No explaining LeBron's All-Star snub

Updated: February 12, 2004, 8:19 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Jamaal Magloire is an All-Star. LeBron James is not.

Nah, there's nothing wrong with the rules the NBA uses for voting in its All-Star reserves.

Carlisle: 'I voted for LeBron'
LeBron James had at least one All-Star vote from an Eastern Conference coach.

"I voted for James," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said Tuesday before the Pacers-Knicks game in New York.

Carlisle, after some prodding from inquisitive members of the media, revealed that he cast one of his seven votes for James. Carlisle also had one of his former Detroit players on his ballot -- Chauncey Billups.

"I had a hard time voting this year," Carlisle said. "Position-wise, it was a little skewed. LeBron James, I felt, was right there."
— Joe Lago

East coaches, for once, can't get fired for this catastrophe. Don't blame them too much. They were simply following the guidelines passed down from the league office that required the selection of a legitimate center to back up East starter Ben Wallace. Which boiled down to a choice between Magloire and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, taking away a roster spot from the worthiest Cav.

Yup. LeBron got bumped, with the coaches preferring to fill the rest of the roster with more veteran types: Michael Redd (no-brainer), Baron Davis (wisely), Jason Kidd (understandable) and Paul Pierce (debatable).

The West, meanwhile, accounted for the biggest All-Star surprise. The coaches over there selected Ray Allen as a reserve guard instead of Mike Bibby, Gary Payton, Steve Nash or Michael Finley.

Can't argue on production: Allen would be the no-brainer choice alongside Sam Cassell had he played all season. Allen, though, has played just 21 of Seattle's 46 games because of an ankle injury. Using similar math, East coaches would have undoubtedly selected Stephon Marbury -- the only reason Marbury got no consideration from us is the fact he has only played 14 games as a Knick.

Oh yeah. If you're wondering what happened to Carmelo Anthony, you shouldn't be. If LeBron didn't make it in the easy East, 'Melo was going to miss out in the mighty West.

The consolation? Guess that first-ever Friday night Rookie Game will mean something after all.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

ALSO SEE