Pivot Points: Kobe Bryant Missing the All-Star Game Should Be an Easy Decision

Kobe Bryant has had to endure the pain of an avulsion fracture to the index finger on his shooting hand, crippling back spasms, and a sprained ankle so painful that Bryant says he can't push off with it.

So why in the world is he even contemplating attempting to play in this weekend's All-Star game?

I understand the warrior concept, and I realize Bryant embodies this mentality in many ways, but why risk further injury in a meaningless game?

Los Angeles Laker trainer Gary Vitti offered the opinion that Bryant should continue to rest through the All-Star break—and that sentiment is probably echoed by many who are paying attention to the situation.

Bryant, though, maintains if he is able, he will play. And I think if he does, it should be no more than a token gesture—give the fans a glimpse, wave to the crowd, then retire to the bench in preparation for the task at hand.

That task is to return to health in order to help your teammates defend your 2009 championship and maintain the four-game lead you have over the Denver Nuggets for home-court advantage in the Western Conference.

All else is trivial, especially a glorified scrimmage which serves no purpose other than to quench the thirst of a crazed fanbase that remains enamoured with a dying product.

I am aware of Bryant's own brash ego and his desire to play in Jerry Jones' latest toy—which, if I understand correctly, will serve as the stage for the largest crowd to ever view a basketball game.

Who wouldn't want to be part of that type of history? I don't begrudge Bryant the opportunity to miss out on that—but after the tip, he should assume a seat next to Pau Gasol and discuss the course of the rest of the season.

Speaking of Gasol, he and his teammates have given indications that they can survive a limited time without the services of Bryant, but little can be gleaned from a two- game absence—and th...

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