Kobe Bryant's season has been a conflicting one. On one hand, Bryant is clearly hurting the Los Angeles Lakers when he is on the floor. The 37-year old guard has the second worst net efficiency rating on the team and leads the Lakers' in usage rate (29.9) while having the least efficient season of his career. On the other hand, to some degree Bryant deserves to be celebrated in his 20th season, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. This has made the topic of the All-Star, and whether or not Bryant deserves to participate in it a touch subject for NBA fans.
All-Star voting opened on Thursday, and Bryant will likely make it into the contest on popularity alone. Some think this would be a cool honor to celebrate one of the greatest players in NBA history, while others are taken aback that a player more deserving based upon their play could be denied a spot out of ceremony for Bryant. NBA commissioner Adam Silver gave his opinion on the matter in a radio appearance on Thursday:
On SiriusXM NBA Radio today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of Kobe Bryant and the 2016 All-Star Game: "I think he deserves to be there."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) December 11, 2015
Silver is not the only one who thinks Bryant deserves a trip to Toronto. Former "Kobe stopper" and current CBS Sports NBA analyst Raja Bell alsothinks his old nemesis deserves the opportunity.
"I definitely think Kobe Bryant deserves to be an All-Star," says Bell, NBA Analyst for CBS Sports. "He's earned the right to be celebrated in one of the NBA's biggest stages. Clearly, whoever doesn't get in because Kobe does will be upset with it but I definitely think Kobe earned the right to play in the All-Star Game this year."
It will be fascinating to see if Kobe's poor play this season does anything to diminish his historically high vote totals, but with Silver and Bell, he at least has two votes locked up. #NBAVote
All stats courtesy of NBA.com