- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

It took NBA commissioner David Stern only one day to add Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas to the Eastern Conference All-Star team after the East’s coaches left Arenas off the reserve unit.

“It’s an honor for the organization, an honor for me and an honor for my family,” said Arenas, an All-Star for the second consecutive season. “It’s nice for our fans to get to enjoy having an All-Star that’s representing their city.”

Stern named Arenas as the replacement for injured Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O’Neal.

Arenas, the fourth-leading scorer in the league at 28.2 points a game, said he had no problem with the coaches not voting him onto the team.

“Man, I’m just happy I made it,” he said. “If I was a coach, it would be a difficult situation. You have a lot of talented guards in the East, so someone is going to get left out every year. I’m just happy to be there this year.”

Arenas was visibly upset when he learned after the Wizards’ 129-124 victory against Golden State on Wednesday night that he was not selected to play in the Feb. 19 game in Houston.

Before the reserves were named Wednesday, Arenas said he would have no problem with Pistons guards Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton being selected. Both players were — along with New Jersey’s Vince Carter.

If that had not changed, Arenas would have been just the third player in league history to average at least 28 points and not make the All-Star team. The others were Dick Barnett in 1966 and World B. Free in 1979.

Since the 1969-70 season, only 10 players have been in the top five in scoring at the All-Star break and failed to make the team.

Arenas also averages 5.9 assists a game.

Coaches, who turned in their ballots Monday, voted for seven reserves: two guards, two forwards, a center and two wild-card players. They were not permitted to vote for their own players.

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan admitted he was somewhat stunned when he found out his colleagues had not selected Arenas.

“I thought it was hard to take when he wasn’t chosen,” he said before last night’s victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Gilbert has been phenomenal for us throughout the season, and his play has helped put us in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. We’re all very excited and grateful that Commissioner Stern recognized Gilbert as one of basketball’s true stars.”

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