The leader in All-Star votes so far isn’t LeBron James or Steph Curry, it’s Kobe Bryant and he’s killing the competition. The NBA released the first returns for All-Star votes on Christmas, and Bryant was at the top – way, way ahead of everyone else.
Here are the rest of the returns:
Some things to note: Kyrie Irving has only just returned from injury, but he’s already No. 2 in Eastern Conference guard votes. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker both made it in the top 10 for guard voting in the West, which is going to be where a few deserving candidates will be left home.
The Kobe news isn’t surprising at all, though. Even if he wasn’t deserving, Kobe was already going to be an All-Star simply because of his enormous popularity. Once he announced this would be his final season, he was all but assured of the lead spot. Curry and LeBron may be more popular players – they’re certainly better, standing as the top two MVP candidates these days – but none of them stood a chance against the retiring Bryant.
Any other year, we might have a problem with this. Sure, Bryant is still one of the league’s biggest draws, but he hasn’t had an all-star-worthy season in some time. Given that he’s retiring, though, it’s only fitting that he gets one last hurrah before he rides off into the sunset.