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Thursday, January 2
 
Yao fourth overall in All-Star balloting

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Rookie Yao Ming has more votes than Shaquille O'Neal in fan voting for next month's NBA All-Star Game.

Shaquille O'Neal
O'Neal

Yao Ming
Yao

Yao, the 7-foot-6 Chinese import for the Houston Rockets, was fourth overall in the balloting and tops among centers with 814,393 votes. O'Neal was next among centers and 10th overall, at 655,744.

Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter are the top vote-getters after two rounds of balloting, the league said Thursday. The fan vote will determine the starters for the Feb. 9 All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Voting continues through Jan. 12, and this season marks the first time online balloting is available in Mandarin.

Only four rookie centers have started in an NBA All-Star Game since the first in 1951: Ray Felix, Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy and O'Neal. A total of 15 rookies have started All-Star games, with Grant Hill the most recent in 1995.

In the latest tally, Bryant had 958,695 votes, followed by Carter (871,189) and Tracy McGrady (822,034). San Antonio's Tim Duncan, last season's league MVP, was fifth at 758,754.

Completing the top 10 were Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Ben Wallace and Dirk Nowitzki.

Yao, the top pick in the NBA draft, is averaging 13.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and two blocks. O'Neal is averaging 26.4 point, 11.1 rebounds and two blocks after he was initially sidelined this season because of a toe injury.






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