Miami’s O’Neal is Fifth Player in NBA History Selected to 13 Consecutive All-Star Teams
Yao, Bryant Lead All Players in Voting
EASTERN CONFERENCE F - LeBron James, Cleveland F - Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana C - Shaquille O'Neal, Miami G - Allen Iverson, Philadelphia G - Dwyane Wade, Miami Coach: Flip Saunders, Detroit
WESTERN CONFERENCE F - Tracy McGrady, Houston F - Tim Duncan, San Antonio C - Yao Ming, Houston G - Steve Nash, Phoenix G - Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers Coach: Avery Johnson, Dallas
Yao will start at center for the West for the fourth straight year.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
NEW YORK, Feb. 2, 2006 – Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant led all players in votes received in the NBA All-Star Balloting program that determines starters for the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. Yao (2,342,738), last year’s leading vote-getter, edged out eight-time All-Star Bryant (2,271,631) in the closest finish among the top two vote-getters since the Toronto Raptors’ Vince Carter topped the Miami Heat’s Alonzo Mourning by 33,385 votes in 2000. Yao and Bryant’s voting totals this year place them among the top five all-time single-season All-Star vote-getters.
Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal joins elite company as he was selected to his 13th consecutive All-Star team, surpassed only by Lakers great Jerry West (14; 1961-1974) and Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone (14; 1988-2002). Hall of Famers Bob Cousy (1951-63) and John Havlicek (1966-78) were both selected to 13 consecutive All-Star Teams.
Through the Balloting program, NBA fans from around the globe were responsible for voting in the starters for the 55th NBA All-Star Game, which will be played in Houston on Sunday, Feb. 19. The game will be broadcast live on TNT, Rogers Sportsnet, ESPN Radio and audio in several languages on NBA.com (http://nba.com) at 7 p.m. (CST). Head coaches in each conference will vote to determine the remaining All-Stars in their respective conference, which will be announced Thursday, Feb. 9, on TNT.
Joining Yao as part of the Western Conference starting frontcourt is his Houston Rockets’ teammate Tracy McGrady (1,818,932), appearing in his sixth All-Star Game, and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (1,518,796), who has been selected to every All-Star team since he entered the league in 1997. Joining Bryant at the guard position is the 2004-05 NBA Most Valuable Player and four-time All-Star Steve Nash (1,818,230) of the Phoenix Suns.
The 2003-04 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers led all Eastern Conference players with 2,207,697 votes, followed by Miami’s O’Neal (2,192,542). The Indiana Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal (1,291,836) was second to James among Eastern Conference forwards. Two-time All-Star MVP Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers led Eastern Conference guards (2,062,206), followed by Dwyane Wade (1,499,664) of the Miami Heat.
The 30 head coaches will vote for the remaining members of the All-Star teams in their respective conferences. They must vote for seven players, including two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position and are not permitted to vote for players on their team. After the coaches select the reserves, if a player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select a replacement.
Flip Saunders and the Detroit Pistons (38-6, .864) coaching staff earned the honor of coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars and Avery Johnson and the Dallas Mavericks (36-10, .783) coaching staff will be leading the Western Conference All-Stars. Both teams clinched the best possible winning percentage through games of Feb. 5. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is not eligible to coach in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game because he coached in last year’s All-Star Game.
Through the Balloting program, which ran from Nov. 17, 2005 through Jan. 22, fans had the opportunity to vote in NBA arenas, in 19 languages on the NBA.com Network, in approximately 130 Loews Cineplex Entertainment movie theaters in the United States and through mobile phones at t-zones using T-Mobile service or wap.nba.com for any wireless carrier. This year’s All-Star Balloting partners include T-Mobile, AOL, NBA 2K6, Xbox and retailers GameStop & Electronics Boutique.
NBA All-Star 2006 is a week-long 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.
The leaders of both the Eastern and Western Conference players for the final returns of the 2006 NBA All-Star voting program are attached: