NEW YORK, Jan. 29 --Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors received the most votes (2,127,183) in the NBA All-Star Balloting program that determines starters for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. Carter and Hall of Famer Julius Erving both have led the league in voting four times, trailing only Michael Jordan, who set the all-time NBA mark by leading the league nine times.
For the second year in a row, Vince Carter and Co. will wear uniforms created just for the All-Star Game.
Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images
Through the 2004 All-Star NBA Balloting program, NBA fans from around the globe were responsible for voting in the starters for the 53rd NBA All-Star Game which will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 15. A total of 5.3 million ballots were cast, representing more than 40 million player votes, a 16 percent increase from last year’s totals.
The 2004 NBA All-Star Game will be telecast live on TNT at 8 p.m. (ET) and broadcast globally to 212 countries.
In the Western Conference, Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett led the conference with 1,780,918 votes. He is joined in the West’s starting lineup by San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (1,681,435) at forward, and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (1,759,717) and Houston’s Steve Francis (976,841) at guard.
In the closest race of this year’s voting, Houston’s Yao Ming (1,484,531) narrowly edged the Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal (1,453,286) for the West's starting center position. While O’Neal received more electronic votes from fans around the world, Yao defeated O’Neal by outpacing him on paper ballots that were distributed in-arena, at movie theatres and at retail stores where balloting was available in the United States and Canada.
Garnett has been selected to his seventh NBA All-Star Game; Bryant and Duncan to their sixth; Carter and Iverson to their fifth; McGrady his fourth; Francis and O’Neal to their third; and Wallace and Yao will be making their second appearance.
The 29 head coaches will vote for the remaining members of the All-Star teams in their respective conferences, and their selections will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Coaches must vote for seven players in order of preference but are not allowed to vote for players from their team. The selections must include two guards, two forwards and a center. Two other players are chosen regardless of position. Also, if any player cannot participate in the All-Star Game, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select a replacement after the coaches select reserves.
Rick Carlisle of the Indiana Pacers will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars and Flip Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves will be on the sideline representing the Western Conference. Head coaches for the East and West All-Star teams are based on the teams with the best winning percentage in each conference following the Sunday games played two weeks prior to the All-Star Game. Both Indiana and Minnesota clinched the best winning percentage prior to Feb. 1.
For the second year in a row, NBA All-Stars will wear uniforms created just for the game. Last year, NBA All-Stars wore “Retro” uniforms from the 1988 All-Star Game, but this year the All-Stars will be outfitted in newly designed uniforms from Reebok – created specifically for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game.
NBA.com will provide basketball fans with the opportunity to have their vote count toward selecting the MVP of the 53rd NBA All-Star Game, as a part of the site's exclusive NBA All-Star 2004 coverage.
Through the 2004 NBA All-Star Balloting program, which ran from Nov. 13, 2003 through Jan. 18, 2004, fans had the opportunity to vote in more ways than ever. NBA All-Star Balloting expanded this season to include 17 languages on the NBA.com Network, downloadable ballots via Verizon Wireless and voting at Loews Cineplex Entertainment movie theaters along with Foot Locker, Circuit City and Champs Sports locations throughout the United States. Sprite, America Online, Champs Sports, Reebok and 989 Sports also returned as balloting partners this year. These outlets were in addition to ballots that were distributed in all 28 NBA arenas. The balloting partners provided links to the NBA.com All-Star Ballot from their home pages.
In addition to TNT’s coverage, Rogers Sportsnet will broadcast live from STAPLES Center as will ESPN Radio at 8 p.m. (ET). The NBA All-Star Game will also be available in several languages on NBA.com.
NBA All-Star 2004 is a weeklong celebration that enables fans to experience the thrill of the world’s greatest athletes playing the game they love and features a full slate of community enhancing activities and fan festivals.