Bryant headlines All-NBA team

5-08-08 -- Fresh off winning his first career MVP award, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant headlined the All-NBA Team announced Thursday.

Joining Bryant on the prestigious squad are guard Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets, forwards LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and center Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

The award is voted on by a panel of 127 writers and broadcasters throughout North America who cover the NBA.

The only unanimous selection, Bryant received 127 first-place votes and 635 points.

Once considered a selfish player, Bryant developed into a consummate teammate and was a major reason why the Lakers finished the regular season with the Western Conference’s best record.

Bryant was second in the league in scoring behind James, averaging 28.3 points. The two-time scoring champion garnered First Team honors for the sixth time in his illustrious career.

Paul, the runner-up to Bryant in MVP voting, received First Team honors in just his third season. The lightning-quick point guard, who received 124 first-place votes and 629 points, averaged 21.1 points and led the league with 11.6 assists per game.

Paul also has helped revitalize basketball in New Orleans. The Hornets finished with the second-best record in the West during the regular season and currently have a 2-0 lead over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the conference semifinals.

In his first seven career playoff games, Paul has registered six double-doubles.

The league’s leading scorer at 30.0 points per game, “King” James was crowned as a First Team member for the second time. The All-Star Game MVP was a Second Team selection a year ago.

In addition to his scoring, James also excelled in other parts of his game as he averaged 7.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists. He amassed 117 first-place votes and 610 points.

A driving force for the league-leading Celtics, Garnett was named a First Team member for the fourth time in his career. “The Big Ticket” averaged 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds this season.

Garnett received 118 first-place votes and 612 points.

Another in a long line of young superstars, Howard garnered First Team honors for the first time after averaging 20.7 points and a league-best 14.2 rebounds. At 22 years, 130 days, Howard became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounds.

Howard garnered 86 first-place votes and 546 points.

A year after Phoenix Suns teammates Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire headlined the First Team, the duo had to settle for Second Team honors.

Also on the Second Team are Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams and forwards Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Tim Duncan of the Spurs.

“It is always an honor to make the All-NBA Team,” Nowitzki said. “And to be recognized along with so many talented players means a lot to me.”

The Third Team includes guards Manu Ginobili of the Spurs and Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets, forwards Carlos Boozer of the Jazz and Paul Pierce of the Celtics and center Yao Ming of the Rockets.

Points were awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.