St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

NBA

Game a changing of guard (and center)

©Associated Press
February 9, 2003

ATLANTA -- When the ball goes up for tipoff of the All-Star Game today, Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan will be watching from the bench for the first time.

Karl Malone probably will be off hunting or fishing, Reggie Miller might be on a beach, Grant Hill and Dikembe Mutombo will be recuperating, and David Robinson will be planning his impending retirement.

A new generation of perennial All-Stars, along with the NBA's newest curiosity, will comprise the two starting units as the league holds its 52nd annual showcase event.

Four of the starters, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant and Jermaine O'Neal, jumped directly from high school to the pros.

One, 7-foot-6 center Yao Ming, made the biggest leap of all -- coming from China to the United States and becoming the first rookie to displace an established starting center since O'Neal did it to Patrick Ewing a decade ago.

This will be the first time in 25 years that the All-Star Game is in Atlanta. The last time, in 1978, Randy Smith of the Buffalo Braves came off the bench to lead all scorers with 27 points.

Jordan would become an All-Star seven years later, eventually being voted a starter by the fans 13 times.

"It doesn't matter if you play or you don't play," Jordan said. "It's truly an honor just to be selected on that team. That's the way I accept it. I don't go in there thinking any less than the other 13 times I've been there."

Making his 14th and final appearance, Jordan plans to retire after this season -- he swears he means it this time -- and will be bidding farewell to an event he has dominated.

He has the only triple double in the game's history, three All-Star MVP trophies and needs to score 10 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (251 in 18 appearances) as the leading scorer in All-Star history.

O'Neal, meanwhile, has reached a sort of NBA middle age, a bridge between the Jordan generation and the current era -- Generation Y, as in Yao.

Today, O'Neal and Yao will be teammates for the first time.

"He can play point guard, and I'll be the shooting guard," Yao quipped.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Motorsports
  • No restricting Junior
  • Dixon wins consecutive NHRA Shootouts
  • Keep an eye on DEI teammates

  • College basketball
  • Gators hammer Tide for one last hurrah at No. 1

  • NFL
  • Plummer has offer to stay a Cardinal
  • Hubert Mizell: Chief of the Chiefs gets well-deserved spot in Hall

  • Baseball
  • Marlins win their case over P Nunez

  • NHL
  • Slapshots
  • Av rally keeps it hot, Wings cold

  • Parimutuels
  • Ben Awhile gets break in Classic

  • College basketball
  • Kentucky's 12th straight another blowout
  • Taurasi leads UConn past pesky Eagles
  • Salukis watch
  • Michigan returns to top conference
  • Tar Heels steal one from FSU
  • USF dodges trouble

  • Arena football
  • Cohen, Dell get to see other side

  • In brief
  • James scores a career-high 52

  • Sailing
  • Student and master face off for the Cup

  • Running
  • Wins prove to be workouts

  • NBA
  • Richardson puts on quite a show
  • Game a changing of guard (and center)

  • Tennis
  • Croatian rally stuns U.S. team

  • Golf
  • Love won't need a record round

  • Preps
  • Meet Brandon's 'Death Row'
  • Tornadoes collect title, milestones
  • Spongers' road leads to 20 wins

  • Bowling
  • Slow start can't stop the Xmen

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Staff opinion
  • Rant & Rave

  • Reader opinion
  • Your turn

  • Rays
  • Victories answer every Rays question
  • Rays will be getting back to basics
  • Devil Ray not at fault in crash, police say
  • Gary Shelton: I want my ... I want my Buc news ... right now!

  • Lightning
  • Charity goes on in draw
  • Buy or sell? GM will wait


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts