NEW YORK (AP) - The NBA shifted Tim Duncan from center to forward on its All-Star ballot on Wednesday, boosting the San Antonio player's chances of making his ninth consecutive start.
The seven-member media panel that selected the players for the original ballot had Duncan as a center, even though he has always been listed as a forward. He was voted to start for the Western Conference each of the last eight seasons, but that streak would have been in jeopardy if he was a center.
Houston center Yao Ming gets overwhelming support from China and has been elected to start every year of his career. He received the highest vote total in history in 2005, and the fourth-highest ever last season.
``It's great that they did that. ... It makes total sense and we're thrilled that they made that change,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in San Antonio. ``That's what he's been, he's been that way (a power forward) for 10 years. There's no reason to change it.''
Though the paper ballots can't be changed, Duncan will be moved to forward on the online ballot on www.nba.com. All votes he has received or receives in the future will be credited toward him at forward.
The All-Star game is Feb. 17 in New Orleans.
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Associated Press Writer Elizabeth White in San Antonio contributed to this report.
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