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BASKETBALL > Superstars meet in NBA showdown

HOUSTON, Texas

Fans and athletes alike prepare for the All-Star game, the NBA’s event of the year, which is set to place the East’s Miami duo LeBron James and Dwyane Wade against West’s Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard

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Kobe Bryant, who broke a tie with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal for the most 
consecutive NBA All-Star selections, will face LeBron James in the game. AFP photos

Kobe Bryant, who broke a tie with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive NBA All-Star selections, will face LeBron James in the game. AFP photos

Superstars will play alongside each other as the 2013 NBA All-Star game will be played in Houston on Feb. 17.

An Eastern team led by Miami Heat superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will meet the Western side which boasts red-hot Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. The East starters will be completed by New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett. Point guard Rajon Rondo, another player who was granted a starting spot in the online voting, will have to skip his spot as a starter due to an injury. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who was given the East coaching job, will replace Rondo with another player.

Bryant, who got a total of 1,591,437 votes and James, who had 1,583,646, were this year’s leading vote-getters in the 2013 NBA All-Star balloting. Earning his record 15th consecutive All-Star nod, Bryant broke a tie with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O’Neal for the most consecutive NBA All-Star selections. The four-time NBA All-Star MVP (2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011), Bryant will have Durant, Lakers teammate Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Clippers duo Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with him on the West team.

Bryant holds the distinction as the youngest All-Star in NBA history (1998, when he was 19 years old). In last year’s All-Star Game in Orlando, he passed Michael Jordan as the game’s all-time scoring leader.

Apart from the big game on Feb. 17, the All-Star weekend will boast several entertaining events. With the Rising Stars Challenge, which gives a stage to the players in their first two seasons, opening the three-day extravaganza on Feb. 15, the famous All-Star Saturday Night is likely to provide the most fun. All-Star Saturday Night will feature Sears Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk.

February/16/2013

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