2012 All-Star starters named
Two cities and three franchises accounted for six of the 10 players voted starters for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, announced Thursday.
Defending NBA MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls was voted a starting guard along with Wade in the East, with the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony joining James at forward and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic at center.
The starters were chosen by fan balloting. Howard was the leading vote-getter with 1.6 million votes.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was the lone West starter from outside the Los Angeles city limits. He'll start along with Griffin at forward, with Bryant and Paul at guard and Bynum at center.
Griffin and Bynum are first-time starters, while Bryant earned his record-tying 14th consecutive selection.
"I know a lot of guys deserve it and I appreciate the fans voting me in," Griffin said after the Clippers' loss to the Denver Nuggets Thursday night. "I have to do a lot of work to get to where I want to be. It should be a fun game. That's what those games are about, having fun and getting a break and putting on a show out there."
Bynum grabbed the starting center spot that for years went to Yao Ming, who retired last summer. Griffin was chosen as a reserve forward last year, when he became the first rookie All-Star since Yao in 2003.
"For me, it feels good because at least this year I'm putting up the kind of numbers that qualify me for it and it's great because the fans voted me in," Bynum said Thursday in Los Angeles.
It's the first time since 1997, when Houston had Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley, and Seattle sent Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, that two pairs of teammates have been voted to start for one conference.
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"It will be Lob City in Orlando," the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan said of Griffin and Paul playing in the game. "I can't wait for the game so I can watch them go out there and do work."
Bryant joins O'Neal, Jerry West and Karl Malone with his 14th straight starting nod. He earned his fourth All-Star MVP award last year, equaling Bob Pettit's NBA record.
"It means a lot," Rose said of the honor before the start of the Bulls' game at the Knicks. "Just wanting to be in the game is something you should take to heart. I take to heart."
"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."
While he's happy to be a starter, Bynum remains in awe of his teammate Bryant's 14 All-Star appearances.
"It's unbelievable. It's ridiculous. But, obviously, he's the best player in the game. He's going to make it every year," Bynum said.
The starters were announced on TNT. The reserves will be chosen by voting of the coaches from each conference and will be announced next Thursday.
Dave McMenamin and Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.