Kobe Bryant Won’t Play in NBA All-Star Game

Kobe Bryant begged fans not to do it, but they did it to him anyway, selecting him as one of the five Western Conference All-Star starters announced in a special edition of NBA Tip-Off on TNT Thursday night:

Some nerve.

The 35-year-old has made just six appearances during the 2013-14 season, sidelined first by the torn Achilles that ended his 2012-13 run and currently sitting with a fracture in his left knee. He doesn't have an All-Star resume, and he knows it.

So, he's reportedly doing what the fans refused to do—taking himself out of the All-Star Game:

He told reporters that there are other players with much more compelling cases for selection, and they should be rewarded for their bodies of work, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

With all due respect to the fans that voted me in, I certainly appreciate that, they know how much I appreciate that, but you got to do the right thing as well. My fans know you got to reward these young guys for the work that they've been putting in.

Bryant didn't put a name to those young guns. However, he had given Portland Trail Blazers point guard and reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard (21.2 points and 5.8 assists) an endorsement earlier this season.

"My advice would be to vote for some of the younger players, the Damian Lillards of the world, because they're more than deserving to be out there and play during that weekend," he said earlier this month, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.

Bryant's selection, the 16th of his 18-year career, hardly comes as a surprise. The five-time champion has established himself as one of the game's all-time greats and is one of the few living legends in the sport.

"Kobe's Kobe," Gasol said, via McMenamin. "There's only one of him, and I think people want to see him. It is what it is. That's how the sys...

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