Chicago Bulls ace Luol Deng has become the first British basketball player to earn his place in the NBA All Star game that takes place on Sunday February 26 in Orlando, Florida.
The Great Britain ace will join the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and fellow Bulls teammate Derrick Rose at the NBA’s showpiece midseason event.
The starters to the Eastern and Western Conference teams were voted by fans across the world. The reserves were subsequently selected by the 30 NBA head coaches.
Selected to start in the East were Derrick Rose (Bulls), LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), and Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic). Rounding off the East squad are Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks), and Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets).
Voted to start for the West were Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum (Los Angeles Lakers), Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), and Kevin Durant (Thunder). The Western Conference reserves feature LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder). The contingent of four European players is a record: Deng (UK), Gasol (Spain), Nowitzki (Germany) and Parker (France).
This season’s event will feature five first-time All-Stars. On the other end of the spectrum, Bryant ties Jerry West, Karl Malone, and Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive All-Star nods in NBA history with 14.
NBA Commissioner David Stern will select the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game. If the injured player is a starter, the head coach of that team will determine who replaces him in the starting lineup.
The 14 players selected -- seven each from the Eastern and Western Conferences -- were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences -- two guards, two forwards, one center and two players regardless of position. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.
The East and West All-Star coaches and coaching staffs will be determined by the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 15. The Celtics’ Doc Rivers and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich coached the East and West All-Stars, respectively, last season and are therefore ineligible for the honour this year.
NBA All-Star 2012 in Orlando will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for a 10th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports' 28th year of All-Star coverage. NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm will feature the Haier Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk. Other events at NBA All-Star 2012 will include the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, and NBA All-Star Jam Session. Orlando also hosted NBA All-Star in 1992.