Kobe Bryant was voted to his NBA-record 15th consecutive All-Star start, leading four Los Angeles players into next month’s game.
Lakers teammate Dwight Howard and the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will join Bryant in the Western Conference lineup for the Feb. 17 game in Houston. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the MVP of last year’s game, rounds out the five.
Kevin Garnett held off Chris Bosh in fan balloting, giving the East two Boston Celtics and two Miami Heat players. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will represent the defending champions and receive passes from Rajon Rondo. New York’s Carmelo Anthony is the other starter.
Bryant finished with 1,591,437 votes, edging James by about 7,800 to finish as the leading vote-getter and break a tie with Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West and Karl Malone for the most consecutive starting nods.
Stern OK with microphones
NBA Commissioner David Stern has no problem with teams aiming microphones at their own players during games. If anything, he wants more mikes on the court.
Talking ahead of the New York Knicks’ game in London against Detroit on Thursday, Stern shrugged off a report that MSG chairman James Dolan used listening devices at Madison Square Garden to record everything said to and by Anthony.
With the league and media already recording most things that are said during games, Stern said that adding more microphones can only be a good thing.
“Anything that is said on the court is really subject to being picked up,” Stern said. “For my money, I’d like to see the audio track of our games be a little bit more robust, anyway. ... If anything, there are going to be more mikes around the game rather than fewer.”
Union chief under scrutiny
NBA players should consider whether they want to keep Billy Hunter as executive director of the players’ association after a series of wrongdoings, according to a review of the union released Thursday.
The report found no evidence of illegal use of union funds, but revealed that Hunter withheld knowledge that his contract was never properly approved, used poor judgment with his hiring practices and spent improperly on travel and gifts.
The eight-month review by the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP urged players to consider Hunter’s position when they meet next month at the All-Star break.
Mavericks retain James
The Dallas Mavericks signed veteran guard Mike James to a second 10-day contract.
Dallas is the 11th NBA team in 11 seasons for the 37-year-old James. He has scored eight points on 3-of-16 shooting in five games, but was on the floor ahead of starter Darren Collison in the tense final minutes of Wednesday night’s 105-100 victory over Houston.
If the Mavericks want to keep James beyond this 10-day deal, they’ll have to guarantee the veteran minimum salary for the rest of the season.
James’ best season came with Toronto in 2005-06, when he averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists in 79 starts.