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O'Neal gains 15th All-Star selection
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Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal earned his 15th NBA All-Star selection on Thursday when he was named among the 14 reserves for the Feb 15 game in Phoenix.

O'Neal's nomination, announced by the NBA, makes him the second most prolific All-Star of all time, headed only by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who played in 19 All-Star games.

Joining O'Neal on the Western Conference bench are Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets), Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Brandon Roy (Portland Trail Blazers) and David West (New Orleans Hornets).

Spanish forward Gasol, who joined the Lakers last February, was delighted to receive his second All-Star invitation.

"It's an honor to be selected to the All-Star team and I'd like to thank all the coaches who voted for me," Gasol said in a statement.

Three players gained All-Star invitations for the first time on the Eastern Conference bench - Devin Harris (New Jersey Nets), Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers) and Jameer Nelson (Orlando Magic).

They will join Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks), Rashard Lewis (Orlando Magic) and Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics).

The 10 starters, voted by NBA fans, were announced last week.

Starting teams:

Eastern Conference - Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics), Allen Iverson (Detroit Pistons), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)

Western Conference- Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns), Yao Ming (Houston Rockets)

(Agencies via China Daily Feburary 1, 2009)

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