Move over LeBron James. Take a seat Dwight Howard. Sit down Dwyane Wade. Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Smith and a bunch of tech-savvy Atlanta Hawks fans are gunning to make you sit down and watch the opening tip at the 2011 All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Fans of the ATL's bird basketball team can help six Hawks players soar into the NBA's star-studded event on Feb. 20, 2011. Aside from the three aforementioned Hawkie-Hawks, Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford and Marvin Williams are also listed on the ballot, which includes 120 players from the NBA's 30 teams.
The NBA keeps on rolling out all sorts of ways to vote for your favorite All-Star. Text message, mobile web, NBA.com and some sort of new-fangled HP printout ballot highlight the possible ways you can vote for your favorite Hawks star for the East. Call me a little bit old fashioned, but I am all about that piece of paper you get while watching Smith swat shots and Johnson put the ball into the hole at the "Highlight Factory."
The question for Hawks fans is whether Johnson, a four-time All-Star, can finally break through and win the fan balloting at guard. Yes, Wade is a lock for one of those spots. But the No. 2 spot, which went to an undeserving Allen Iverson last season, is up for grabs. Johnson will have to overcome a challenge from Vince Carter of the Orlando Magic, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose if he wants to star for the Eastern Conference in Tinseltown.
Smith is hungry to return to All-Star weekend for the first time since he won the Slam Dunk Competition in 2005 -- but actually play in the big game this time. While he certainly won't be able to overcome the sheer star power of James, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to crack the starting roster, Atlanta's electrifying shot swatting forward is emphatically stating his case for a star-studded ticket to Hollywood -- especially after last year's snub.
The same should be said for Horford, who has emerged as arguably the second-best center in the East behind All-Star lock Howard. I'd be shocked if Big Al, who was named to the All-Star team for the first time last year doesn't return there this year.
Paper and in-arena balloting continues through Jan. 17 while fans can vote for their favorite Hawks via mobile, text and online-balloting through Jan. 23. The starters will be announced on TNT on Jan. 27.