I really do suggest everyone start pumping more votes for Shaq, it was bad enough that Yao started over him last year, we can't let that same mistake happen again!!!
NEW YORK (AP) wrote: -- Yao Ming is making a strong run at Shaquille O'Neal to be the Western Conference's starting center at the NBA All-Star game next month.
Fewer than 24,000 votes separate the two in the third set of totals released by the league Monday. Balloting continues through Jan. 18 for the Feb. 15 game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, O'Neal's home arena.
Yao, averaging 15.3 points and 8.9 rebounds for Houston, drew 1,091,997 votes. O'Neal, averaging 20 points and 11.6 rebounds for the Lakers, leads the center vote in the West with 1,115,881.
In the previous release of ballots, the two were separated by 142,059 votes.
Vince Carter of Toronto (1,629,169) and Kobe Bryant of the Lakers (1,333,262) are the top vote-getters in their conferences.
Carter and Jermaine O'Neal of Indiana have the most votes among Eastern Conference forwards. The leading guards are Allen Iverson of Philadelphia and Tracy McGrady of Orlando. Cleveland rookie LeBron James is fourth, behind Jason Kidd of New Jersey.
Ben Wallace of Detroit leads by more than a million votes at center.
In the West, the leading guards are Bryant and Steve Francis of Houston. The two top forwards are Kevin Garnett of Minnesota and Tim Duncan of San Antonio.
Balloting this season expanded to include 17 languages on the NBA's Web site