<
>

Garnett, Kobe, Iverson headline All-Star starters roster

1/24/2008 - NBA

NEW YORK -- With a late rally, Allen Iverson is an All-Star
starter again.

Iverson surged from behind in the fan voting to earn a starting
spot in next month's game when the vote totals were released
Thursday night. Denver Nuggets teammate Carmelo Anthony will join
him in New Orleans after earning his first starting nod.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant will team with Iverson in the Western
Conference backcourt. Houston center Yao Ming was voted in by the
fans for the sixth straight season at center, while San Antonio's
Tim Duncan was chosen as the other forward. He has been selected to
every All-Star Game since entering the league in 1997.

Boston's Kevin Garnett, the MVP of the 2003 game, was the
leading vote-getter with 2,399,148 votes. He will be joined in the
East frontcourt by Cleveland forward LeBron James and Orlando
center Dwight Howard, a first-time starter. Miami's Dwyane Wade and
New Jersey guard Jason Kidd round out the starting lineup.

Iverson rallied to pass Houston's Tracy McGrady in the final
weeks of voting to earn his first start since moving to the Western
Conference early last season. He started seven straight All-Star
Games while playing for Philadelphia, but fell short last year
after the 76ers dealt him to the Nuggets in December 2006.

The two-time MVP of the All-Star Game beat McGrady by 10,410
votes and will make his ninth appearance on Feb. 17 in New Orleans.

"It's a good feeling. I think it's a tribute to my teammates
and coaching staff because without those guys none of that would be
possible," Iverson said in a statement. "But most of all I just
want to thank the fans for appreciating what I go out and do on the
court night in and night out. It's just a great feeling and an
honor, and I'm just looking forward to trying to play the best that
I can play for the fans."

Garnett, another perennial starter, also will experience the
game from the other conference.

The Boston forward will appear in his 11th straight All-Star
Game, second among active players to Shaquille O'Neal's 14, and
ninth start. The longtime Minnesota Timberwolves star is a leading
MVP candidate at midseason for the impact he has made on the
Celtics, who own the NBA's best record at 33-7 after winning only
24 games last season.

Iverson was more than 80,000 votes behind McGrady, who has
struggled with injuries this season, when the final update was
released two weeks ago. He ended up with 1,203,152 votes. McGrady
finished with 1,192,742.

James, the MVP of the 2006 game and the leading vote-getter last
season, was second overall with 2,108,831 votes. He said he never
looks at getting selected as tiresome.

"It's always exciting because the fans vote you in. They vote
me in as a starter every year," James said. "Without the fans
there's no us. They dream about having all these guys out on the
court at the same time. It's their opportunity to get that. It's
always special."

The coaches from each conference will choose the reserves, who
will be announced next Thursday.