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Duncan moved to forward on NBA's online All-Star ballot

NEW YORK -- The NBA shifted Tim Duncan from center to
forward on its All-Star ballot on Wednesday, boosting the San
Antonio player's chances of making his ninth consecutive start.

The seven-member media panel that selected the players for the
original ballot had Duncan as a center, even though he has always
been listed as a forward. He was voted to start for the Western
Conference each of the last eight seasons, but that streak would
have been in jeopardy if he was a center.

"It's great. I have an opportunity to make the team now,"
Duncan said after the Spurs 128-110 win over the Orlando Magic on
Wednesday. "To have an opportunity to be back on the ballot and to
be at the forward, and to have a chance to start, it's an honor."

Houston center Yao Ming gets overwhelming support from China and
has been elected to start every year of his career. He received the
highest vote total in history in 2005, and the fourth-highest ever
last season.

"It's great that they did that. ... It makes total sense and
we're thrilled that they made that change," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said in San Antonio. "That's what he's been, he's been
that way [a power forward] for 10 years. There's no reason to
change it."

Though the paper ballots can't be changed, Duncan will be moved
to forward on the online ballot on www.nba.com. All votes he has
received or receives in the future will be credited toward him at
forward.

The All-Star game is Feb. 17 in New Orleans.