Wade makes first team for first time

5/13/2009 - NBA

LeBron James, the NBA's Most Valuable Player, was a unanimous choice for the 2008-09 All-NBA first team, announced Wednesday.

It was the second straight All-NBA first-team selection for James, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a franchise-best 66-16 regular-season record and finished second in the NBA scoring race with 28.4 points per game. He was also among league leaders with 1.69 steals per game (eighth) and 7.2 assists per game (10th), as well as 7.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said of James, who in addition to winning MVP finished second in voting for best defensive player. "It comes with being the MVP. He's proven he can do it all."

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando's Dwight Howard, Miami's Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas were also named to the first team, with Wade being chosen for the first time in his career. It was Bryant's seventh first-team selection and fourth in a row.

Named to the second team were Chris Paul of New Orleans and Portland's Brandon Roy at guard, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Boston's Paul Pierce at forward, and Houston's Yao Ming at center.

On the third team were Denver's Chauncey Billups and San Antonio's Tony Parker at guard, Denver's Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers' Pau Gasol at forward, and Shaquille O'Neal of the Phoenix Suns at center.

Wade led the NBA in scoring with 30.2 points per game and was second in steals (1.7 spg) and eighth in assists (6.7 apg), leading the Heat back to the NBA playoffs. He became only the fifth player in league history to amass 2,000 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in a single season, as well as the only player under 6-foot-4 with 100 blocks in a season since it became an official statistic in 1973-74.

Bryant, the 2007-08 MVP, led the Lakers to a Western Conference-best 65-17 mark and finished third in the league in scoring. Among active players, only Duncan (nine) and O'Neal (eight) have more first-team selections.

Howard, who made the first team for a second straight season, led the NBA with 13.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, becoming only the fourth player to lead the league in both categories since blocks became an official stat.

Nowitzki, named to his fourth All-NBA first team, was the NBA's fourth-leading scorer with 25.9 points per game and was seventh in free throw percentage at .890. He finished the season by scoring at least 20 points in 25 straight games -- the longest 20-plus points streak in the NBA this season.

"This is a great honor and means that you have played solid basketball for the whole season," Nowitzki said. "This is about being consistent and helping the team night in and night out."

A panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters from the United States and Canada chose the teams.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.