NEW YORK -- Call him "The Unchosen One."
LeBron James was not among the 14 reserves announced Tuesday for
the All-Star Game. Coaches cast the votes, and James was unable to
beat out Eastern Conference guards Paul Pierce, Michael Redd, Baron Davis and Jason Kidd.
James still could make the team if one of the East All-Stars is
injured between now and the Feb. 15 game in Los Angeles, but he
doesn't want to be named a replacement.
"I wasn't part of the ones that they picked at first, so I
wouldn't even like to be a part of the team if somebody didn't
go," James said. "I'm an only child and I never want to be picked
second. I don't come second."
James' friend and fellow rookie sensation, Carmelo Anthony, also missed the All-Star cut, leaving two of this season's most-watched players to appear in the Rookie Challenge on Friday night against the league's selection of top second-year players.
Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki of
Dallas, Peja Stojakovic and Brad Miller of Sacramento, Sam Cassell
of Minnesota, Andrei Kirilenko of Utah and Ray Allen of Seattle
were the Western Conference reserves.
"Not a bad thing to be on your resume, All-Star in front of
your name," said Martin, one of six players who will make their
first All-Star appearance.
Other players having strong seasons who didn't make the cut
included Mike Bibby of Sacramento, Latrell Sprewell of Minnesota,
Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton of Detroit, Michael Finley of
Dallas and Zach Randolph of Portland.
Allen's selection was one of the most surprising after he missed
the first 25 games of the season following ankle surgery.
"I would rather be in L.A. than any place in the country,"
said Allen, who had planned a getaway to Las Vegas with teammate
Antonio Daniels. "It's a bragging right. ... I totally thought I
had no chance."
James shot just 5-for-19 and scored 12 points Tuesday night
after learning he had been passed over, but the Cleveland Cavaliers
still managed to defeat one of the East's better teams with an
85-82 victory over Detroit.
It was the 19th victory of the season for the Cavaliers, moving
them closer to one of the top eight spots in the conference -- the
cutoff for qualifying for the postseason.
Cleveland has won seven of nine -- a factor that did not carry
enough weight for James to make the team.
Coaches had to choose a center, two forwards, two guards and two
others regardless of position. They couldn't vote for their own
Redd is averaging 22.1 points for the surprising Milwaukee Bucks, Pierce is the league's sixth-leading scorer (22.9) for
Boston, Davis of New Orleans had the league's fifth-highest average
(23.2), and Kidd has led New Jersey to first place in the Atlantic
"Not making it just tells me I've got to work harder," said
James, one of only four players leaguewide averaging at least 20
points, five rebounds and five assists. "I've been earning a lot
of things this year -- earning the respect of players, the respect
of refs. That's another thing I've got to earn, to be a part of the
Starters for the league's 53rd All-Star Game, selected in fan
balloting, are Vince Carter of Toronto, Tracy McGrady of Orlando,
Ben Wallace of Detroit, Jermaine O'Neal of Indiana and Allen Iverson of Philadelphia for the East; Yao Ming of Houston, Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, Kevin Garnett of Minnesota, Steve Francis of Houston and Tim Duncan of San Antonio for the West.
Minnesota's Flip Saunders will coach the West, and Rick Carlisle
of the Pacers will coach the East.
James is 13th in the NBA in scoring and 12th in assists,
averaging 24.1 points since Cleveland traded Ricky Davis to Boston
in mid-December. James, Pierce, Allen and McGrady are the only
players averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and five
"I feel that everything happens for a reason and that this will
turn out for the best. He's going to make a lot of All-Star Games
before he's done, and this will keep him humble," Cavaliers coach
Paul Silas said.
There will be six All-Stars with international roots -- Kirilenko
(Russia), Stojakovic (Serbia and Montenegro), Magloire (Canada)
Nowitzki (Germany), Yao (China) and Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands) --
which ties the record set a year ago.
James will play alongside Anthony in the
Rookie Challenge on Friday night of All-Star Weekend against a team
of second-year players that includes Yao.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.