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Howard sets All- Star voting record

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- He was the first to dress as Superman to win a dunk contest.

He's now the first player to get 3 million votes from fans.

Yes, the All-Star game is fast becoming Dwight Howard's personal showcase.

The Orlando Magic center -- who leads the NBA in rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles -- got a record 3,150,181 votes to lead this season's All-Star team, released Thursday.

The Feb. 15 game in Phoenix will mark the third All-Star trip for Howard, who'll be starting for the second time and easily topped the previous record of 2,558,278 votes collected by Houston's Yao Ming four years ago.

"Wow, what a blessing," said Howard, the 6-foot-11 center who dressed in full Superman regalia, cape and all, on the way to winning last year's slam dunk competition. "That is what I took it as, a blessing from God and then the fans. It's just a great honor and I was surprised, but like always I thank the fans for everything they have done for us."

The final results of fan balloting didn't exactly bring any major surprises.

Miami's Dwyane Wade (2,741,413) and Detroit's Allen Iverson (1,804,649) will be in the East's backcourt, alongside reigning All-Star MVP LeBron James of Cleveland (2,940,823) and Boston's Kevin Garnett (2,066,833), who beat New Jersey's Yi Jianlian for the starting nod by 253,004 votes.

"The All-Star game is always so meaningful to me because of the fans," said James, whose 24.3-point scoring average is the highest in All-Star game history for players with four or more appearances.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (2,805,397) was the West's top vote-getter, and will be joined at guard by New Orleans' Chris Paul (2,134,798). At center, Yao (2,532,958) will start for the sixth time, along with forwards Tim Duncan of San Antonio (2,578,168) and Amare Stoudemire of Phoenix (1,460,429).