DENVER Six reserves earn first All-Star spot
Coaches rewarded young players on over-achieving teams.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Dwyane Wade, Manu Ginobili, Gilbert Arenas and Rashard Lewis are NBA All-Stars. Jason Kidd and Steve Francis are not -- nor are any members of the Sacramento Kings.
Six first-timers were among the selections Tuesday, when the NBA announced the reserves for the Feb. 20 game in Denver.
The league's 30 coaches chose the reserves, rewarding several young players whose teams have exceeded expectations.
The Phoenix Suns will be sending Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, while the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and Seattle SuperSonics are sending two players apiece.
"I'm thrilled, I'm excited, I'm very happy that in my second year I'm an All-Star," said Wade, the Miami Heat guard having a breakout season playing alongside the game's most dominant big man, Shaquille O'Neal.
"To Shaq, who said when he got here that I'd be an All-Star, what can I say but 'Thanks, big fella. I love you.' "
Emotions were strong elsewhere, too, more so for those who did make it than those who didn't.
Washington owner Abe Pollin stopped practice by wheeling a giant cake onto the court so the Wizards could celebrate the selections of Arenas and Antawn Jamison, the first time in nearly two decades the franchise has two All-Stars.
Guard Ray Allen of Seattle and forward Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas rounded out the Western Conference selections.
The East's other reserves are centers Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Cleveland and Ben Wallace of Detroit, forward Jermaine O'Neal of Indiana, and guard Paul Pierce of Boston. O'Neal was picked despite missing 15 games when he was suspended for his role in a brawl with fans at a Nov. 19 game at the Pistons.
Among those left off were New Jersey's Kidd, who had played in every All-Star game since 1998, and Orlando's Francis, a three-time All-Star.
Sacramento center Brad Miller apparently was hurt by Western Conference coaches' filling in Stoudemire -- who starts at power forward for Phoenix -- as a center.
League sets limits
Coaches were required to select two guards, two forwards, one center and two other players regardless of position. They could not vote for their own players.
The East's starters are Philadelphia's Allen Iverson, Miami's O'Neal, New Jersey's Carter, Orlando's Grant Hill and a seventh first-time All-Star, Cleveland's LeBron James.
Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming of Houston, Kevin Garnett of Minnesota and Tim Duncan of San Antonio will start for the West.