The 2011 NBA All-Stars have been named. There are some new faces in new places, but overall in the end most are the same. There are even some players who will represent a team that has not been represented by a player for a long time.
Derrick Rose, who is playing like a MVP this season, became the first starter for the East All-Stars since Michael Jordan did it in 1998. Rose is averaging 24.6 points per game with 8.1 assist 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals for the Chicago Bulls. He will be starting at the point guard position after beating out Boston Celtics’Rajon Rondo. Rose played in the Rookie/Sophomore game in 2009 his rookie year and was selected to return in 2010, but did not play due to injury.
Amare Stoudemire has been voted to his sixth All-Star game, but this time as a New York Knick. The Knicks have not had a starter since Patrick Ewing did it in 1992. Stoudemire is averaging 26 points a game, 2.7 assist, 9 rebounds, 2.24 blocks and 1 steal a game. He has made the Knicks relevant again pushing them above .500 at 24 – 22 this year, and have them sitting in the number six spot as of right now.
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was the leading vote getter with nearly 2.1 million votes and he is starting for the East for the fourth time in his career but making his fifth All-Star game all together.
Rounding out the East starters are two teammates in LeBron James and Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat. James has won the All-Star MVP two times once in 2006 in Houston, Texas at the Toyota Center and then in 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the New Orleans Arena. This will be the first time that LeBron wll be going to the All-Star game as a Miami Heat player instead of a Cleveland Cavalier. Wade has only won the award once and that was last year when they played in Arlington, Texas at Jerry’s World Cowboys Stadium.
James and Wade received more than 2 million votes from fans, and will become the first set of teammates to start for the East since Wade and O'Neal pulled it off for the Heat in the 2007 All-Star game in Las Vegas.
The Lakers' star Kobe Bryant earned his 13th straight All-Star selection for the game that will be played at his home arena in Los Angeles, California. He is one shy of the record held by Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone. Kobe has won All-Star MVP twice solo once in his home high school town of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2002, and then again in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Thomas & Mack Center in 2007. Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal shared the honor in Phoenix, Arizona 2009 at the US Airways Center.
Also named for the first time is Kevin Durant who is leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a top five finish in the West standing sitting at the number four spot right now. Durant is averaging a league leading 28.6 points per game with 2.9 assist, 6.7 rebounds and 1.07 steals per game. He is the only Thunder player to be named on the All-Star team so far. Durant has been part of the All-Star festivities before playing in the 2008 and 2009 Rookie/Sophomore game, and was Winner of First annual H-O-R-S-E competition sponsored by Geico.Chris Paul was elected for his fourth appearance as an All-Star, but his second as a starter for the first time since 2009. In Hornets history only Larry Johnson(1993) and Eddie Jones(2000) were voted as starters into the All-Star game. Paul is the first Hornet in franchise history to earn the honor twice and also the first to make four all-star appearances.
Carmelo Anthony is making another appearance despite his trade talk. This time may be the last time he suits up for the West if the trade talk go through. Melo is averaging 23.6 points and a career-high 8.0 rebounds helping the Denver Nuggets to still stay relevant through all the trade talk. This is Melo’s fourth All-Star game and his third as a starter.
The fans from China got what they wanted by voting Houston Rockets injured center Yao Ming in for his eighth appearance in the All-Star game. Yao’s fans gave him 1.1 milion votes to put him in this game even though he has only played in five games this season with an average of 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. Yao will be replaced on the roster by a player that Commissioner David Stern will announce in the future.
Fans vote for whom they want to be the starters, but the reserves will be chosen by the head coaches in their respective conferences. Their votes must be submitted to the league office by next Tuesday, and the announcement will come next Thursday night on TNT before their Thursday night double header.
The 2011 All-Star Game will be held in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. The All-Star weekend kicks off February 19 with the Heir Shooting Star Rookie/Sophomore game, then the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest will come before the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest that will feature Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder, JaVale McGee of the of the Washington Wizards, and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors who replaced Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks who is injured.
The weekend will end on Sunday night with the NBA All-Star game being the main event.