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Magic Johnson loves what teenagers LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have accomplished as rookies and is disappointed they weren't picked to play in the NBA All-Star Game.

"LeBron and Carmelo have brought so much interest, they should have made it," Johnson said Friday. "They backed it up with their game. You can't tell me they shouldn't be part of the game. I understand that they've got to earn their stripes, so to speak.

"They're good guys. And they've made the other guys work harder at their game."

James and Anthony, both 19, played in Johnson's charity game last summer.

"Both young men have brought a great freshness, a great smile back to the game," Johnson said. "Nobody wants to smile. We've got to get back to smiling, destroying their man at the same time."

The All-Star game will be played Feb. 15 at Staples Center -- its first time in the area since 1983 when the game was played at the Forum in Inglewood.

James, averaging nearly 21 points for Cleveland, and Anthony, averaging 19 for Denver, will play with first-year players in the Rookie Challenge on Friday night of All-Star weekend against a team of second-year players.


http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nba&id=1729150
 
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