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Bulls forward Taj Gibson named as T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam participant

Assistant Coaches Include NBA All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, TNT NBA Analyst Steve Kerr, and NBA TV/TNT Analyst Kevin McHale

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2011 – Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, the reigning T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, and Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin, the only player in the NBA averaging at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, lead a list of 18 players selected for the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam to be held on Friday, Feb. 18, in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star 2011.

The participants in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot.

Joining Evans on the Sophomore team are: San Antonio Spurs center DeJuan Blair, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Serge Ibaka, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews.

Washington Wizards guard John Wall, the top selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, joins Griffin on the Rookie team, which also includes: Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, New Jersey Nets forward Derrick Favors, New York Knicks guard Landry Fields, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson, Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe, and San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal.

Last year in Dallas, the Rookies won for the first time since 2002. Sacramento’s Evans earned T-Mobile Rookie Challenge MVP honors after recording 26 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Rookies’ 140-128 win.

The head coaches for the Rookie and Sophomore teams will be the lead assistants from the 2011 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The San Antonio Spurs coaching staff earned the right to lead the West All-Stars last week; assistant coach Mike Budenholzer will lead the Rookie team. The East coaching staff will be determined by the best record in each conference through games played Feb. 6.

Assistant coaches for the Rookies are All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks and NBA TV/TNT analyst Kevin McHale. The assistant coaches for the Sophomores are All-Star Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets and TNT NBA basketball analyst Steve Kerr.

The T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while NBA.com will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages.

The T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam began its current format pitting the Rookies against the Sophomores in 2000 and the Sophomores hold an 8-3 advantage over the first-year players. The game will be played in two 20-minute halves. Individual foul totals will be kept, but a player cannot foul out. A team will be in the penalty situation after 10 team fouls or after the second foul in the final two minutes of each half. In the event of a tie game, there will be a two-minute overtime to determine the winner. The clock will stop after each successful field goal in the last minute of each half.

As title partner of the Rookie Challenge and overall NBA Rookie Program, T-Mobile has teamed up with the NBA and NBA Cares to create the T-Mobile All-Stars, a program offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Los Angeles students to experience NBA All-Star 2011. This is the fifth consecutive year that T-Mobile has partnered with the NBA to bring the T-Mobile All Stars program to the NBA All-Star host city. By successfully completing academic, school attendance, and community service requirements, nearly 3,500 students ages 11-15, from the Los Angeles Unified School District and After School All-Stars program will watch the game from the best seats in the house at the STAPLES Center.

T-Mobile also will provide basketball fans with the opportunity to have their vote count toward selecting the MVP of the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam by voting on NBA.com or via SMS on mobile phones during the second half of the game.

NBA All-Star brings together the top NBA players and performers for a week of competition, community service and world-class entertainment. Among the many other exciting All-Star events are Sprite Slam Dunk, Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Haier Shooting Stars and NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas.

Building upon its already strong appeal to the nation’s youth and as Official Partner of the NBA, T-Mobile is showcasing the NBA’s youngest players -- the Rookies -- through the T-Mobile Rookie Program. Highlights include the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, an All-Star competition between NBA rookies and second-year players, and rookie awards presentations including the T-Mobile Rookie of the Month and T-Mobile Rookie of the Year. To learn more about T-Mobile’s partnership with the NBA, visit www.t-mobile.com/nba.

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