NEW YORK, Dec. 15 --Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Western Conference, while LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Shaquille O’Neal of the Miami Heat lead the Eastern Conference in votes received after the first returns of the 2006 NBA All-Star Balloting program.
Through the 2006 NBA All-Star Balloting program, NBA fans from around the globe are 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).
Yao leads all players with 729,178 votes. The Houston Rockets’ Tracy McGrady leads all Western Conference forwards with 600,507 votes, followed by Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Garnett (469,497). Bryant (664,744) and the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash (562,846), the 2004-05 NBA Most Valuable Player, lead all Western Conference guards.
James leads all Eastern Conference players with 665,849 votes, followed by O’Neal (646,085). The Indiana Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal (387,893) is second to James among Eastern Conference forwards. The MVP of the 2005 NBA All-Star Game, Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers, leads all Eastern Conference guards (638,999), followed by the Heat’s Dwyane Wade (479,774).
Through the 2006 NBA All-Star Balloting program, which began on Nov. 17, fans have 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 2006 NBA All-Star Balloting program continues through Jan. 22, and updated results for the Eastern and Western Conferences will be issued regularly leading up to the unveiling of the All-Star starters Thursday Feb. 2 prior to a TNT doubleheader. Following the completion of fan voting and the starting line-up announcement, the 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.
Fans can watch nine of the top vote-getters at their positions from each conference compete in this year’s Christmas day doubleheader on ABC including: San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker; Detroit’s Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace; the L.A. Lakers’ Bryant; and Miami’s O’Neal and Wade. The Spurs take on the Pistons at 12:30 p.m. ET followed by the Lakers visiting the Heat at 3 p.m. ET.
The leaders of both the Eastern and Western Conference players for the first returns of the 2006 NBA All-Star voting program are attached:
* The New Orleans/Oklahoma City – Milwaukee trade involving Jamaal Magloire was completed after the media panel’s deadline for selecting the ballot and therefore Magloire is listed on the ballot as a member of his prior team. For tabulation purposes, Magloire’s votes will be counted towards the Eastern Conference totals.