PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- With Shaquille O'Neal and Vince Carter out, Allen Iverson is getting closer to having the All-Star weekend all to himself -- assuming he survives his own parties.
"This is a guy who has about three parties in town, and every night he has something going on," said Iverson's Philadelphia 76ers teammate, Dikembe Mutombo. "He's enjoying himself."
Iverson's busy evening schedule apparently didn't mesh with a Friday afternoon's media day, which he skipped at the risk of a $10,000 fine. Word had it he was under the weather, but he was seen at another function later in the day.
"It doesn't matter whether he's sick today or what," Mutombo said. "But when it comes to game time everybody knows that AI will show up."
The other mystery surrounding the hometown hero as Sunday's game approaches involves his choice of uniform. Mutombo said Iverson had decided to wear No. 6 to honor Julius Erving, although the 76ers officials couldn't confirm it.
Iverson will have a hard time topping last year, when he led the East to an incredible fourth-quarter comeback victory and was named MVP. East coach Byron Scott plans to give Iverson every chance to earn another trophy.
"Being his home, he'll probably get more time than anyone else," Scott said. "I want him to go out there and have some fun in his hometown."
The other major absentee Friday was Michael Jordan, who has been skipping media day and paying the fine for many years. Jordan has said he won't be much of a presence in Sunday's game, either, preferring to play only 12-to-15 minutes because he needs the rest.
Scott isn't quite sure whether he believes that -- especially if the game is tight in the fourth quarter.
"He'll probably send word down to nudge me to put him back in," Scott said. "When the game's on the line, you never know. If he's out there, I'm sure he'll want to stay out there. If he's not in, he might want to get back in. But we'll have to wait until Sunday."
Carter isn't here because he strained his left quadriceps Thursday in Toronto's game against San Antonio. O'Neal is battling arthritis in his right big toe. That knocks out the top two vote-getters in the fan balloting.
West coach Don Nelson chose Chris Webber to replace O'Neal as a starter, with Elton Brand added to the roster. Scott picked Jason Kidd, his point guard on the Nets, to start for Carter. Charlotte's Baron Davis was added to the East roster.
Webber was appreciative of the promotion, but he knew better than to crow about it.
"This is the one place where if you bring your ego, you kind of look stupid," the Sacramento Kings forward said. "Anybody here can brag about anything."
Saturday's prelude includes the rookie-sophomore game, the 3-point shootout, the slam dunk contest and a mini 4-on-4 Hoop-It-Up tournament with teams comprised of an NBA player, a WNBA player, a former NBA player and a celebrity.
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