By Doris Burke,

The great wonder, the great attraction, of sport is that everyone posseses two things - a favorite and an opinion. More often than not, they come from considerable and equal passion. Several years ago, some marketing type figured he could capture both of those by having the fans vote for the all-star team. Fans vote their favorite, others give their opinion. It is an uneasy but wonderfully productive alliance.

The fact that people like me in the media who see tons of games, coaches who are charged with evaluating and developing talent, and players who compete with each other every game have a considerably broader base of experience to select the all-star roster matters not. This is the fans' game. The media, coaches and players should never forget that.

So, in this case (and probably more cases than I would care to know), my opinion is no more or less valid than anyone who cast a vote.

Below are my selections for starters in the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game.

Eastern Conference:

F - Tamika Catchings: As I try to conjure up an image of what it means to be a competitor, Catch is what I see. When Sheryl Swoopes calls you her toughest matchup, you know you are good.

F - Tamika Whitmore: While averaging career highs in points and rebounds, Whitmore's play has been a huge factor in Indiana being just half a game out of first in the East.

C - Cheryl Ford: Ford is the most dominant force on the boards in the game today and her offensive game is coming. Look out. In the future, whatever it takes, I want her on USA Basketball.

G - Katie Douglas: Is there anything she doesn't do for the Sun? In the past, even when Douglas struggled offensively, she was always on the floor for Connecticut because she typically is guarding the opponents best Player. This year, she continues to wreak havoc on the defensive end while leading the team in scoring. Her 16.2 points if 4 points better than her career best.

G - Alana Beard: Like Douglas, Beard gives you impact on both ends of the floor. My bet is Olympic Coach Ann Donovan would like Beard to fill one of the four remaining spots on the World Championship team. Putting the bisquit in the basket is the name of the game. But, when an opponent is lighting you up, Beard is a stop gap!

Western Conference:

F - Lauren Jackson: Like Tamika Catchings, Jackson is the perfect combination of great skills and competitive toughness. Certain players inspire confidence in tough spots. I'll take L.J.

F - Tina Thompson: After working her way back into shape last season, Thompson is clearly back among the elite. Averaging a team leading 17 points per game, Tina has helped the Comets to a very solid second in the West.

C - Lisa Leslie: The snub of Lisa by the fans surprised me more than any other. Hampered by injury through much of 2005, Leslie has given LA the best record in the league, in spite of the fact that Holdsclaw had to miss six games while attending to family matters. It goes way beyond skills as a basketball player, which remain amongst the best in the world. Lisa's leadership has steadied a new staff navigating their first full season in the WNBA.

G - Diana Taurasi: Despite new players, new coaches and a new and demanding system, Diana continues to flourish. Despite drawing an opponents best perimeter defender on a nightly basis, D leads the WNBA in scoring and is shooting 41% from deep.

G - Seimone Augustus: I thought Seimone would be highly productive right away. Her skill set and maturity were ready for this level. What has surprised me is her consistency. This league is full of talented and competitive players and it will challenge the best both physically and mentally. You better bring it every night. She has!