New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Allow the annual debate on fans voting for starters in the NBA All-Star Game to commence.
Kobe Bryant, despite playing in just six games this season due to an Achilles injury and a fractured knee, has been voted as a starter in the Western Conference's backcourt.
The 35-year-old Lakers guard will likely not play, but he nonetheless led all guards in the West except Golden State's Stephen Curry, who will be making his first All-Star Game after garnering 1,047,281 votes. Bryant was second with 988,884 votes, with Chris Paul a distant third at 804,309.
Bryant's 16 All-Star nods trails only the 19 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accumulated in his Hall-of-Fame career.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant topped the West in votes with 1,396,294 and is joined in the frontcourt by the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin (688,466) and Minnesota's Kevin Love (661,246), who passed Houston's Dwight Howard in the final week of voting.
Durant fell shy of overcoming LeBron James as the top overall vote-getter. James, who accumulated 1,416,419 votes, will be joined in the Eastern Conference starting lineup with his Heat teammate Dwyane Wade (929,542), Indiana's Paul George (1,211,318), New York's Carmelo Anthony (935,702) and Cleveland's Kyrie Irving (860,221).
This season's game will be played Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
The reserves will be announced on Jan. 30.