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All-Star game special for Sparks' Tina Thompson

The forward says it 'means a lot' because she didn't expect to be on the team and hasn't been playing her best.

July 25, 2009|Mark Medina

At first, Sparks forward Tina Thompson joked that her All-Star appearance was more of a hassle than an honor.

Instead of resting up for the second half of the season, she flew cross-country.

Thompson departed Thursday evening from L.A., had a layover in New York and arrived Friday morning in Uncasville, Conn., where the WNBA All-Star game takes place at 12:30 p.m. PDT today at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Thompson, an All-Star reserve, injured her thumb against the Washington Mystics on July 11 but is willing to expose her vulnerability for the potential bragging rights.

Thompson, who won four league championships with the Houston Comets and two Olympic gold medals, acknowledged that this All-Star appearance was special.

"It means a lot simply because I didn't expect it," she said. "I wouldn't say that I'm playing my best basketball right now. I've definitely had some moments of greatness, but for the most part I feel like I could be better."

She is the lone Sparks representative now since Lisa Leslie, who fans voted to start at center, was forced to bow out of what would have been her eighth All-Star game because of a sprained right knee. It is Thompson's eighth appearance as well.

The West features Lauren Jackson, Swin Cash and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm; Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter of the Phoenix Mercury; Becky Hammon and Sophia Young of the San Antonio Silver Stars; and Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston of the Minnesota Lynx.

The East team features Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas of the Indiana Fever; Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics; Katie Smith of the Detroit Shock; Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles and Jia Perkins of the Chicago Sky; Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza of the Atlanta Dream; Shameka Christon of the New York Liberty; and Asjha Jones of the Connecticut Sun.

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mark.medina@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesmedina

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