The 2016 NBA All-Star Game will be hosted in Toronto this season, marking the first time the contest will be held outside the United States. To make the weekend even more special, it will also be the final time Kobe Bryant will take part in the mid-season classic.
This will be Bryant’s 18th All-Star Game and he was the leading vote-getter across both conferences. Although his numbers may not necessarily be All-Star caliber, there was no way the fans were not going to vote in the Lakers legend.
Bryant has won the All-Star MVP four times in his career (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011) and he will have another chance to claim the trophy on Sunday. However, following the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, Bryant shot down the notion of going after the MVP, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
Will Kobe go for All-Star Game MVP? “Why? I’m good. I’ll make a couple jumpshots and try to play the best I can, but I’m okay."
— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) February 11, 2016
Bryant will be joined by Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant in the Western Conference starting lineup. The Eastern Conference All-Star roster includes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kyle Lowry and Paul George.
There is no question the fans and even the players are looking forward to seeing Bryant play in his final All-Star Game. He has been a mentor to so many in the league and this will be a great time to show appreciation to the five-time champion.
This season has been a very disappointing one for Lakers fans and they will finally get a chance to see Bryant competing with world class teammates. It will be a nice break for everyone associated with the Lakers and a much needed one from this disastrous season.