Dallas–Hawks PR man Arthur Triche confirmed that Joe Johnson has been told he will make his first All-Star start on Sunday.
Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy, who is coaching the Eastern Conference for Sunday’s All-Star game, decided to start Johnson in place of Allen Iverson. Iverson bowed out of the game for personal reasons.
Van Gundy chose from among East guards Johnson, Rajon Rondo of Boston and Derrick Rose of Chicago. Rondo and Rose are first-time All-Stars while Johnson will play in his fourth straight game.
“I’m extremely excited by this honor, and appreciative that I’ve been selected,” Johnson told Triche. “Thanks to Coach Van Gundy for having the confidence in me and I hope to represent the Hawks well on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Johnson declined an opportunity to play for the U.S. national team at the 2010 world championships and 2012 Olympics.
USA Basketball national director Jerry Colangelo approached Johnson about being included in the 27-player pool for international competitions.
“I did it a few years back (at the 2006 FIBA World Championships),” Johnson said today at All-Star weekend. “I’m just not feeling it now. There is no disrespect intended at all–me and Jerry go way back to when I played for the Suns–but I just didn’t feel it.”
Colangelo said no other Hawks players were asked to join the player pool.
“Not on this go-around,” he said. “A lot of them are deserving but we are kind of limited by numbers.”