NEW YORK, Jan. 27 -– Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, the first overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft, and Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, the first overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft, lead a list of 18 players selected to play in the 2004 got milk? Rookie Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13 in Los Angeles' STAPLES Center.

The participants in the got milk? Rookie Challenge were selected by a panel of 11 former NBA players and coaches who currently work as broadcasters covering the league.


James

Yao
The got milk? Rookie Challenge, which will be broadcast live nationally at 9 p.m. ET by TNT, Rogers Sportsnet and NBA on ESPN Radio, features this year's top rookies against the league's best second-year players. Last year, the Sophomores defeated the Rookies, 132-112, with Gilbert Arenas of the Golden State Warriors earning the Most Valuable Player award.

James is joined on the rookie team by Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors, Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, Jarvis Hayes of the Washington Wizards, Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls, Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks and Chris Kaman of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Yao will be joined on the Sophomore team by Carlos Boozer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, Marko Jaric of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ronald Murray of the Seattle SuperSonics, Nenê of the Denver Nuggets, Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons and 2002-03 got milk? Rookie of the Year, Amaré Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns.

If a rookie or second-year player is selected to play in the All-Star Game on Sunday, he will also play in the got milk? Rookie Challenge on Friday evening.

This year's game features four international players: Yao (China), Ginobili (Argentina), Jaric (Serbia-Montenegro) and Nenê (Brazil).

The 11-member selection panel included Bill Walton and Greg Anthony from ESPN; Doug Collins from TNT; Doc Rivers from ABC; Jack Ramsay of ESPN Radio; Quinn Buckner of Fox Sports Net Midwest, Eddie Johnson of UPN45, Johnny Kerr of Fox Sports Net Chicago, Stu Lantz of Fox Sports Net, Steve Mix of Sixers TV, Jim Petersen of FSN and WFTC-UPN29.

This is the fifth year under the current rookie-versus-sophomore format, with the series knotted at two games a piece. The game will be played in two 20-minute halves, with each team allowed one full timeout and one 20-second timeout per half. Individual foul totals will be kept, but a player can not 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.

For the first time, NBA.com will provide basketball fans with the opportunity to have their vote count toward selecting the MVP of the got milk? Rookie Challenge, as part of the site's exclusive NBA All-Star 2004 coverage.

Tickets to the got milk? Rookie Challenge are priced at $40, and are available at the STAPLES Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com, NBA.com and 1-800-4NBA-TIX.

NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online -- featuring Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk, 989 Sports Skills Challenge and Radio Shack Shooting Stars -- will be broadcast live nationally at 8 p.m. ET by TNT and ESPN Radio. The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15 will be broadcast live nationally on TNT, Rogers Sportsnet, ESPN Radio and audio in multiple languages on NBA.com, from the STAPLES Center at 8 p.m. ET.

The got milk? Milk Mustache campaign is sponsoring the NBA Rookie platform to highlight the importance of milk's bone-building calcium and eight other essential nutrients for active people, teens especially, who add about 15 percent of their height during these years. The platform includes the 'got milk?' Rookie Challenge, the 'got milk?' Rookie of the Month awards, the 'got milk?' Rookie of the Year award and the 'got milk?' All-Rookie Team.

ROOKIE TEAM ROSTER
Player Team Pos. Ht. Wt. College/Country
Carmelo Anthony Denver F 6-8 230 Syracuse
Chris Bosh Toronto F 6-10 225 Georgia Tech
Udonis Haslem Miami F 6-8 230 Florida
LeBron James Cleveland G 6-8 258 St. Vincent-St. Mary HS
Jarvis Hayes Washington G/F 6-7 220 Georgia
Kirk Hinrich Chicago G 6-3 186 Kansas
Josh Howard Dallas F 6-5 210 Wake Forest
Chris Kaman L.A. Clippers C 7-0 268 Central Michigan
Dwyane Wade Miami G 6-4 212 Marquette

SOPHOMORE TEAM ROSTER
Player Team Pos. Ht. Wt. College/Country
Carlos Boozer Cleveland F 6-8 258 Duke
Mike Dunleavy Golden State F 6-8 230 Duke
Manu Ginobili San Antonio F 6-6 210 Argentina
Marko Jaric L.A. Clippers G 6-7 217 Serbia-Montenegro
Ronald Murray Seattle G 6-3 197 Shaw
Nenê Denver F 6-11 260 Brazil
Tayshaun Prince Detroit F 6-9 215 Kentucky
A. Stoudemire Phoenix F 6-10 245 Cypress Creek HS
Yao Ming Houston C 7-5 296 China

PREVIOUS got milk? ROOKIE CHALLENGE RESULTS
1994: Phenoms 74, Sensations 68
1995: White 83, Green 79 (OT)
1996: East 94, West 92
1997: East 96, West 91
1998: East 85, West 80
2000: Rookies 92, Sophomores 81 (OT)
2001: Sophomores 121, Rookies 113
2002: Rookies 103, Sophomores 97
2003: Sophomores 132, Rookies 112