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updated: 1/27/2011 9:23 PM

Rose first Bull to be All-Star Game starter since Jordan

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  • Associated PressCeltics guard Rajon Rondo, bottom, dives as he tries to control the ball against Bulls guard Derrick Rose in November.

      Associated PressCeltics guard Rajon Rondo, bottom, dives as he tries to control the ball against Bulls guard Derrick Rose in November.

 
 

Bulls fans are welcome to celebrate the team's first starter in an NBA All-Star Game since Michael Jordan in 1998.

"I'm feeling really loved right now and I appreciate all the support that helped me earn a starting position in the All-Star Game," Rose said. "I want to thank all the fans that voted, especially the people from my hometown of Chicago.

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"I also want to give thanks to the Bulls organization that did a great job promoting me, and most of all I want to thank my teammates and coaches for putting me in this position."

Remember, Rose kicked off media day at the start of training camp by asking why he can't be the league's MVP. So the honor of starting in an All-Star Game should mean something to him.

"My whole thing was to just be on the all-star team," he said. "It wasn't about being a starter or anything like that. For me to be the first one -- if I am, it would be great, but I don't think about Michael Jordan or anything like that.

"Things like that really don't get to me. That's not the type of thing that's going to excite me. I'll be happy, but it's nothing like I'm going to have a party or have a whole bunch of people over to celebrate. That's just the way I am."

Rose will start in the Eastern Conference backcourt next to Miami's Dwyane Wade another Chicago native. The other East starters are Miami's LeBron James and New York's Amare Stoudemire at forward, along with Orlando's Dwight Howard at center. The All-Star Game will be held Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.

After running third in early voting, Rose surged past Boston's Rajon Rondo. Rose was named an all-star reserve last year.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau talked about the likelihood of Rose being named an all-star starter after Thursday's practice.

"To me, that's the fans and it's their game," Thibodeau said. "I certainly think he's more than worthy. What he's done for our team speaks for itself. He's had a great season, the team's played well, so I think he's earned it."

"They got it 100 perecent right," said TNT analyst Charles Barkley. "Derrick Rose has been the MVP for the first half of the season, and Amar'e Stoudemire is in the conversation. The fans got it right. You know I hate the fans voting, but they got it right."

The Western Conference starters are Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, the Hornets' Chris Paul, Kevin Durant of the Thunder, the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony and Yao Ming of the Rockets. Since Yao is out for the season after undergoing foot surgery, NBA Commissioner David Stern will name a replacement on the roster.

The league also announced Thursday that Rose is in the running to participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, an event he won two years ago as a rookie.

Paul will be one of the contestants, while fans can go to nba.com and vote for the other four participants. The ballot includes Rose, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, Washington rookie John Wall, Golden State's Stephen Curry, Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, San Antonio's Tony Parker, the Los Angeles Clippers' Baron Davis and Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher.

Rose missed practice the past two days while being diagnosed with two stomach ulcers. He's hoping to be able to play Friday against Orlando at the United Center.

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