Story by Jamar Stephen —
On February 14th, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant will making his final All Star appearance at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. An announcement on TNT’s Inside the NBA revealed Bryant was the leading vote-getter for this years edition of the showpiece with 1,891,614 votes; making this his 18th selection. He will join only Michael Jordan, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and John Havlicek as players, 37 years or older to start in an NBA-All Star Game. The MVP Stephen Curry came second in voting with 1,604,325 and will be making just his third appearance in the All-Star game (his second as a starter). The reigning Foot Locker 3 point champion will look to put on a show in the city where he grew up as a child; coincidentally where his father, Dell Curry, also played the final three seasons of his career. Both Bryant and Curry will be joined by Oklahoma City Thunder duo Russell Westbrook (last year’s All-Star game MVP), Kevin Durant and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard; who will be making his first all star appearance.
Cleveland Cavalier star, Lebron James leds the Eastern conference in voting with 1,089,206; making this his 12th appearance. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry will start over Cavs guard Kyrie Irving, after sneaking in and getting the starting spot with 646,441 votes. These two players will be joined by New York Knick’s Carmelo Anthony, Indiana Pacer’s Paul George and Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade.
Carmelo Anthony was able to edge out Chicago Bulls’ Pau Gasol by 360 votes for the final front court spot in the East. Some fans and experts believe that Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green and Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Bulter were the biggest snubs in this year voting to start. Jimmy Bulter finished 4th among East Guards behind Kyrie Irving. What might seem surprisingly absurd to most is the fact that Green finished 4th in the voting for the Forwards of the West, behind Dallas Maverick’s centre Zaza Pachulia who had almost 42,000 more votes than Green, and just 14,000 less votes behind the eventual starter Kawhi Leonard.
The All-Star reserves will be voted by the head coaches in each conference and will be announced on January 28th on TNT. The 2016 All-Star Weekend will be held on February 12-14th in Toronto.