Kobe Bryant may be nursing a strained right Achilles while a struggles through the least efficient campaign of his NBA career, but the fans have made it clear they want to see the retiring superstar in the All-Star game one final time before he hangs up his Nikes for good. On Thursday morning, the NBA released the third returns on voting for the 2015 All-Star game in Toronto, and Bryant still led all vote getters with 1,533,432 votes.
Bryant's lead is substantial enough that he is all but a certainty to start his final All-Star game at one of the three forward spots in the Western Conference. Of the next three closest forwards, none of the trio of Kevin Durant (774,782), Draymond Green (499,947), and Kawhi Leonard (487,626) are on pace to pass Bryant, much less all three passing him to knock him out of the starting lineup entirely.
If voting ended today, Bryant, Durant, and Green would start for the West alongside guards Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook, both of whom appear to have enough of a lead on the field to be all but a lock to start. The only spot really up for grabs in the West will be the last forward spot in a relatively close race between Green and Leonard.
Representing the East will likely be forwards LeBron James, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony with guards Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving. All-Star voting ends this Monday, January 18th, and the starters will be announced on TNT the following Thursday, January 21st. The game itself will take place in February 14th. Full voting breakdown is available here.