NBA Eastern Conference coaches voted Hawks guard Joe Johnson and center Al Horford to the All-Star team, the league announced tonight.
The Hawks last had two All-Stars in the same year in 1998, when Dikembe Mutombo and Steve
Smith both made the team.
It’s the fourth straight All-Star selection for Johnson but the first for Horford. The Hawks selected Horford with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Florida and he’s already an All-Star at age 23.
“It’s like a dream come true for me,” he said. “When you’re playing basketball as a kid, you envision yourself making it to the NBA. And once you make it to this level, you work so hard to get to an All- Star level.
“It’s just a blessing for me to take part in this game.”
Johnson, 28, is the first Hawks player to reach four consecutive All-Star games since Mutombo from 1997-2001 (the game wasn’t played in 1999 due to the lockout). The Hawks acquired Johnson in a trade with Phoenix in August 2005.
“It means a lot to me to be selected as an All-Star again,” Johnson said. “It’s really a tribute to the Atlanta Hawks organization, and my teammates and coaches. I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years, and over the summers, and it’s always nice to see it pay off.”
Hawks coach Mike Woodson also had lobbied coaches to vote for forward Josh Smith to make his first All-Star team but he couldn’t make an East roster that includes forwards Paul Pierce of Boston, Chris Bosh of Toronto and Gerald Wallace of Charlotte.
Rounding out the East reserves are Boston guard Rajon Rondo and Chicago guard Derrick Rose. Rondo, Wallace and Rose are also first-time All-Stars.
The All-Star game will be played Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Irving, Tex.
The 30 NBA head coaches were asked to vote for seven players in their conference: two guards, two forwards, one center and two players regardless of position. They were not allowed to vote for players on their team.
The West reserves include Utah’s Deron Williams, New Orleans’ Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Memphis’ Zach Randolph and Portland’s Brandon Roy.
The starting lineups, selected by fan voting, were announced last week. The East starters are Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Orlando’s Dwight Howard. Starting for the West are Phoenix’s Steve Nash, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire.