Here is the official press release:
Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard Leads all Players
Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic tops the NBA after the first returns of 2012 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint. Howard, the Kia Defensive Player of the Year each of the past three seasons, is the overall leader with 754,737 votes.
The 2012 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 Amway Center in Orlando – on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012.
Howard paces centers in the East, followed by the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah (75,038). LeBron James leads Eastern Conference forwards with 640,789 votes, followed by Carmelo Anthony (496,351) of the New York Knicks. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls leads Eastern Conference guards with 640,476 votes, followed by Miami’s Dwyane Wade (637,912).
Bryant’s 690,613 votes leads Western Conference guards, with the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul placing second (540,173). Durant’s 633,538 votes lead forwards in the West, with Blake Griffin of the Clippers next in line with 394,264 votes. The Lakers’ Andrew Bynum paces Western Conference centers with 496,597 votes, followed by the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan (134,961).
2012 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint gives fans around the world the opportunity to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. There are several ways fans can cast their votes as part of this season’s all-digital program, including in 16 languages on NBA.com or by visiting m.NBA.com on any wireless carrier. Fans also can vote through mobile phones by texting the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”) in the U.S. and to 3-8-6-5-7 (“DUNKS”) in Canada. Sprint customers in the U.S. can also access the ballot and vote through the new “Sprint NBA Mobile” application, the most comprehensive app in the marketplace for NBA fans.
2012 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint also includes expanded SMS voting. Fans can now vote for 10 different players per day, per phone number, via SMS voting by sending 10 separate SMS messages, each one with a different player’s last name. Fans can vote for All-Stars via SMS at any time by texting from their mobile phones. Message and data rates may apply. Previously, fans could cast one SMS vote for one player per day.
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 on Thursday, Jan. 19. Wireless and SMS balloting, as well as voting on NBA.com, will conclude on Jan. 31. Starters will be announced live on TNT on Feb. 2, during a special one-hour pregame show at 7 p.m. ET featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith. The special will air prior to TNT’s exclusive doubleheader featuring the Chicago Bulls at the New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET) and the Denver Nuggets at the Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET). There will also be a special one-hour pregrame show on TNT on Feb. 9 to announce the All-Star reserves.
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: Bill Simmons (Grantland), Sekou Smith (NBA.com), Doug Smith (Toronto Star/PBWA), and Ian Thomsen (Sports Illustrated).
NBA All-Star 2012 in Orlando will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for a 10th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 28th year of All-Star coverage. NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm will feature the Haier Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk. Other events at NBA All-Star 2012 will include the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, and NBA All-Star Jam Session. Orlando also hosted NBA All-Star in 1992.
The leaders of both the Eastern and Western Conference players for the first returns of 2012 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint are below:
2012 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY SPRINT
Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 640,789; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 496,351; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 178,797; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 173,161; Chris Bosh (Mia) 140,601; Paul Pierce (Bos) 94,071; Luol Deng (Chi) 85,086; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 54,739; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 53,477; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 43,154.
Guards: Derrick Rose (Chi) 640,476; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 637,912; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 253,969; Ray Allen (Bos) 174,934; Deron Williams (NJN) 89,128; Jose Calderon (Tor) 42,929; John Wall (Was) 38,025; Richard Hamilton (Chi) 36,418; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 27,713; Joe Johnson (Atl) 23,384.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 754,737; Joakim Noah (Chi) 75,038; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 61,774; Joel Anthony (Mia) 41,832; JaVale McGee (Was) 24,713; Al Horford (Atl) 23,546.
2012 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY SPRINT
Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 633,538; Blake Griffin (LAC) 394,264; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 231,832; Pau Gasol (LAL) 185,428; Kevin Love (Min) 143,814; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 118,268; Tim Duncan (SA) 81,783; Lamar Odom (Dal) 59,686; Metta World Peace (LAL) 39,006; Danilo Gallinari (Den) 34,438.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 690,613; Chris Paul (LAC) 540,173; Ricky Rubio (Min) 133,520; Steve Nash (Pho) 118,922; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 107,197; Kyle Lowry (Hou) 90,725; Monta Ellis (GS) 63,696; Manu Ginobili (SA) 50,765; Jason Kidd (Dal) 49,596; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 42,657.
Centers: Andrew Bynum (LAL) 496,597; DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 134,961; Marc Gasol (Mem) 102,116; Nenê (Den) 94,167; Marcin Gortat (Pho) 62,631; Kendrick Perkins (OKC) 41,579.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)