ONeal, Payton, Wade and Walker Highlight The NBA All-Star 2006 ballot
MIAMI, November 18 The NBA announced today that Dwyane Wade Shaquille ONeal, Gary Payton and Antoine Walker will represent the Miami HEAT as All-Star Balloting begins today, giving fans worldwide the opportunity to vote for their favorite players as starters for the 55th NBA All-Star Game. The 2006 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 200 countries, will be held at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Sunday, Feb. 19.
ONeal was runner-up in NBA MVP voting during the 2004-2005 season, after averaging 22.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.34 blocks while shooting a career-high .601 from the field. ONeal helped guide the HEAT to a 59-23 record and a trip to the East Conference Finals. Payton, a nine-time All-Star, is looking to make his first appearance as a member of the HEAT. During his 15-year NBA career, Payton has averaged 17.6 points, 7.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.97 steals. Wade, who was selected to his first All-Star Game in 2005, leads the HEAT in scoring (24.5), assists (7.6) and steals (1.88) per-game average. He also ranks in the top-10 in the NBA in scoring (9th), assists (8th) and double-doubles (t-10th). ONeal, a 12-time All-Star, is looking to make his second-straight All-Star appearance as a member of the HEAT. Walker, a three-time All-Star, is averaging 15.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists this season for the HEAT. Walker ranks eighth in the NBA in three-point field goals made and sixth in three-point field goal attempted.
Fans have the opportunity to vote in NBA arenas, 19 languages on the NBA.com Network, 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 years All-Star balloting partners include T-Mobile USA, X-Box, NBA2K6 and AOL.
NBA All-Star 2006 is a week-long celebration that enables fans to experience the thrill of the worlds greatest athletes playing the game they love and features a full slate of community enhancing activities and fan festivals.
A total of 120 players 60 each from the Eastern and Western Conferences are listed on the NBA All-Star ballot, with 24 guards, 24 forwards and 12 centers from each conference comprising the 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 years panel included Steve Aschburner (Minneapolis Star Tribune/ President, Professional Basketball Writers Association), Ric Bucher (ESPN the Magazine), Ernie Johnson (Turner Sports), Mike Monroe (San Antonio Express News) and Sam Smith (Chicago Tribune).
The 2006 NBA All-Star Balloting program continues through Jan. 22, 2006 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 NBA TV when the Los Angeles Lakers face the Dallas Mavericks