With Kobe Bryant officially retiring at the end of the 2015-16 NBA season, one debate is whether he should play at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.
To start his 20th season, the Los Angeles Lakers guard struggled and is on pace for his worst shooting percentage of his career. However, the five-time champion has recently regained his form, averaging 23.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his last four games.
With the Lakers facing the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day, the first returns for All-Star voting arrived. Kobe is currently the leading vote-getter (719,235) and has a substantial lead over Kevin Durant (349,473) among Western Conference frontcourt players via NBA:
— 2016 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) December 25, 2015
With this being Kobe’s final season, the farewell tour is in full effect as fans around the world have shown their appreciation. Should he be voted in as a starter, this will mark Kobe’s 18th All-Star appearance, which is one short of the all-time record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 19. However, he will have an opportunity to win his fifth Most Valuable Player award, which would set a new record.
With All-Star starters being announced on Jan. 21, it will be interesting to see if Kobe remains the leading vote-getter as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors trails him by over 200,000 votes. In 25 games, Kobe is averaging 17.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 30.7 minutes.