Dwight Howard Leads All Players in Fan Votes as NBA All-Star Game 2012 Starters Announced

adidas; used with permission

Dwight Howard will start at center for the Eastern Conference when the NBA All-Star Game tips off in Orlando later this month, the NBA announced Thursday. The news is scarcely a surprise, as the 2012 game will mark fifth consecutive All-Star start for the Orlando Magic's franchise player. Howard led all players with 1,600,390 votes. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wasn't far behind, at 1,555,479 votes.

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, Miami Heat wings Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will join Howard in the East's starting lineup. Out West, Lakers center Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin and point guard Chris Paul, and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant are set to take the floor with Bryant when the game begins. Tipoff is set for 8 Eastern on TNT on Sunday, February 26th.

Relatedly, adidas unveiled the uniforms and special All-Star shoe colorways on Thursday. Howard will wear his signature adiPower Howard sneaker in an orange colorway. This special model will be made available for sale to the general public on February 23rd for $110 at eastbay.com, shopadidas.com, and Foot Locker. The shoe will also be on sale at the NBA All-Star Jam Session, which is held at the Orange County Convention Center from February 23rd-26th.

Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu joined Howard in representing the host city on the ballot, but none of the three finished in the top 10 in fan voting at their respective positions. Unless the league's coaches vote Ryan Anderson in as a reserve, Howard will be Orlando's lone representative for the fifth time in his six career All-Star appearances; the coaches named Nelson and Rashard Lewis to the team in 2009.

Among Eastern Conference power forwards, Anderson ranks 3rd in scoring (16.5 points per game), 10th in rebounding (7.1 per game), second in True Shooting percentage (59.9 percent), and first in Player Efficiency Rating (23.8).

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