NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose smiled sheepishly when he was told he had been selected by the fans as an All Star starter for the Eastern Conference. Obviously, the 23-year-old was very happy with the news.
"It means a lot," Rose said before Thursday's contest against the New York Knicks. "I remember not being in the All-Star Game. Just wanting to be in the game is something you should take to heart. I take to heart. Just wanting to accomplish something. Especially when I'm in this league. And one of them accomplishments is being on the All-Star team. And it's an honor."
Rose will be joined in the starting lineup by Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Heat forward LeBron James, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. The game is Feb. 26 at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
"It's definitely fun," Rose said of playing with the league's other stars. "You learn more leadership skills. Especially playing on a team like that where every one of them are different type of leaders. And me being a young player, that's something I can take from there and add it to this team."
Rose, who said multiple times during the summer that he didn't like playing in pickup games like many other stars were doing to stay in shape, is actually looking forward to this exhibition.
"This one is totally different," Rose said. "Where it's all All-Stars. Where all the guys that's there, they're there for a reason. And they've been putting in work for X amount of years."
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was very proud of Rose's accomplishment.
"I'll wait 'til the league announces it," he said before the announcement became official. "But he certainly, in my eyes, has earned it. And I'll leave it at that."
For Rose, the NBA's reigning MVP, it marks his second straight year being voted into the game as a starter. It his third All-Star appearance overall.
"It means a lot," Rose said. "Especially for my fans to vote for me. I didn't recognize that I had all them votes or whatever, but it shows a lot, man. I don't take anything for granted. I don't take any one of my fans that went online and voted for me for granted. I appreciate them all and I hope they continue to watch me."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.