NEW YORK, Jan. 12 --Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers lead the Western Conference, while Shaquille O’Neal of the Miami Heat and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Eastern Conference in votes received after the third 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 (1,759,574) and Bryant (1,653,770) lead all players in votes received. The Rockets’ Tracy McGrady leads all Western Conference forwards with 1,421,456 votes. The San Antonio Spurs’ Duncan (1,071,115) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Garnett (1,064,512) follow at the forward spot in what is shaping up to be one of the closest position races in NBA history. Bryant and the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash (1,332,848), the 2004-05 NBA Most Valuable Player, lead all Western Conference guards.
O’Neal leads all Eastern Conference players with 1,627,198 votes, followed by James (1,598,649). The Indiana Pacers’ Jermaine O’Neal (931,671) is second to James among Eastern Conference forwards. The MVP of the 2005 NBA All-Star Game, Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers, leads Eastern Conference guards (1,544,496), followed by the Heat’s Dwyane Wade (1,112,792).
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, with one more scheduled update before 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.
The leaders of both the Eastern and Western Conference players for the third 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.