For the first time in about 13 years, Chicago fans might actually have a reason to watch the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 20.
OK, I'm still not going to watch it. It's bad basketball. But I am glad that Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was selected to start for the Eastern Conference. Rose is the first Bull to be so honored since Michael Jordan in 1998. This selection is deserved.
NBA analyst Charles Barkley thinks Rose is the MVP of the league, and I agree with him. Rose is the only player in the NBA to rank in the top 10 in both points per game (24.6) and assists per game (8.1).
In addition, the second- and third-best players on the Bulls -- Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah -- have both missed significant time due to injury this year. Yet the Bulls have a 31-14 record. They are third in the East and only a half-game behind ESPN's favorite NBA team, the Miami Heat (31-13), for second.
Who has been more valuable to his team this year than Rose? I can't think of anyone. The stress might be catching up with him, though. He was diagnosed with stomach ulcers on Thursday. I guess that will happen sometimes when you've been carrying a whole team on your back.
Rose will be joined in the East starting lineup by Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, New York's Amare Stoudemire and Orlando's Dwight Howard.
The Western Conference starters are Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant, New Orleans' Chris Paul, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Denver's Carmelo Anthony and Houston's Yao Ming.
Yeah, people in China are still voting in big numbers. Yao is out for the year and can't play, but there he is on the All-Star team. NBA commissioner David Stern will name a replacement to take Yao's spot on the Western roster.