The NBA All-Star team announcement is always one that brings controversy, as the fans decide which five players in both the Eastern and Western Conference are worthy of the starter designation.
Voting sometimes undermines the efforts of players that should be in the starting lineup but are not, as the popularity of NBA players often supersedes the actual production on the court.
If you needed any reminder of that, look back to how many All-Star games Yao Ming was a part of despite missing extensive time throughout those seasons.
This will be the beta test for the NBA's elimination of the "center" designation from the ballot. Instead, "front court" and "back court" players can be voted in instead, giving hybrid players like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett a greater chance to make the team.
Here's a look at the starters for the East and West squads that will face off on All-Star Weekend on Feb. 17 in Houston, Texas.
Eastern Conference Starters
|Western Conference Starters|
|G, Rajon Rondo — Boston Celtics|| G Chris Paul — Los Angeles Clippers
|G Dwyane Wade — Miami Heat|| G Kobe Bryant — Los Angeles Lakers
|F LeBron James — Miami Heat|| F Kevin Durant — Oklahoma City Thunder
|F Carmelo Anthony — New York Knicks|| F Blake Griffin — Los Angeles Clippers
|F/C Kevin Garnett — Boston Celtics|| C Dwight Howard — Los Angeles Lakers
The Miami Heat's official Twitter account wasted no time in giving the team's fans a sneak peak at what their two All-Star starters will wear when they grace the Houston floor:
Here's a look at LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in their NBA All-Star uniforms instagr.am/p/UmreGzEMhH/— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 18, 2013
In case you missed it, here's an NBA on TNT tweet with the video outlining the East starters:
One of the biggest controversies was if Jeremy Lin was going to follow in Yao's footsteps and win the fan vote, even if he didn't feel he was the best at his position. It turns out it doesn't matter, as Chris Paul grabbed the nod (tweet courtesy of NBA.com's Jeff Caplan):
Knicks Nation on Twitter had just one word—wow—to describe the feeling of many Knicks faithful when it comes to Garnett grabbing the starting nod over New York center Tyson Chandler:
Kevin Garnett starts over Tyson Chandler in the EAST VS WEST All star game. wow.— Knicks Nation (@KnicksNation) January 18, 2013
As Lakers reporter Mike Trudell noted, Kobe Bryant now has the record for most consecutive All-Star game appearances, and he was this year's most-clicked name during voting:
So @kobebryant broke the NBA record for most consecutive All-Star nods (15) in style, as the leading vote getter (1,591,437).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 18, 2013
Here's a look at both teams' starters and the number of votes each starter received, courtesy of Bleacher Report's own Twitter feed:
As B/R's own Ethan Sherwood Strauss notes, it's almost laughable that the Lakers have two All-Star starters—and that one of them is named Howard:
Kobe deserves a starting All Star spot. Dwight should apologize to Marc Gasol.— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) January 18, 2013
Kevin Durant took to Twitter just minutes after he was announced as a starter, thanking fans for their continued support during his six-year career:
Thank you thank you thank you thank you for voting me into my 4th all star game..such a blessing, and it means alot to me— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 18, 2013
More Dwight Howard hate in the starting lineup from Charles Barkley on the broadcast (tweet via Arash Markazi of ESPN LA):
Charles Barkley: "I don't think Dwight Howard has had an all-star season this year."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 18, 2013
There's been a lot of talk about David Lee and Tim Duncan snubs (and deservedly so after Howard got in), but Trudell revealed that Duncan wasn't even close when it came to fan voting:
Tim Duncan (who’d be my third front court starter) wasn’t close to highlight-heavy Blake Griffin’s 863,832 votes with 492,373 (4th in West).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 18, 2013
Dan Woike will close us out with this tweet, showing the West jerseys on starters Paul and Griffin:
Who is the most glaring omission from the All-Star starting lineups?
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.