NEW YORK, January 30 – Shaquille O'Neal was named as a National Basketball Association All-Star for the 15th time Thursday as the coach-selected reserves were announced for the midseason exhibition.
O’Neal’s 15 All-Star selections are the second most in league history, trailing only the 19 of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
O’Neal earned the honor with his fourth NBA club. With his current team the Phoenix Suns hosting the event on February 15 it will mark the second time he will take the floor in front of his home fans.
O’Neal is joined on the Western Conference bench by Denver’s Chauncey Billups, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas, San Antonio’s Tony Parker, Portland’s Brandon Roy and David West of New Orleans.
In the Eastern Conference, three first-time selections – Devin Harris of New Jersey, Danny Granger of Indiana and Jameer Nelson of Orlando – are joined by Toronto veteran Chris Bosh, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Orlando’s Rashard Lewis and Boston’s Paul Pierce.
Nelson and Lewis are the lone set of teammates named as reserves and along with Dwight Howard they are the only trio of teammates on either squad.
The 14 reserves selected were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences. They are not allowed to vote for players from their own teams.
The five starters for each squad were selected by fan voting.
The East starters are Boston’s Kevin Garnett, Detroit’s Allen Iverson, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Orlando’s Howard and Miami’s Dwyane Wade.
The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, New Orleans’ Chris Paul, Amar’e Stoudemire of Phoenix and Houston’s Yao Ming, will start for the West.
The selections of Gasol (Spain), Nowitzki (Germany) and Parker (France) along with voted-starters Duncan (US Virgin Islands) and Yao (China), gives the 2009 NBA All-Star Game five international players.
Lakers head coach Phil Jackson will coach the Western Conference, while the Eastern Conference coach has yet to be decided.
If any chosen player is unable to take part in the All-Star game because of injury, NBA Commissioner David Stern will select the replacement.