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NBA James, Anthony to join forces for rookie game

Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Rookie Challenge will be played on the Friday of All-Star Weekend.
CLEVELAND -- If you can't beat him, join him.
LeBron James couldn't beat the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony in high school and so far is 0-2 at the pro level. But the two will join forces next month for the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles.
James and Anthony were named to the rookie team on Tuesday. The squad will take on a team of second-year players. He'll be playing against Cavaliers teammate Carlos Boozer, who was named to the sophomore team.
For the first time, the game will be played on Friday of All-Star Weekend, which is Feb. 13, at 9 p.m.
That is, in no small part, due to the fame of James and Anthony that has made the game its own draw this year. As a result, James and Anthony will be required to play in the game, even if they get selected to play in the big game on Sunday, Feb. 15.
The starters
The starters for the All-Star Game will be announced Thursday and the reserves will be released Tuesday.
Even with their rookie status, James and Anthony are expected to have a chance to be voted in as reserves by the league's coaches.
"He's certainly putting up the numbers and we're starting to win now," Cavaliers coach Paul Silas said. "Not too many players are doing any better. From the coaches' standpoint, I think he'll have a chance."
James doesn't seem too concerned about his selection. After being on the fence for several weeks, though, he did rule out participating in the Slam Dunk Contest over concerns about his still-healing sprained right ankle.
"I've thought about it, but with my ankle you can put me down as a no (for the dunk contest)," James said. "I think I've played well in the first half and right now we're playing pretty well. If (the coaches) select me fine, if not, fine."
James and Anthony will be joined on the rookie team by Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, the Washington Wizards' Jarvis Hayes, the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Kaman, the Chicago Bulls' Kirk Hinrich, the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh, and the Dallas Mavericks' Josh Howard.
Boozer will play on the sophomore team with the Houston Rockets' Yao Ming, the Golden State Warriors' Mike Dunleavy, the San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili, the Detroit Pistons' Tayshaun Prince, the Phoenix Suns' Amare Stoudemire, the Seattle SuperSonics' Flip Murray, the Nuggets' Nene Hilario and the Clippers' Marko Jaric.