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News » A chance to join the legends


A chance to join the legends


A chance to join the legends
When discussing the best Basketball player of all time, All-Star Game MVP awards aren't criteria in the debate.

And they shouldn't be.

But it's no surprise players who have accumulated the most All-Star Game MVP awards are among the greatest players of all time.

An interesting subplot to tonight's 58th annual All-Star Game in Phoenix is four players have a chance to join an exclusive club.

A dozen NBA players twice have been named MVP of the All-Star Game. Only three have earned the honor three times.

Four players have an opportunity to join that exclusive list tonight.

The two players that will receive the most hype are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

James still hasn't won a regular-season MVP award, although many claim he's the front-runner this season. James, though, has been named All-Star Game MVP two of the past three years.

Bryant finally earned his first regular-season MVP award last season and is considered the No. 1 contender behind James for this year's award. Bryant was the All-Star Game MVP in 2002 and 2007.

Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson also have been named All-Star Game MVP twice, but it would be shocking to see either land their third tonight.

Shaq is enjoying a renaissance season and could receive a hometown boost since the game is in Phoenix. But it's not as if Shaq has been playing for the Suns most of his career.

Iverson is having the worst offensive season of his career. Most feel he wouldn't even be in Phoenix if fans hadn't voted him in.

Bob Pettit, who played for the St. Louis Hawks decades ago, is the only player to earn All-Star Game MVP honors four times.

Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson are three-time All-Star Game MVPs.

Being a two-time All-Star Game MVP is a short list. Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, George Gervin and Bill Russell have one each.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the all-time greats, has the most All-Star Game selections (19) but never won an All-Star Game MVP award.

Kobe and LeBron already are in select company, but will one of them join an even shorter list tonight at US Airways Center?

SCORING STARS

LeBron tops All-Star averages

All-Star Games generally are offensive shootouts. But there is only one ball and fewer minutes for players accustomed to playing 35-plus minutes a game.

Only five players have averaged more than 20 points in All-Star Games.

Michael Jordan has scored the most points (262) in All-Star history, but LeBron James, Oscar Robertson and Bob Pettit have higher scoring averages.

Player (games) Avg. 1. LeBron James (4) 24.3 2. Oscar Robertson (12) 20.5 3. Bob Pettit (11) 20.4 4. Michael Jordan (13) 20.2 5. Julius Erving (11) 20.1 6. Elgin Baylor (11) 19.8 7. George Mikan (4) 19.5 8. Paul Westphal (5) 19.4 9. Tom Chambers (4) 19.3 10. David Thompson (4) 18.8 11. Rick Barry (7) 18.3 12. Kobe Bryant (10) 18.0 13. Rolando Blackman (4) 17.8 14. Amare Stoudemire (3) 17.7 15. Bob McAdoo (5) 17.6

BY THE NUMBERS

All-Star Game edition

4: First-time All-Stars this year (Danny Granger, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Mo Williams)

6: Times All-Star Game has gone into overtime.

11: Times Red Auerbach coached the East. Auerbach was 7-4.

14: Times a player has fouled out.

15: All-Star Game selections for Shaquille O'Neal, second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

22: Most assists in an All-Star Game (Magic Johnson, 1984)

27: Most rebounds in an All-Star Game (Bob Pettit, 1962)

42: Most points scored in an All-Star Game (Wilt Chamberlain, 1962)

154: Fewest combined points scored in All-Star Game (1953)

303: Most combined points scored in All-Star Game (1987)

SNEAK PEEKNew and improved

The Thunder returns from the All-Star break with a home game that will feature a new bison mascot and a new court.

→Tuesday: New Orleans. Chris Paul and the Hornets are in town for what will be a special night (mascot unveiling).

→Friday: at Phoenix. By the time the Thunder hits the Valley of the Sun, Amare Stoudemire could be gone.

→Saturday: at Golden State. The Warriors, 14-12 at home, have played well since Jeff Green beat them on a buzzer-beater.

INSIDE SCOOPStars staying put?

→Charlotte coach Larry Brown predicts many teams clearing cap space for 2010 might be disappointed. He expects many players to re-sign with their current teams because they can offer more money.

→The Mavericks have improved since coach Rick Carlisle turned over all play calling to veteran point guard Jason Kidd. Carlisle essentially told his team he was giving players more control to eliminate excuses for inconsistent play.

→For all the talk about Mike D'Antoni and the Knicks, it's the 76ers who lead the league in fast-break points (nearly 18 a game). Philadelphia has been one of the league's hottest teams the past month.

→The Celtics are a viable contender to repeat as champions, but a 1-4 record against the Lakers, Cavaliers and Spurs shows Boston isn't a lock to reach the Finals, much less repeat.

→Ron Johnson, a retired two-star general now in charge of NBA officials, is receiving kudos and criticism. Johnson has responded to all e-mail concerns from NBA teams but failed to criticize the crew that allowed a basket when the Spurs had six players on the court.

→Several NBA front-office executives said Denver acquiring Chauncey Billups worked out better than anyone could have imagined. Billups, by the way, is unveiling a special pair of gold shoes at the All-Star Game.

TEMPERATURE GAUGE

Who's hot

Philadelphia. The 76ers are 13-4 the past five weeks. Despite losing Elton Brand to a season-ending shoulder injury, Philadelphia is in prime position to earn a playoff berth. The Sixers are 18-10 under Tony DiLeo after a 9-14 start under Maurice Cheeks.

Who's not

Sacramento. For all the talk about the Thunder's and Wizards' early season struggles, the Kings have the inside track at having the most ping pong balls in the lottery. Sacramento is 3-19 in 2009. With rumors the Kings might trade John Salmons or Brad Miller, it might only get worse.

TRADE MARKET

Setting Suns

Because Phoenix has shopped Amare Stoudemire so heavily, it will be shocking if he isn't traded before Thursday's 2 p.m. deadline. The Suns are weighing several offers but aren't expected to get top value for the four-time All-Star.

Stoudemire isn't the only player who will change uniforms. And the Suns aren't the only team looking to clear cap space. The Hornets don't want to pay the dollar-for-dollar penalty for every dollar they're over the $71.1 million luxury tax.

Vince Carter (to Cleveland?), Chris Bosh, David Lee and Shaquille O'Neal have been mentioned, but all four probably will remain with their current teams. Two prominent names not on the list below that might be traded are Marcus Camby and Carlos Boozer. The latest rumors include:

Amare Stoudemire: The Bulls (Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah and Thabo Sefolosha and a draft pick) have been the team most prominently mentioned but Miami, Detroit, Golden State and a team no one has identified reportedly are in the mix.

Tyson Chandler: Hampered by Peja Stojakovic's contract, the Hornets could trade Chandler to Detroit for Rasheed Wallace's expiring contract.

Portland: Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract is a valuable asset. The Trail Blazers are seeking an upgrade at point guard (Raymond Felton? Kirk Hinrich? Stephon Marbury?). Portland will trade, but for what? Richard Jefferson or Luol Deng might be possibilities.

Mike Miller: Cleveland would love to add the sharp-shooting Miller to assist their run at a title by giving up Wally Szczerbiak and J.J. Hickson.

Joe Smith: Thunder general manager Sam Presti probably won't get much in return, but the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs are among several playoff contenders that would like to add the veteran forward.

Brad Miller: Sacramento's center is drawing some attention. Several teams are interested.

NO FANTASY CAMP

NBA life is hard work

For many fans, playing in tonight's All-Star Game would be a dream come true. Vince Carter, a seven-time All-Star, isn't in Phoenix but said the glamorous NBA life, and all its perks, is more difficult than it appears.

Working a fantasy camp for three years in Toronto early in his career, Carter said fans discovered the rigors of playing in the NBA are more difficult than most realize.

"It was always a big deal for them to work out with us and get to be an NBA player for a week," Carter said. "It was a day-in-the-life. But by the end of the week they were surprised how hard it was to do what we do. And they didn't even deal with any of the travel.

"Going from a hotel, to locker rooms, to practices, playing in a few (camp) games, doing that consistently, they'd always say after the week was over how unbelievably hard it was.

"Try doing that all season and travel, which is the hardest part. We went back and forth two blocks. We didn't even fly to another city, much less fly 70 or 80 times a year."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 18, 2009

 

 
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