Nash, Stoudemire Named All-Star Starters
PHOENIX — For just the second time in franchise history, two Phoenix Suns will start the NBA All-Star Game, as guard Steve Nash and center Amar’e Stoudemire were today named Western Conference starters for the league’s 2010 showcase game in Dallas, the NBA has announced.
Nash (1,222,235 votes, second-most among Western Conference guards) and Stoudemire (1,824,493 votes, most among West centers) will become just the second pair of teammates in franchise history to start an All-Star Game and the first since Ring of Honor members Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle in 1995.
Nash garners his seventh career All-Star nod (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), fifth as a Sun, and will make his second career start, both of which have come in a Suns’ uniform (2006). Stoudemire will make his second consecutive All-Star start, his fifth career appearance in the NBA’s showcase game overall (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009) and his fourth-straight. In doing so, both Nash and Stoudemire will become just the second and third players in franchise history to earn five or more All-Star berths with Phoenix, joining Ring of Honor member and all-time leader Walter Davis (6).
"It would be a huge honor to be there," Nash said, "I am extremely humbled by the recognition and happy for my teammates because they share in any success we have individually for sure."
"For me to go back to Dallas as an All-Star, especially when I was a few steps from my grave (laughs), would be precious. And I loved my time there. It was an important six years of my career and my life. It was very impressionable and I would enjoy the chance to go back as an All-Star."
Nash, who is currently enjoying the greatest statistical season for a point guard 35 years of age or older in NBA history, is averaging 18.6 points (27th-NBA, 2nd-Suns) and a team-best 11.2 assists (2nd) in helping to make the Suns the league’s highest scoring team for the fifth time in the last six seasons (109.9). Nash is on pace to shoot better than 50 percent from the field (53.8, 15th), 40 percent from three-point range (42.7, 10th) and 90 percent from the free-throw line (career-high, franchise-record and NBA-best 94.2) for the fourth time in his career (2006, 2008, 2009). Larry Bird is the only other NBA player who has even done so twice. The two-time NBA MVP is just three assists shy of passing Rod Strickland (7,987) for 8th on the league’s all-time assist list and just 15 assists from becoming only the seventh player in NBA history with 14,000 points and 8,000 assists.
Stoudemire will become just the fifth Sun to make consecutive All-Star starts and the first since Jason Kidd in 2000 and 2001 (Barkley-4, Paul Westphal-3, Connie Hawkins-2, Kidd-2). Phoenix’s leading scorer for the fourth-straight season, Stoudemire is averaging 21.0 points (13th-NBA) and a team-best 8.7 rebounds (23rd) in 2009-10, the sixth-straight campaign he has averaged at least 20 and eight (excluding 2005-06 in which he played three games). On Jan. 16, the eight-year pro became the fastest (475 games) and youngest (27 years, 60 days) player in franchise history to record 10,000 points in a Phoenix uniform and just the sixth overall. Stoudemire, who owns a team-best 25 efforts of 20 or more points in 2009-10, has scored at least 26 points in 12 games this season, matching his total from all of 2008-09.
The 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, before an expected crowd of more than 80,000 – the largest group ever to witness a live basketball game—on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010.