you should pass.
|Open Court: Nice Shot|
The panel debates who shoots the prettiest shot.
|Open Court: Imitation|
The Open Court panel talks about who they imitated when they were growing up.