LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat are headed to the NBA All-Star game together, and Derrick Rose gave the Chicago Bulls their first starter since Michael Jordan.
They will be joined in the Eastern Conference starting lineup by Amare Stoudemire, who will become the first New York Knicks player to start in nearly two decades, and Orlando center Dwight Howard, the leading vote-getter in the conference with nearly 2.1 million.
The Lakers' Kobe Bryant earned his 13th straight All-Star selection for the Feb. 20 game at his home arena. He is one shy of the record held by Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone.
Bryant, a three-time MVP of the All-Star game, was the overall leading vote-getter with more than 2.3 million.
The other starters announced Thursday were Hornets guard Chris Paul, forwards Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City and Carmelo Anthony of Denver, and Houston center Yao Ming, who is injured and will be replaced on the roster by a player of commissioner David Stern's choosing.
James and Wade, who both received more than 2 million votes from fans, will become the first set of teammates to start for the East since Wade and O'Neal represented the Heat in the 2007 game in Las Vegas.
"We try to represent our team, try to represent our franchise the right way every time we go out on the basketball court, and the fact that we've had so many votes by these fans, like I said it's very humbling and we appreciate it," James said before the Heat faced the New York Knicks.
Rose beat out Celtics guard Rajon Rondo to earn his first All-Star start and the first by a Chicago player since Jordan started the 1998 game.
"I think it's recognition for the job he's done this year," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "All-Star games, those are great. He certainly earned it, but ... I'm more concerned with what he's done for our team. And he's done a lot for the team."
Fans voted for the starters, but the reserves will be chosen by the head coaches in their respective conferences. Their votes must be submitted to the league office by next Tuesday, and the announcement will come next Thursday night.
Stoudemire has revitalized the Knicks since arriving from Phoenix in the summer. He beat out perennial starter Kevin Garnett for the second forward spot and is just the fifth Knicks player to be selected a starter since fans began voting in 1974-75.
GRIZZLIES WILL HAVE TO HOLD THE MAYO: At Memphis, Tenn., the NBA has suspended guard O.J. Mayo 10 games without pay for violating the league and union's anti-drug program with a positive test. The league announced the suspension Thursday for Mayo's positive test for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Mayo's suspension will start Friday night when the Grizzlies visit Philadelphia, and he will be able to return Feb. 15 also against the 76ers in Memphis.
Mayo said in a statement released by the team that he is extremely disappointed he will miss 10 games as the Grizzlies are making a push for the playoffs. He blamed an over the counter supplement that he didn't know was banned by the NBA for the positive test, but a team spokesman said Mayo declined to say which supplement he used.
"It was an honest mistake, but I take full responsibility for my actions," Mayo said in the statement released by the team. I apologize to my fans, teammates and the Grizzlies organization for regrettably not doing the necessary research about what supplements I can put in my body."
Mayo's agent did not immediately return a message left at his office Thursday.
Mayo was the No. 3 pick overall in 2008 after only one season at USC, and Minnesota swapped him draft night deal to the Grizzlies for Kevin Love. Mayo was runner-up to Chicago's Derrick Rose for rookie of the year.
But the guard was moved to the bench earlier this season, starting just 15 of Memphis' 45 games this season. He's been bandied about as possible trade bait even while ranking fourth on the Grizzlies with 12.2 points per game.
Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said Mayo will continue practicing with the team during his suspension.
"O.J. had a lack of judgment but has shown complete accountability," Heisley said in a statement. "We will continue to support O.J. during this time as we have from the moment he joined the team in 2008. He has unselfishly done everything we have asked of him, and we expect him to grow as a player and a person from this experience."
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