Mourning returns to All-Star game

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alonzo Mourning, sidelined for nearly all of last season by a kidney disorder, added another achievement to his comeback when he was picked Tuesday for the NBA All-Star game.

Mourning was among the reserves announced for the event Feb. 10 in Philadelphia. The Miami Heat center was chosen for the seventh time, though he has missed three All-Star games because of injury or illness.

''I'm fortunate to be voted in by the coaches,'' said Mourning, who is averaging 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds this season. ''I want to thank my teammates first and foremost, because without them none of this would have been possible.''

Paul Pierce of Boston, Jermaine O'Neal of Indiana and Shareef Abdur-Rahim of Atlanta were chosen as first-time All-Stars on the East team.

Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash of Dallas, Wally Szczerbiak of Minnesota and Peja Stojakovic of Sacramento were first-time picks on the West.

Also chosen with Mourning as East reserves were Ray Allen (Milwaukee), Jason Kidd (New Jersey) and Tracy McGrady (Orlando). The other West reserves are Karl Malone (Utah), Gary Payton (Seattle) and Chris Webber (Sacramento).

Reserves were selected in a vote by NBA coaches, who could not vote for their own players, while fans voted on the starters.

Mourning, 31, missed the first 69 games of last season because of focal glomerulosclerosis. The kidney condition is in remission, though it forces him to take eight pills a day and limits his exercise.

Mourning missed Miami's game Monday night in Salt Lake City because of flulike symptoms.

''It's great, he deserves it,'' Miami coach Pat Riley said. ''I know he feels good about it, although he would feel better if he were playing right now. It's testimony to a guy that got off to a bit of a slow start and began getting stronger and better.''

The East starters are Michael Jordan (Washington), Vince Carter (Toronto), Antoine Walker (Boston), Allen Iverson (Philadelphia) and Dikembe Mutombo (Philadelphia).

Starting for the West are Shaquille O'Neal (Los Angeles Lakers), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Tim Duncan (San Antonio), Steve Francis (Houston) and Kevin Garnett (Minnesota). Francis also is a first-time All-Star.

Malone is a 14-time All-Star and Payton is an eight-time pick. Kidd earned his fifth All-Star berth, Webber was selected for the fourth time, Allen for the third and McGrady for the second.

A record five All-Stars were born outside the United States: Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Mutombo (Congo), Nash (Canada), Nowitzki (Germany) and Stojakovic (Yugoslavia). Nash is the first Canadian All-Star.

New Jersey's Byron Scott will coach the East and Dallas' Don Nelson will guide the West.



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