As expected, Kobe Bryant will start for the Western Conference for the 15th time in the All-Star game in Toronto, Canada. The appearance will be Bryant's 18th in the exhibition in which he has taken home the MVP award four times. Bryant, in the midst of his 20th and final season in the NBA, received 1,891,614 votes to lead the NBA.
Starting alongside Bryant in the Western Conference will be fellow forwards Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. The starting guards for the West Russell Westbrook of the Thunder and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
Leading the East will be forwards LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. Joining them in the back-court will be Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.
While there will undoubtedly be plenty of internet outrage over Bryant starting in the game given how mightily he has struggled this season, the event is for the fans, and they emphatically voiced their desire to see Bryant start in his final All-Star game. Considering Bryant's health issues (he is dealing with injuries to his Achilles, back, and shoulder), he will likely only play a few minutes in each half of the event as he makes way for the younger players, but Lakers fans and Kobe fans from around the world will surely appreciate getting a chance to see the retiring legend in this exhibition one last time.