The theme song for the Eastern Conference in Sunday's National Basketball Association All-Star Game (WDVM-TV-9, 3:30 EST) could be "Philadelphia Freedom" because the team will have four 76ers, three of them starters, and will be coached by the 76ers' Billy Cunningham.
"It always helps to have your own people in a game like this," said Cunningham, who will be coaching in his fourth All-Star Game in six seasons. "I'm not sure how I'll substitute yet, but I certainly have enough flexibility."
The West has Pat Riley of the host Los Angeles Lakers as its coach a second straight year and he hasn't even been a head coach in the league for two full seasons. Riley also directed the Lakers to the NBA title over the 76ers in 1981-82, after replacing Paul Westhead as coach when the season was only 11 games old.
"I've lived a charmed life," he said.
The Western Conference team is taller, more experienced and has the league's top three scorers in Alex English of Denver, George Gervin of San Antonio and Kiki Vandeweghe of Denver. But the East has won the last three games, and with the Philadelphia influence, again should be difficult to defeat.
The East will counter the West's scorers with the league's top three rebounders: Moses Malone of Philadelphia, Buck Williams of New Jersey and Bill Laimbeer of Detroit.
The fans voted for the starters and the conference coaches picked the seven reserves for each team.
The Lakers and Seattle SuperSonics, with three players apiece, make up half of the West team.
For the third straight season, Washington's Bullets are unrepresented, but so are 10 other teams: New York, Indiana, Cleveland, Atlanta, Golden State, Kansas City, Houston, San Diego, Dallas and Utah.
No rookies made either side.
The East will start Julius Erving of Philadelphia and Larry Bird of Boston at forwards, Maurice Cheeks of Philadelphia and Isiah Thomas of Detroit at guards and Malone at center.
The West will lead with English and Maurice Lucas of Phoenix at forwards, Magic Johnson of Los Angeles and David Thompson of Seattle at guards and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of Los Angeles at center.
Erving, Malone and Abdul-Jabbar were the top three vote-getters.
The matchups appear to be about even, although the East is starting two 6-foot-1 point guards against the 6-4 Thompson and the 6-9 Johnson.
Cunningham said he will probably make an early substitution for one of them and put in a bigger shooting guard. He has Sidney Moncrief of Milwaukee, his own Andrew Toney and Reggie Theus of Chicago.