Houston Rockets center Yao Ming,
sidelined by a broken leg, still
leads the overall voting for February's National Basketball Association All-Star
game in fan balloting figures released.
Yao has 1,411,923 votes and boasts a huge edge over Phoenix's Amare
Stoudemire (485,642) at his position.
But the 7-foot-5 Chinese center, who is having the best season of his career,
broke his right leg against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and is unlikely
to return before the All-Star Game, meaning he will almost certainly miss the
mid-season exhibition for the first time in his NBA career.
He was voted onto the starting lineup the past four years.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is second among vote-getters in the
West, with 1,187,505 votes. He is followed by Houston's Tracy McGrady
(1,057,057) and Denver's recent import from the East, Allan Iverson (975,319).
There is a close race at forward
in the West, where Minnesota's Kevin Garnett (785,865), San Antonio's Tim Duncan
(715,916) and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (684,620) are separated by little more than
With Iverson's move from Philadelphia, New Jersey's Vince Carter has climbed
into the top two among Eastern Conference guards in the second returns of fan
The New Jersey Nets' leading scorer, Carter trailed Iverson and Miami Heat
superstar Dwyane Wade when the league released the first balloting return two
But Iverson, who was sitting idly on the trading block at the time, has since
undergone a dramatic change. The four-time scoring champion was eliminated from
the Eastern ballot after being dealt
to the Nuggets on December 20.
Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, only one player - Carter, in 2005 - was
traded before the All-Star Game and still was voted as a starter. This season's
game is February 18 in Las Vegas.
The reigning NBA Finals MVP, Wade has collected 983,321 votes, well ahead of
Carter's 726,040. Washington's Gilbert Arenas and New Jersey's Jason Kidd are
third and fourth, respectively.
Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James leads all East players with
Toronto power forward Chris Bosh is a distant second with 497,283 and owns a
slight advantage over Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal (437,164).
Miami center Shaquille O'Neal, out since November 12 with a knee injury, has
received 855,544 votes. Orlando Magic youngster Dwight Howard is second among
East centers with 665,434.
The starters will be announced January 25 and reserves - selected by coaches
in each conference - will be revealed February 1.