Bulls guard Derrick Rose was selected a starter for the NBA's All-Star Game, which will be played on Feb. 26 at Amway Center in Orlando. It's Rose's third consecutive All-Star selection in his four-year NBA career and second consecutive start.
''It means a lot. It's something I take to heart,'' said Rose, who is averaging 23.1 points and 7.7 assists per game this season.
Rose was the second-leading vote-getter (1,514,723) on the Eastern Conference team behind Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (1,600,390) and third overall behind the Lakers' Kobe Bryant (1,555,479).
''It means a lot, especially from our fans to vote for me,'' Rose said prior to the Bulls' game against the Knicks Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. ''I didn't [realize] that I had all those votes. It shows a lot. I don't take anything for granted. I'm appreciative of every one one of my fans that went on line and voted for me for granted. I appreciate them all. And I hope they continue to watch me.''
Rose will be joined in the starting line by Howard, the Miami Heat's LeBron James (1,360,680 votes) and Dwyane Wade (1,334,223) and the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (1,041,290).
''It's definitely fun [playing with James, Wade and the other All-Stars],'' Rose said. ''You learn more leadership skills, especially playing on a team like that where every one of them is a different type of leader. Me being a young player, that's something I can take from there and add to this team.''
Bulls center Joakim Noah was runner-up to Howard in voting at center with 236,497 votes. Luol Deng was sixth among forwards (276,205). Carlos Boozer was eighth (175,828). Richard Hamilton, who has played in only 11 of the Bulls' 24 games, was seventh among guards in the West (111,368).
The Western Conference starters are Bryant, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (1,345,566), the Clippers' Chris Paul (1,138,743) and Blake Griffin (876,451) and the Lakers' Andrew Bynum (1,051,945).
Bryant, one of only two four-time All-Star Game MVPs (Hall of Famer Bob Petit is the other), was named to his 14th consecutive All-Star team, tying Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal for the most in league history.
Reserves for the All-Star teams will be selected by a vote of the 30 NBA head coaches. The reserves will be announced on Feb. 9.