Jeremy Lin, who scored a record 136 points in his first five National Basketball Association starts, was added to the pool for the All-Star Rising Stars Challenge.
Lin, who has led the New York Knicks to seven straight wins, and the Miami Heat’s Norris Cole were added to Shaquille O’Neal’s team that will play Charles Barkley’s lineup on Feb. 24.
Honorary Commissioner Kenny Smith decided to put their names on the list of rookies and sophomores for the challenge. The format has changed from rookies versus sophomores to two mixed teams.
On Feb. 14, Harvard University graduate Lin became the only player to score more than 20 points and win each of his first five starts since the NBA merged with the American Basketball Association in 1976. Lin wasn’t drafted after graduation from Harvard and was cut by two NBA teams before joining the Knicks on Dec. 27.
Barkley passed on Lin to select Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving because, he said, Lin has “only been playing for a week and it’s been a fantastic week.”
Passes on Lin
“It wasn’t very difficult to be honest,” Barkley said during the televised draft. “Irving is terrific.”
Joining Lin and Cole on O’Neal’s team are Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons and Landry Fields of the Knicks.
Rookies on the roster are Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats, Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, Tristan Thompson of the Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio.
In addition to Irving, Barkley’s team includes rookies Derrick Williams of the Timberwolves, MarShon Brooks of the New Jersey Nets and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.
The team also includes DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, Tiago Splitter of the Spurs and Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Knicks play the New Orleans Hornets at Madison Square Garden in New York tonight.