Kobe Bryant heads the vote getters for this season’s NBA All Star Game – and will make a record 15th consecutive appearance in the mid-season showpiece in Houston next month.The Los Angeles Lakers guard edged the Miami Heat’s LeBron James (1,583,646) as this year’s leading vote-getter in the 2013 NBA All-Star Balloting Bryant breaks a tie for most appearances with Jerry West, Karl Malone, and Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive NBA All-Star selections. A four-time NBA All-Star MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011), Bryant holds the distinction as the youngest All-Star in NBA history (1998). In last year’s All-Star Game in Orlando, he passed Michael Jordan as the game’s all-time scoring leader.
Bryant’s partner at the guard position in the Western Conference starting lineup is the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul (929,155). The West’s starting frontcourt features the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (1,504,047), the reigning Kia NBA All-Star MVP, the Lakers’ Dwight Howard (922,070), and the Clippers’ Blake Griffin (863,832).
Joining James, a two-time All-Star MVP (2006, 2008), in the Eastern Conference frontcourt are the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (1,460,950) and the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (553,222), the 2003 Kia NBA All-Star MVP. The East guards are the Heat’s Dwyane Wade (1,052,310), the 2010 Kia NBA All-Star MVP, and the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo (924,180), who earns his first All-Star Game start. Garnett’s selection, his 15th, ties him with Bryant and O’Neal for the second-most All-Star Game nods in league annals. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was elected to 19 games.
In selecting the reserves, the 30 NBA head coaches must vote for seven players within their conference, including two guards, three frontcourt players and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their team. After the coaches select the reserves, if a player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select a replacement. Reserves will be announced on January 24.
Great Britain international Luol Deng gained 130,744 votes, 12th among all frontcourt players in the East.
The East and West All-Star coaches and coaching staffs will be determined by the best record in the conference through games played February 3. Thunder coach Scott Brooks and the Chicago Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, by virtue of having served as head coaches in the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando, are not eligible to coach in this year’s game.
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