Before the game, Karl Malone called the NBA office to complain about the voting results and told teammates he would boycott the All-Star Game. Afterward, he agreed only to answer questions about the game.
In between, he was fine, scoring 26 points in the Jazz's 115-89 win over New York to add his own message to the evening's news.The latest bulletin was the report that the Lakers' A.C. Green would start the Feb. 11 NBA All-Star Game in Miami instead of Malone, the 1989 game's MVP, thanks to nationwide fan voting results. Forwards James Worthy and Green will join guards John Stockton and Magic Johnson and center Akeem Olajuwon in the West lineup. The East starters will be forwards Larry Bird and Charles Barkley, center Patrick Ewing and guards Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas.
Obviously, Malone can still go to Miami, because the Western Conference coaches vote for the seven reserves next week. Malone, who spoke before the game only in a pre-arranged TV interview, is threatening to stay home to protest the selection method. "It would be real lonely without him," said Stockton. "I think he'll go. He's bigger than all that. Maybe it's a slap in the face and he's a little bit hurt, but he also should consider it very much an honor if the coaches pick him."
Malone, a two-time, fan-voted starter, had only half as many votes as Jordan, the leader, but was knocked out of the starting lineup by only 1,216 votes _ Green had 160,788 votes to Malone's 159,162. Green averages 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds a game, obviously not in the same class with Malone's 30.6 and 11.1 figures.
"I'm surprised to be on the team," Green told the Los Angeles Times. "I never knew my position in the balloting, and it's really out of the players' control who the fans vote for. Neither one of us did any campaigning. On paper, you'd think (Malone) would be on the team. I mean, he does it night in, night out. That's what you have to do to be an All-Star."
Malone was fifth overall in the West but finished third among the forwards, just ahead of Seattle's Xavier McDaniel. Stockton, meanwhile, had 10,000 fewer votes than Malone and finished not far ahead of Dallas' Derek Harper, Portland's Clyde Drexler and San Antonio's Maurice Cheeks among the guards.
Stockton was selected as a reserve by the West coaches last year but ended up starting the game because Johnson was injured. "I don't know that being selected this way is any better than being selected the other way," said Stockton. "It's tough to be thrilled about a selection process when an absolute shoo-in doesn't make it. That amazes me."