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ELECTION CAMPAIGNTo help push three of the NBA's rising stars to their first All-Star Game appearance, the Oklahoma City Thunder will encourage fans to "Vote Thunder . Vote Often."

It's a marketing campaign that is in line with the team's "Rise Together" motto, which avoids putting one player over another even though Kevin Durant is widely considered the league's next big star and projected by some to earn a selection to this year's All-Star Game, set for Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

With Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green also on the 2010 All-Star ballot, which the league released Tuesday, the Thunder's slogan is an all-inclusive one that will be featured prominently inside the Ford Center starting with Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers through the end of voting in mid-January.

Unlike some teams, the Thunder's marketing department will not campaign the rest of the league and its media members on its players' behalf with promotional gimmicks, according to Thunder Vice President for Corporate Communications and Community Relations Dan Mahoney.

To promote Al Jefferson last season, Minnesota sent Western Conference coaches who select the game's reserves a highlight-filled $200 GPS unit dubbed the "Model No. 25: Double-Double Machine." To endorse Brandon Roy in 2008, Portland spent approximately $15,000 on iPods that were renamed "iRoys" and shipped to coaches and select national media members.

Thunder Director of Basketball Communications Brian Facchini said his department also does not currently have plans to incorporate an elaborate campaign for its players. He added, however, that his department learned of Durant, Green and Westbrook's inclusion on the ballot on Monday and that a clever device could be discussed at a later time. The Thunder is likely to e-mail the league's 29 other teams a PDF file of the trio's accomplishments this season, Facchini said, but teams generally reserve the gimmicky gadgets for postseason awards.

"That's typically not our approach," Mahoney said of external marketing of players for the All-Star Game. "Our approach is really engaging our fans in the process. Pretty much everything will be with our fan base."

Mahoney said the Thunder will have promotions and prize giveaways to encourage fan voting. The fan who fills out the most ballots by the end of all voting on Jan. 18 will win courtside seats to a future game. There also will be nightly prize packages to fans who return 100 or more ballots on game days. Ballots and giveaways will be awarded along the Thunderstruck Tour during road games as well, and fans will be notified about voting via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook in addition to continuous reminders on the team's official Web site, Mahoney said.

Durant, Green and Westbrook are among 120 players listed on this year's ballot: 60 players from the Eastern and Western conferences, with 24 guards, 24 forwards and 12 centers from each conference. Fans will choose the game's starters by voting for two guards, two forwards and one center. Coaches from each conference then select the reserves.

Fans can vote by logging on to, filling out ballots at the Ford Center on game days or texting the player's last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (MYNBA).

Thunder at Clippers

→When: 9:30 p.m.

→Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles

→TV: KSBI-52 (Cox 15, HD 715)

→Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM; WWLS 640-AM

Three Things to Know

→Eric Gordon, the Clippers'second leading scorer (18.9), isn't expected to play because of a recent groin injury.

→Scoring in the lane will be more difficult. Marcus Camby (2.4) and Chris Kaman (1.8) are among the league's shot-block leaders.

→The Clippers will test the Thunder's interior defense. They're third in the league in field-goal percentage (48.5).

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 13, 2009


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