Kyle Lowry’s abundant talents have made him an NBA all-star. Social media helped make him a starter in the league’s marquee mid-season showcase.
With a huge late surge fuelled by votes cast through Twitter and other sites, the Raptors point guard will start for the Eastern Conference in the Feb. 15 all-star game at Madison Square Garden.
The 28-year-old Lowry, who garnered Twitter support from the likes of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Toronto Mayor John Tory and federal opposition leader Justin Trudeau
— all cognizant of the power of sports and social media with young voters — made up a deficit of nearly 100,000 votes in the last three weeks to pass Miami’s Dwyane Wade and grab one of two Eastern back-court starting spots.
Lowry — the Raptors’ first all-star starter since Chris Bosh in 2008 — joins Washington’s John Wall, Cleveland’s LeBron James, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Chicago’s Pau Gasol in the East. Stephen Curry of Golden State, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis of New Orleans, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies were voted in as Western Conference starters, though the injured Bryant will likely be replaced by Houston’s James Harden.
For Lowry, his first selection to an all-star team caps a dream two seasons with the Raptors. Once deemed a bit of a problem child because of a streak of stubbornness that led him to bounce from Memphis to Houston to Toronto, the Philadelphia native has matured into a true team leader with the Raptors, who are comfortably on their way to a second straight Atlantic Division title and were third in the East with a 27-15 record heading into play Thursday.
Lowry was unavailable for comment Thursday night because he was hosting a dinner for teammates and club officials at his Philadelphia home.
“Thank you to the wonderful Raptors fans across the NBA, especially in Canada! I am amazed by your passion for our team and the support you have given me,” he said in a press release put out by the team. “When I re-signed here this summer I said one of the great things is being able to play for an entire country. This is further proof how really special that is.”
His teammates offered congratulations:
“So excited about this!” Amir Johnson said on his Twitter account.
“Congratulations and I’m not surprised at all, I know how hard (Lowry) works,” added Greivis Vasquez.
Lowry is Toronto’s fifth all-star in franchise history — Vince Carter and Chris Bosh made it five times each, while DeMar DeRozan and Antonio Davis were selected once. Carter was the top overall vote-getter four times, from 2000-02 and in 2004