NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2007 – Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Eastern Conference, while Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets lead Western Conference players after the first returns of 2008 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by T-Mobile. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant leads all Western Conference players.

The 57th NBA All-Star Game will be played in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 17. The game will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

While Garnett leads all players with 735,664 votes, Cleveland’s James – the 2007 top vote recipient – follows Garnett at the forward spot in the East with 597,768 votes, the second-highest overall tally. The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard leads Eastern Conference centers (596,187), with the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (470,921) and the New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd (342,468) pacing the conference’s guards.

Bryant leads all Western Conference players with 569,302 votes, with the Houston Rockets’ Tracy McGrady following him at guard (388,959). Denver’s Anthony (482,127) is second to Bryant among Western Conference players and is followed at forward by the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki (443,117). The Rockets’ Yao Ming leads Western Conference centers (439,125).

The 2008 NBA All-Star Balloting program, which also includes partners 2K Sports and GameStop, allows fans worldwide to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for the All-Star Game in a variety of ways, including: at each NBA arena; in 20 languages on NBA.com; at more than 1,500 T-Mobile-owned retail locations with custom T-Mobile All-Star ballots and ballot boxes; and through mobile phones at t-zones on T-Mobile phones or wap.nba.com for any wireless carrier. For the first time, an All-Star Balloting widget is available on NBA.com. Fans can "grab" the widget and place it on their blogs, social network pages, or personal Web sites allowing others to vote directly from the widget. Select NBA arenas are also carrying a Spanish-language version of the ballot. Voting will continue through Jan. 13, for paper balloting and Jan. 20, for NBA.com balloting.

NBA All-Star 2008 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 including the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service and fan festivals such as NBA All-Star Jam Session.

One hundred twenty players – 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences – are listed on the NBA All-Star ballot. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference. The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media experts who regularly cover the NBA. This year’s panel included Ric Bucher (ESPN the Magazine), Rick Bonnell (Charlotte Observer), David Dupree (USA Today), Ernie Johnson (TNT), Jack McCallum (Sports Illustrated), Mike Monroe (San Antonio Express-News) and Sam Smith (Chicago Tribune).

Updated results for the Eastern and Western Conferences will be issued regularly leading up to the announcement of the All-Star starters on Thursday Jan. 24, 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, Jan. 31 prior to a TNT doubleheader.

As the presenting partner of the 2008 NBA All-Star Balloting program, and in support of the NBA’s season-long effort to help the on-going rebuilding of New Orleans, T-Mobile will donate $1 for every ballot cast in T-Mobile-owned retail locations or on t-zones to the New Orleans Recovery School District. The week leading up to the 57th NBA All-Star Game will feature a full slate of community-enhancing activities and fan festivals, such as NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 14.

In conjunction with All-Star Balloting, 2K Sports will give fans the chance to experience New Orleans and the best of basketball by entering the Official Balloting NBA 2K8 All-Star Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to NBA All-Star 2008 and to have their likeness as a digitized player incorporated in next year’s game, NBA 2K9. As part of the grand prize, GameStop, the video game retailer, will offer a shopping spree. GameStop will also promote balloting throughout its 4,800 locations by utilizing in-store point-of-purchase materials.

The leaders of both the Eastern and Western Conference players for the first returns of the 2008 NBA All-Star voting program are attached:

2008 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING EASTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: Kevin Garnett (Bos) 735,664; LeBron James (Clev) 597,768; Chris Bosh (185,294); Paul Pierce (Bos) 164,346; Yi Jianlian (Mil) 98,507; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 73,781; Rashard Lewis (Orl) 70,737; Tayshaun Prince (Det) 63,787; Caron Butler (Wash) 55,796; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 52,734.

Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 470,921; Jason Kidd (NJ) 343,468; Vince Carter (NJ) 277,705; Ray Allen (Bos) 270,114; Gilbert Arenas (Wash) 256,994; Chauncey Billups (Det) 125,202; Michael Redd (Mil) 101,942; Andre Iguodala (Phi) 70,476; Richard Hamilton (Det) 66,617; T.J. Ford (Tor) 58,894.

Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 596,187; Shaquille O'Neal (Mia) 282,727; Rasheed Wallace (Det) 69,331; Ben Wallace (Chi) 68,871; Jermaine O'Neal (Ind) 53,107; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 39,764; Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Clev) 27,814; Emeka Okafor (Cha) 27,040; Eddy Curry (NY) 19,494; Zaza Pachulia (Atl) 19,210. .

2008 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING WESTERN CONFERENCE

Forwards: Carmelo Anthony (Den) 482,127; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 443,117; Tim Duncan (SA) 423,608; Carlos Boozer (Utah) 175,248; Shawn Marion (Pho) 154,641; Josh Howard (Dal) 146,909; Kevin Durant (Sea) 113,314; Luis Scola (Hou) 101,981; Shane Battier (Hou) 95,757; Grant Hill (Pho) 83,544.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 569,302; Tracy McGrady (Hou) 388,959; Steve Nash (Pho) 317,091; Allen Iverson (Den) 292,565; Manu Ginobili (SA) 141,891; Jason Terry (Dal) 121,397; Tony Parker (SA) 117,881; Chris Paul (NO) 110,688; Jerry Stackhouse (Dal) 103,307; Baron Davis (GS) 100,422.

Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 439,125; Amaré Stoudemire (Pho) 286,401; Erick Dampier (Dal) 101,878; Marcus Camby (Den) 94,473; Pau Gasol (Mem) 73,461; Mehmet Okur (Utah) 51,017; Chris Kaman (LAC) 40,256; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 35,601; Tyson Chandler (NO) 32,595; Andris Biedrins (GS) 29,026.