Thanks to the vote of the Western Conference's coaches, the Jazz's Mark Eaton and Portland's Kevin Duckworth are teaming up to keep Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out of the NBA All-Star Game. Eaton and Duckworth were named Wednesday as reserve centers to join starter Akeem Olajuwon for the Feb. 12 game in Houston.
John Stockton was selected as a reserve guard, giving the Jazz three All-Stars for the first time. Twice, they've had two - Pete Maravich and Truck Robinson in 1978 and Adrian Dantley and Rickey Green in 1984. Cleveland is the only other team with three players in this year's game.Abdul-Jabbar will miss the game for only the second time in his 20-year career. "I think it was appropriate," Abdul-Jabbar told the Los Angeles Times. "The decision was judicious. I don't have any problems with it. The facts speak for themselves. If I had played at All-Star caliber, we wouldn't be having this discussion."
"I really feel that (Abdul-Jabbar) deserves to be there after all the impact he's had on the game, regardless of how this year's gone for him," Eaton said.
Stockton and Portland's Clyde Drexler are the reserve guards, voted ahead of Denver's Fat Lever, Dallas' Rolando Blackman and the Lakers' Byron Scott. Stockton almost admitted to being excited about the chance Tuesday, but had little reaction when the news came. "It's a candle on the cake as opposed to getting the cake," he said. "I'd much rather win a championship."
With Stockton in the game, Malone will wear No. 26, Frank Layden's high school number. Malone had considered honoring Stockton by wearing No. 12.
Former University of Utah player Tom Chambers, the 1987 All-Star Game MVP, was selected for a second appearance. The other West forwards are Golden State's Chris Mullin and the Lakers' James Worthy. The "wild-card" West player - in addition to the regular three centers, four guards and four forwards - was a forward, but the Jazz's Thurl Bailey was still overlooked.