Last week, Kobe Bryant was selected to All-Star game number 16, despite playing in only six games this season. This speaks to the amazing popularity Bryant holds internationally as fans simply want to see Bryant on the court.
Long before the results were revealed, Bryant implored fans to vote for some younger Western Conference guards instead of himself, as he seemingly understands that there are more deserving players who should play.
There is a possibility that Bryant will be back on the court for the Lakers before the All-Star Game comes, but even if he can play, should he? Bryant could really use the weekend to rest up his injuries, and with 15 other All-Star games under his belt, Bryant has gone through this experience many times.
But the fans also want to see Bryant, and many feel he owes it to the fans to participate if he is healthy enough to give it a go. So we asked our panel of experts: Should Kobe Bryant participate in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game? This is what they had to say:
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): With the NBA All-Star Game only a few weeks away and Kobe Bryant nearing his return to the floor, the smart move for the perennial All-Star should be to play, but limited minutes.
Bryant has already said publicly that he doesn’t want to play and that younger players should get the nod over him. Despite Bryant making the case not to be selected, he’s been named the starter regardless.
The future Hall of Famer believes he doesn’t deserve to be selected and for good reason considering he has only played six games this season.
Although Bryant doesn’t believe he’s deserving of the selection, the fans want to see the veteran guard on the floor in New Orleans. That alone should be enough to get a least a few minutes out of the five-time NBA champion before he becomes a spectator on the bench, allowing the younger players a chance to show their skills against the best talent the NBA has to offer.
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): If ”healthy,” I think Bryant should suit up and play in the All-Star game — but just for a few minutes. If Bryant is able to give it a go, than it’s only fitting that he give the fans what they want to see, which is him competing against the best talent in the NBA.
However, given the fact that he’ll be nowhere close to 100 percent, it wouldn’t be right to watch a sluggish Bryant trying to keep up with the best players on the planet. Personally, I don’t want to see the Black Mamba out there struggling to keep up and throwing down lift-less dunks and getting blown by, by conditioned All-Stars.
Similarly, Kobe loves putting on a show and seemingly turning back the clock for electrifying plays on both ends of the floor during All-Star games, and I don’t see him doing that this year given his recovery timetable.
Therefore, he should do what he’s done in the past when injured (when he was able enough to compete for the Lakers, but needed the rest to heal) and play a few minutes at the start of the game and then sit back and enjoy the action.
Ryan Cole (@JustRyCole): Kobe should certainly play in the All-Star game. Though he may feel as if it’s not his place to participate because he has only been active for six games, he owes it to the fans that voted him in.
We know that The Black Mamba is very competitive, and would prefer to be on the court when he’s at his best, but being voted as a starter in the All-Star game is a privilege that many never accomplish.
He’s publicly made it known that it is not his desire to play, and that he would rather some of the younger and more “deserving” guards get a chance. However, Kobe may fail to realize that being named a starter is not something that’s entirely based on performance.
Your performance matters, but the occasion is meant to celebrate fans, and he happens to have a lot. He’s built a world-wide brand, and because of that he should consider playing. Even if it’s only a quick five minute stint, the fans will be appreciative of that.
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