Here is the official word from the Orlando Magic:
DWIGHT HOWARD LEADS THE EASTERN CONFERENCE IN VOTING AFTER FIRST RETURNS OF 2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
–Howard ranks second overall in the NBA–
Dec. 16, 2010 –Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic leads the Eastern Conference in voting after the first returns of 2011 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by T-Mobile. Howard ranks second overall in voting for the entire NBA behind only Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant, The Finals MVP last season, is the overall leader with 722,682 votes, while Howard paces the East with 611,561 votes.
The 2011 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles – on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.
Howard, the leading vote-getter in the Eastern Conference with 611,561 votes paces centers in the East, followed by the Boston Celtics’ Shaquille O’Neal (241,782). LeBron James, a two-time All-Star MVP (2006, 2008), leads all Eastern Conference forwards with 607,994 votes, followed by the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (456,111), MVP of the 2003 All-Star Game. The Heat’s Dwyane Wade, last year’s All-Star Game MVP, paces guards in the East with 570,489 votes; the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo is second (497,141).
In the Western Conference, Bryant, a three-time All-Star MVP, who garnered the honor in 2002, 2007 and 2009, is followed at guard by the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul (386,649). Kevin Durant, a member of last year’s All-NBA First Team, paces forwards in the West (470,881), with the Lakers’ Pau Gasol (390,808) second. The Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming (430,984) is the leading vote-getter among Western Conference centers, with the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum (198,044) following.
2011 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by T-Mobile, with associate partner 2K Sports, allows fans around the world to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. Paper balloting will continue through Jan. 17, while wireless balloting and voting on NBA.com will conclude Jan. 23. There are several ways fans can cast their votes, including: at each NBA arena; in 20 languages on NBA.com; and through mobile phones by texting the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”) or by visiting m.nba.com on any wireless carrier.
For SMS voting, fans can vote for All-Stars any time by texting a player’s last name from their mobile phones on any wireless carrier. Fans can cast one SMS vote per day, per phone number. Message and data rates may apply. T-Mobile customers will receive an exclusive 15 percent discount code to NBAStore.com for voting via SMS voting. Upon voting, T-Mobile customers will get a bounceback message with a discount code for them to use on NBAStore.com.
Fans can vote directly on NBA.com or use their Facebook profile information to help create an NBA.com All-Access account, which enables them to complete a ballot. After submitting their All-Star selections, fans will have the ability to share them with their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter, and encourage others to cast their ballots.
Updated results for the Eastern and Western Conferences will be issued regularly leading up to the announcement of the All-Star starters. Starters will be announced live on TNT on Jan. 27, during a special one-hour pregame show at 7 P.M. ET featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, prior to TNT’s exclusive doubleheader Following the completion of fan voting and the starting line-up announcement, the head coaches in each conference will vote to determine the remaining All-Stars in their respective conference, which will be announced Thursday, Feb 3, prior to a TNT doubleheader.
The NBA All-Star ballot lists 120 players – 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences – with 24 guards, 24 forwards, and 12 centers from each conference comprising the list. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference. The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media who regularly cover the NBA: J.A. Adande (ESPN.com), Marv Albert (TNT), Art Garcia (NBA.com) Marc Spears (Yahoo! Sports), Doug Smith (The Toronto Star) and Ian Thomsen (Sports Illustrated).
NBA All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. The week leading up to the 60th NBA All-Star Game will feature a full slate of community-enhancing activities, fan festivals and events, including the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, and NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm. NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas, the hugely successful interactive basketball celebration, will return to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Los Angeles and the STAPLES Center will host NBA All-Star 2011, marking the fifth time The City of Angels and the second time STAPLES Center will be the site of the annual celebration. STAPLES Center last played host to NBA All-Star in 2004, and L.A. also hosted the All-Star Game in 1963, 1972, and 1983.
In conjunction with All-Star Balloting, 2K Sports will give fans the opportunity to experience Los Angeles and the best of basketball by entering the NBA® 2K11Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to NBA All-Star 2011 and have their likeness as a digitized player incorporated in next year’s game, NBA® 2K12.
Click below to see the leaders of both the Eastern and Western Conference players for the first returns of the 2011 NBA All-Star voting program.
2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 607,994; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 456,111; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 327,626 Paul Pierce (Bos) 235,107; Chris Bosh (Mia) 161,801; Josh Smith (Atl) 104,713; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 82,655; Andre Iguodala (Phi) 71,517; Danny Granger (Ind) 66,759; Luol Deng (Chi) 52,398.
Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 570,489; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 497,141; Derrick Rose (Chi) 424,356; Ray Allen (Bos) 235,977; John Wall (Was) 120,284; Vince Carter (Orl) 117,628; Gilbert Arenas (Was) 88,599; Brandon Jennings (Mil) 65,705; Joe Johnson (Atl) 46,811; Jamal Crawford (Atl) 31,524.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 611,561; Shaquille O’Neal (Bos) 241,782; Joakim Noah (Chi) 97,163; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 53,275; Al Horford (Atl) 49,098; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 48,298; Brook Lopez (NJ) 38,103; JaVale McGee (Was) 36,227; Roy Hibbert (Ind) 35,006; Ben Wallace (Det) 21,858.
2011 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING
Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 470,881; Pau Gasol (LAL) 390,808; Carmelo Anthony (Den) 369,768; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 264,301; Tim Duncan (SA) 247,364; Blake Griffin (LAC) 245,167; Lamar Odom (LAL) 134,594; Luis Scola (Hou) 119,901; Caron Butler (Dal) 96,785; Kevin Love (Min) 81,865.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 722,682; Chris Paul (NO) 386,649; Manu Ginobili (SA) 230,137; Steve Nash (Pho) 190,226; Deron Williams (Utah) 184,148; Jason Kidd (Dal) 141,283; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 140,519; Eric Gordon (LAC) 113,510; Tony Parker (SA) 103,238, Derek Fisher (LAL) 81,088.
Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 430,984; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 198,044; Brendan Haywood (Dal) 127,375; Marc Gasol (Mem) 120,811; Emeka Okafor (NOH) 115,647; Nene (Den) 105,747; Chris Kaman (LAC) 87,536; Marcus Camby (Por) 57,046; DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 37,571; Andris Biedrins (GS) 36,655.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).