The NBA All-Star Game will get underway in about a month and a half, meaning that the vote totals are starting to be counted to see who will start for each conference. As always, the votes get some people’s gears grinding and this year is already shaping up to be no different.
According to an article from Ramona Shelburne at ESPN Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is currently set to be a starter for the Western Conference despite the fact that he more than likely won’t be recovered from a broken leg by the time the All-Star Game rolls around and despite the fact that he’s played only six games this season.
Obviously we’ve seen players be voted into the All-Star Game or nearly be voted a starter based solely off of their popularity. After all, we aren’t far removed from Jeremy Lin narrowly coming short of supplanting Chris Paul as the starter in the West. However, Bryant likely being voted a starter this season is just plain senseless.
It’s one thing for a player like Lin, who has an enormous international following and is at least playing in the league, to semi-undeservedly get a ton of votes. It’s a different thing entirely, though, to have Kobe almost be voted in solely because of his brand as an individual and what he’s done in the past. Not only has he played just six games this season, but he wasn’t even productive when he was in action this season.
Obviously Bryant’s All-Star votes aren’t a big deal. He’ll be replaced by a deserving player and this is all something that’s happened before in this league. However, it would be nice to see fans, casual and dedicated alike, the come to the realization that All-Star votes should be based off of merit rather than popularity. This situation with Bryant is a prime example as to why.