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Thursday January 22, 2009 9:54 PM

Yao Ming Named All-Star Starter


Rockets center earns starting nod for seventh straight year

Tim Kuck
National Basketball Association

New York - Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, this year’s leading  vote-getter  in  the  NBA  All-Star Balloting program presented by T-Mobile with 3,150,181 votes, became the first player in balloting history to  crack  the  3  million-vote  ceiling.   Howard, who is making his third All-Star  appearance, will start as the Eastern Conference’s center for the second time in his career.

Through  the  2009  NBA  All-Star  Balloting  program,  fans worldwide were
responsible  for  voting  in  the  starters for the 58th NBA All-Star Game,
which  will be played in Phoenix on Sunday, Feb. 15. The game will air live
(8  p.m.  ET)  on  TNT,  ESPN  Radio  and  in  more  than 200 countries and
territories worldwide.  The NBA All-Star Game was played in Phoenix in both
1975 and 1995.

Four  other  starters  for  this  year’s  All-Star Game  each eclipsed the previous  record  of  2,558,278  votes  received  by  Houston’s Yao Ming in 2004-05:  Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (2,940,823), Los Angeles
guard Kobe Bryant (2,805,397), Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (2,741,413) and
San Antonio forward Tim Duncan (2,578,168).

Joining  Howard,  James  and Wade in the Eastern Conference starting lineup
are  Boston  Celtics  forward  Kevin  Garnett  (2,066,833), last year’s top
vote-getter  and  the  2003  All-Star  MVP, and Detroit Pistons guard Allen
Iverson,  the  2001  and 2005 All-Star Game MVP. James, who was the leading
vote-getter  in 2006-07 as well as the 2006 and 2008 All-Star Game MVP, and
Wade  each  will  make his fifth midseason classic appearance. Iverson will
appear  in  his  ninth  All-Star Game. Among active players, Garnett’s 12th
All-Star  selection  ranks  second  to Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal
(14).

Bryant,  the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998 as well as a two-time
All-Star  Game  MVP  (2002,  2007),  and  Duncan,  who  is  making his 11th
appearance  and  was  the  co-MVP  along  with Shaquille O’Neal of the 2000
All-Star  Game, are joined in the Western Conference starting lineup by New
Orleans  Hornets  guard Chris Paul (2,134,798), Phoenix Suns forward Amar’e
Stoudemire  (1,460,429)  and  Houston  Rockets center Yao Ming (2,532,958).
Paul  will make his second All-Star Game appearance; Stoudemire his fourth;
and Yao his sixth.

In  selecting  the  reserves, the 30 NBA head coaches NBA head coaches must
vote  for  seven players within their conference, including two guards, two
forwards,  a center and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not
permitted  to  vote for players on their team. After the coaches select the
reserves,  if  a  player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game, NBA
Commissioner David Stern will select a replacement.

Los  Angeles  Lakers  Head Coach Phil Jackson and the Lakers coaching staff
earned the honor to coach the Western Conference All-Stars by clinching the
best  winning  percentage  in  the  conference through games of Feb. 1. The
Eastern Conference Coach is yet to be determined. Last year’s East All-Star
coach – Boston’s Doc Rivers – is not eligible to coach this year.

Howard,  James,  Bryant,  Wade,  Duncan  and  the  rest  of year's All-Star
participants will join members of the NBA Family for the NBA Cares All-Star
Day  of  Service on Friday, Feb. 13. The volunteers will participate in one
of three projects in the Phoenix community.

As  the  presenting partner of the 2009 NBA All-Star Balloting program, and
in   support  of  the  NBA’s  season-long  effort  to  better  the  various
communities  in  Phoenix,  T-Mobile will donate $1 for every ballot cast on
t-zones,  T-Mobile's wireless Web portal, to help the youth of Phoenix. The
week  leading up to the 58th 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. 13.

In  conjunction  with  All-Star  Balloting,  2K  Sports  will give fans the
opportunity  to  experience  Phoenix and the best of basketball by entering
the NBA 2K9 Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to NBA All-Star 2009 and
to  have  their  likeness as a digitized player incorporated in next year’s
game, NBA 2K10.

NBA  All-Star  2009  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 such as NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas.

           Eastern Conference             Western Conference
           F – Kevin Garnett, Boston      F – Tim Duncan, San Antonio
           F – LeBron James, Cleveland    F – Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix
           C – Dwight Howard, Orlando     C – Yao Ming, Houston
           G – Allen Iverson, Detroit     G – Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
           G – Dwyane Wade, Miami         G – Chris Paul, New Orleans
           Head coach: TBD                Head coach: Phil Jackson, L.A.
           Lakers

                    2009 NBA ALL-STAR FINAL BALLOTING
                           EASTERN CONFERENCE
Forwards:  LeBron James (Clev) 2,940,823; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 2,066,833; Yi
Jianlian  (NJ)  1,813,829;  Paul  Pierce  (Bos) 1,238,763; Chris Bosh (Tor)
1,101,052;  Hedo  Turkoglu (Orl) 632,051; Shawn Marion (Mia) 405,573; Danny
Granger  (Ind)  365,810;  Josh  Smith  (Atl) 321,129; Tayshaun Prince (Det)
274,540; Michael Beasley (Mia) 273,471.

Guards:  Dwyane  Wade (Mia) 2,741,413; Allen Iverson (Det) 1,804,649; Vince
Carter  (NJ)  1,239,613;  Devin  Harris  (NJ) 1,182,406; Luke Ridnour (Mil)
1,039,902;  Ray Allen (Bos) 851,205; Gilbert Arenas (Wash) 635,540; Derrick
Rose (Chi) 474,384; Jose Calderon (Tor) 445,584; Joe Johnson (Atl) 420,210;
Jameer Nelson (Orl) 354,773.

Centers:  Dwight  Howard  (Orl)  3,150,181; Kendrick Perkins (Bos) 621,709;
Rasheed Wallace (Det) 402,991; Samuel Dalembert (Phi) 396,119; Andrew Bogut
(Mil)  357,997;  Jermaine  O’Neal  (Tor) 342,723; Al Horford (Atl) 323,302;
Brendan  Haywood  (Wash)  291,490;  Ben  Wallace  (Clev)  263,862; Zydrunas
Ilgauskas (Cle) 219,697; Emeka Okafor (Char) 212,539.

                    2009 NBA ALL-STAR FINAL BALLOTING
                           WESTERN CONFERENCE
Forwards:  Tim  Duncan  (SA)  2,578,168; Amar’e Stoudemire (Pho) 1,460,429;
Bruce  Bowen  (SA)  1,392,398;  Ron Artest (Hou) 1,362,565; Carmelo Anthony
(Den)  1,337,519;  Dirk  Nowitzki (Dal) 1,107,926; Pau Gasol (LAL) 948,301;
Shane  Battier  (Hou)  694,112; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 497,550; Luis Scola
(Hou) 405,851; Josh Howard (Dal) 298,810.

Guards:  Kobe  Bryant  (LAL)  2,805,397;  Chris  Paul (NO) 2,134,798; Tracy
McGrady  (Hou)  1,678,516;  Manu  Ginobili (SA) 1,642,350; Tony Parker (SA)
1,084,361;  Steve  Nash  (Pho)  677,211; Jamal Crawford (GS) 665,038; Rafer
Alston  (Hou) 550,199; Jason Kidd (Dal) 477,792; Brandon Roy (Por) 468,688;
Chauncey Billups (Den) 466,073.

Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 2,532,958; Shaquille O’Neal (Pho) 1,850,018; Andrew
Bynum  (LAL)  549,131; Mehmet Okur (Utah) 437,106; Greg Oden (Por) 359,318;
Andris  Biedrins  (GS) 357,984; Al Jefferson (Minn) 310,643; Tyson Chandler
(NO)  242,356;  Chris Kaman (LAC) 231,928; Marcus Camby (LAC) 158,491; Nick
Collison (OKC) 154,309.