Raptors forward Chris Bosh will be heading down to the Big Easy for the NBA all-star game, while his teammate, Jose Calderon, will just be getting a big rest that weekend.
For Bosh and the Raptors organization, being named as a reserve forward for the Eastern Conference team was expected, but Calderon's omission was a disappointment.
Along with Bosh, the Eastern reserve squad announced yesterday (as selected by the NBA coaches) included forwards Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison of the Washington Wizards and Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics, and guards Chauncy Billups and Richard Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons, and Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks.
This will be the third all-star game for Bosh, not including his presence in the Rookie-Sophomore game in 2004 and 2005. Last season, the Dallas native was voted on to the team. This year, however, Bosh had little chance to be voted in as a forward, with Kevin Garnett in the Eastern Conference, as a member of the Celtics, and LeBron James a fixture with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still, for Bosh, playing in the game is a thrill no matter how he gets there.
"It never diminishes," Bosh said of his selection, adding that it's his goal to play in the all-star game every year.
The fifth-year Raptor started slowly this season, largely because of health problems, but has been averaging 30 points and 9.4 rebounds over the past nine games.
"I know I wasn't playing that good (early), but I knew once I got in shape and got my confidence back, it was going to be business as usual," he said. "I've worked really hard and I think it's a reward for hard work."
This can be interpreted any number of ways, but when Bosh was asked on a T&T broadcast last night if there was any player, who sticks out in his mind, whom he felt deserved to be named to the East team but wasn't, he replied Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic, and not Calderon
"It's no disrespect to anybody if you don't get chosen. There's a lot of great players to choose from in this league," Bosh said. "Just to be considered is an honour. And nobody was really expecting anything out of Jose, especially to be a candidate for the all-star game."
Despite his slight, Calderon has been a revelation this season. Since inheriting the starting role after T.J. Ford went down with a arm stinger on Dec.11, the Spanish international has played well, averaging 14 points and over 10 assists in 31 games as a starter. He leads the NBA in assists per turnover ratio (5.56) and is fifth in assists (8.8 per game).
Calderon said earlier in the day that if he was named to the team, it would be "a dream", but he wouldn't be disappointed if he was not.
Four Raptors will be involved in this year's all-star weekend, Feb.15-17 at the New Orleans Arena, Jamario Moon and Andrea Bargnani in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge, Moon in the dunk contest and Jason Kapono defending his three-point shooting title, and Bosh.