Ratliff awarded All-Star berth

This article was originally published in the Inquirer on January 31, 2001.

Theo Ratliff will make his NBA All-Star Game debut in the Feb. 11 showcase in Washington.

Ratliff, the 76ers' 6-foot-10 center, and 13 other players were added to the rosters yesterday by a vote of the coaches in the Eastern and Western Conferences. He will join teammate Allen Iverson, one of the starters who were voted in by fans.

"I'm excited," Ratliff said yesterday. "It's a great honor just to even be mentioned as being a possible all-star on the team. To have it happen, that's a lot of credit to the coaching staff and my teammates. "

Going into last night's game against the Toronto Raptors, Ratliff was averaging 12.2 points on 76.3 percent shooting and 8.11 rebounds per game. The center, who is in his sixth season in the NBA, said he wasn't surprised when all-star talk heated up.

"Not really, because it started way back when. It was something I knew that all I had to do was continue to play hard and be consistent in what I was doing, just letting the game come to me.

"I felt that if the fans didn't recognize it, the coaches would. So [my selection] is not a surprise, but I'm happy. It is my first time. "

Also making their all-star debuts will be New Jersey's Stephon Marbury, Miami's Anthony Mason and Denver's Antonio McDyess.

Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone is an all-star for the 13th time. That ties him for third all-time with Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy and John Havlicek.

David Robinson, the San Antonio Spurs center, was named to his 10th All-Star Game and will join Malone on the Western Conference team.

McDyess, a third-year forward, was added to the West squad with forwards Kevin Garnett of Minnesota and Rasheed Wallace of Portland and guards Gary Payton of Seattle and Michael Finley of Dallas.

Marbury, the Nets' point guard, earned his first all-star berth after five seasons in the NBA, but that's a lot faster than Mason did. The 34-year-old Heat forward first played in the league in 1989-90.

Ratliff, Marbury and Mason were added to the Eastern Conference roster, along with Detroit guard and former Sixer Jerry Stackhouse, the NBA's leading scorer. Guard Ray Allen and forward Glenn Robinson of Milwaukee and New York guard Allan Houston also were named as reserves for the East.

Leading the Eastern Conference will be forward Vince Carter of Toronto, who was tops overall in fan balloting with 1,717,687 votes. Iverson and Tracy McGrady of Orlando are the starting guards.

Commissioner David Stern will choose replacements for Orlando forward Grant Hill and Miami center Alonzo Mourning, who were voted in as starters but are out for the season.

Starting for the West will be center Shaquille O'Neal, if his injured right foot has healed, and guard Kobe Bryant of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers along with forwards Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Chris Webber of Sacramento and Phoenix guard Jason Kidd.

The Sixers' Larry Brown will coach the East and Sacramento coach Rick Adelman will be in charge of the West.