Kobe Bryant tallied over 1.2 million votes to lead the NBA through the second round of All-Star votes, his 18th career selection set to be official once the polls close on Jan. 18. NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke with the NBA on TNT team at the Consumer Electronics Show and commented on what's become a landslide for Bryant.
"Is it a popularity contest? Yes. That's what fan balloting is in All-Star. It's for the fans to put on the floor the players they want to see," Silver said when asked if it's fair for Kobe to be slotted as a Western Conference starter. "So, in the case of Kobe for example, certainly by his standards he's not having an All-Star season. But in his last season the fans want to see him out on the floor, I think that's great."
Bryant's farewell tour has been selling out arenas around the league and driving ticket prices up in Los Angeles as his final games tick away. It's not surprising fans are coming out in droves to vote in the global icon for one last All-Star appearance, and Silver embraces the idea that the people have a voice in what's supposed to be a weekend celebrating the league. Stephen Curry is the next closest player to Kobe at 925,789 votes, but the list drops off dramatically from there.
There are only so many places on the conference teams, though, and Silver acknowledged that leads to players being left off, but didn't sound like the process will be changing any time soon."There's always going to be issues when there's a set number of slots," he said.
"My sense is to leave it as it is and continue to have the debate, but I'm always open to looking at things."
Silver also shares his thoughts on the growing parity in the NBA, how digital media is shaping the future of the association, why he wants to be at the forefront of regulating sports gambling during the panel and more, and the whole segment can be watched on the Turner Sports PR Twitter account.
*Quotes transcribed via Turner Sports PR