LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant, sidelined by injury for all but six games this season, gained a 16th NBA All-Star nod in fan voting, but indicated Thursday he’d rather skip the mid-season exhibition.
“With all due respect to the fans that voted me in, I certainly appreciate that, they know how much I appreciate that, but you’ve got to do the right thing as well,” Bryant said shortly before watching his Lakers fall 109-102 to the Miami Heat.
The NBA had announced the results of worldwide fan voting for the All-Star starters on Thursday afternoon.
Bryant was in, even though the Los Angeles Lakers superstar made a belated season debut after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and played just half a dozen games before a broken bone in his knee put him out of action again.
Bryant, 35, said younger, healthier players should get a chance to show their stuff in the All-Star extravaganza in New Orleans on February 16.
Bryant finished second among Western Conference guards in the balloting, behind Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant topped the West in votes and is joined in by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Minnesota’s Kevin Love. Love overtook Houston’s Dwight Howard in the last week of voting.
Durant fell shy of overcoming Miami Heat star LeBron James as the top overall vote-getter.