Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has been voted a starter for the NBA’s annual All-Star game 14 times in his 18-year career and is on pace to be voted in again this year, but he thinks fans should cast their votes for a younger player this season. ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelbourne has details:
“I really enjoy watching what the younger guys are doing and how they’re performing,” said Bryant, who was second among Western Conference players in the latest round of All-Star voting. “Even though there’s so much respect from me to be able to go out there and play for the fans, I’d much rather see the young guys play in the game because they’ve obviously put the work in to be in it. I’d much rather go out there and see them participate.”
“I probably won’t be able to come back soon enough to put my stamp or make my mark on the game, so my advice would be to focus on these younger players, the Damian Lillards of the world, because they’re more than deserving to be playing on that weekend.”
Kobe has missed 27 games so far this season and only averaged 13.8 points in the six games he did play so he definitely isn’t deserving of the votes he’s gotten this season, but fans typically vote for their favorite players regardless of performance. Like it or not, lot of the fans who cast tons of votes for starters are more of the casual variety than die hard NBA surveyors.
Lillard is one of the younger players who’s more deserving and is averaging over 21 points per game for the Western Conference-leading Trail Blazers, but as of the latest polls Lillard was eighth in fan voting behind other least deserving but more popular players like Bryant and Jeremy Lin.
All-Star voting needs to be fixed, but the game is ultimately for the fans enjoyment. If they want to vote Kobe in that’s their prerogative, but the NBA should allow players like Bryant who don’t feel worthy of the honor to pass their starting spot on to a more deserving, younger player.
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