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Pau Gasol has a shot at All-Star team

Phil Jackson can't vote for one of his players, but he's behind his forward, who was on the team in 2006.

January 28, 2009|Broderick Turner and Mike Bresnahan

On Thursday, Lakers forward Pau Gasol will find out whether he has been selected to the Western Conference All-Star team.

His coach, Phil Jackson, will be coach the West team, and his teammate, Kobe Bryant, will be on the team as a starter.

The West coaches vote for the reserve players in their conference, but they can't vote for a player on their own team. The coaches' votes were due Tuesday and they had to decide on two forwards, two guards, one center and two wild cards.

"I would love to be a part of it," said Gasol, who played in the 2006 All-Star game while with the Memphis Grizzlies. "I think it's something that gives me a lot of pride and I think it's an honor to be a part of that game. The coaches are the people who watch you every day and know what you contribute to the league."

Gasol, who had a rare off game against Charlotte on Tuesday, was seventh in the voting for West forwards, behind starters Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Amare Stoudemire of Phoenix. He probably will be in a race at forward with Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Denver's Carmelo Anthony.

When asked if Gasol deserved to be selected to the All-Star team, Jackson was emphatic.

"Oh, without a doubt," Jackson said. "I said, 'I won't be actively soliciting votes for him. I won't go out and call coaches. I think your play speaks for itself.' "

Gasol, averaging 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds before Tuesday night's game when he made only four of 16 shots, has been a big part of the Lakers' success since he arrived almost a year ago in a trade from the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 1.

The Lakers haven't lost more than two consecutive games since Gasol joined the team.

"Feb. [1] is like a holiday, seriously," Gasol said, smiling. "I do realize that it's a special date for me and I'll remember it for a long time I think."

Mr. Popular

Bryant reclaimed the title of having the most popular jersey in the NBA, and Gasol jumped from 15th at the end of last season to sixth in jersey sales, according to figures to be released today by the NBA.

Bryant finished second last season to Boston forward Kevin Garnett, but the two have switched spots at the midpoint of the season. Cleveland forward LeBron James is third in jersey popularity, followed by New Orleans guard Chris Paul and Detroit guard Allen Iverson.

The Lakers lead all teams in merchandise sales, according to figures compiled by and the NBA store in New York. The Lakers were second last season to the Boston Celtics.

Despite the sagging economy, December was the best sales month in history for the NBA Store and, with combined sales up 10% over the same time period last year, according to the league.

No reprimand?

It appears Lakers forward Lamar Odom won't be reprimanded by the NBA after a gesture he made against the Clippers last week.

During the Lakers' 108-97 victory, Odom dunked the basketball and grabbed his crotch. Clippers assistant general manager Neil Olshey complained to the NBA and asked the league to investigate Odom's move.

But indications from league officials are that NBA disciplinarian Stu Jackson won't do anything to Odom after reviewing the incident.


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