All-Star reserves unveiled
San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh headline the 14 players selected by NBA coaches as reserves for this year’s All-Star Game next month. Duncan was selected to his 14th All-Star Game and he will be joined by Spurs teammate Tony Parker, who was also named a reserve on Thursday. The Chicago Bulls, keeping themselves in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, despite the prolonged injury absence of Derrick Rose, also had two players named as reserves in Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. Noah is among five first-time All-Stars among the Eastern Conference reserves along with Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday and Indiana’s Paul George. Bosh was named to his eighth All-Star team. Joining Duncan and Parker as reserves in the West are Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Houston’s James Harden, David Lee of Golden State, Zach Randolph of Memphis and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook. The midseason exhibition is to be played in Houston, Texas, on Feb. 17. The starters, selected by fan voting, were named last week, with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant leading all players in votes. Bryant is joined in the West starting lineup by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Lakers teammate Dwight Howard and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, and Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo start for the East.
Hornets to become Pelicans
The New Orleans Hornets are to become the Pelicans beginning next season, team owner Tom Benson announced on Thursday. Benson said the new name — unveiled complete with a logo of a stylized bird with a fierce glare — is a nod to the pelican’s long association with the state of Louisiana, nicknamed “The Pelican State.” The pelican has been the state bird of Louisiana for more than a century and can be found on the state flag and seal. Benson also said that the species was nearly wiped out in Louisiana, but has come back and was removed from the endangered species list in 2009. “When we purchased the basketball team, it was a priority to change the name to reflect our culture, our community and our resolve,” Benson said. “The Pelican does that. Our region has been hard hit in recent years and the one thing that stands out is the resiliency and determination to comeback, to fight and overcome. The pelican symbolizes that.”
Cuban Dayron Robles retires
Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic Games 110m hurdles champion and former world record holder, is retiring from athletics owing to a lack of attention from Cuban sports officials, his coach said on Thursday. Robles, 26, pulled up injured in last year’s Olympic final and has struggled to recapture his form of a few years ago, when he won the Olympic title in Beijing after setting a world record of 12.87 seconds in June 2008. “For me, it’s a huge loss for Cuban sport and a huge mistake by Cuban sport to have not given his needs enough attention,” Santiago Antunez said. Robles could not be reached for comment. He has been frustrated with injury struggles since 2008 and after he lost his Olympic crown in London he made numerous complaints to Cuban sports officials, none of which have been listened to, his coach said. “The treatment of Robles has been extremely poor,” said Antunez, who had been the athlete’s coach until a few days ago, when Robles announced his retirement from the national team.