The 2014 NBA All-Star Game starters were announced on Thursday night and, amidst the usual suspects of young guns performing well this season and the established superstars in this league, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was named a starter in the Western Conference. In most years, that would be a fine selection as a starter; however, this isn’t most years.
Bryant is currently not on the Lakers’ active roster as he recovers from a broken leg suffered in mid-December. If he had been a monster for the first month of the year, that would be one thing. However, Bryant also missed the first 19 games of the year due to his recovery from a torn Achilles suffered last year.
In fact, Bryant has only played six games this season. What’s even crazier is that, in those six games, Bryant was hardly impressive. Playing 29.5 minutes per game, Bryant averaged just 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while hitting only 42.5 percent of his shots and a meager 18.8 percent of his threes. In short, Kobe doesn’t deserve a starting nod.
The good thing, though, is that Bryant seems to have a grasp on that. In comments to the media made soon after the announcement, Kobe said that he appreciated his fans, but also said that those fans have to do the right thing and reward the talented young players that have performed well this season.
Bryant also said that he doesn’t plan to play in the All-Star Game, partially because of his lack of playing this season and partially because of his injury and need to recover. While it’s a smart move because of his health and trying to make a full return to action, it’s also a solid and respectful move on Bryant’s part. He said he’s not ruling out the possibility of the league making him play, but also said he’d only play about “two minutes.” For a guy that’s often labeled as selfish, this is a pretty classy move.