Los Angles Lakers superstar flattered by the high ranking this season.
If Kobe Bryant has his way, he will be watching on from the sidelines this NBA All-Star weekend, after urging his fans to direct their votes to a more deserving player.
Bryant, who is continuing to recover from a fractured left tibial plateau said he did not think he would be back to 100 per cent and able to play he wants to play in the All-Star game.
The Los Angeles Lakers super star said he has enjoyed watching the next generation come through the ranks and wanted to see them get their seat at the table rather than himself.
“I really enjoy watching what the younger guys are doing and how they’re performing,” said Bryant, who was second among Western Conference players in the latest round of All-Star voting, which was released on December 26.
“Even though there’s so much respect from me to be able to go out there and play for the fans, I’d much rather see the young guys play in the game because they’ve obviously put the work in to be in it. I’d much rather go out there and see them participate.”
Bryant, who has appeared in 15 All-Star games, said the fan-favorite vote, as opposed to those who are worthy of the honour does make it difficult for players.
“I probably won’t be able to come back soon enough to put my stamp or make my mark on the game, so my advice would be to focus on these younger players, the Damian Lillards of the world, because they’re more than deserving to be playing on that weekend,” he said.
“That’s obviously a sensitive topic for me because you want to feel like you deserve to be in the game and playing.
“But then there’s the other side of the argument, where you’ve put in a lot of work over the years and they vote you in, and you want to go out there and show your appreciation. I think it’s always a delicate balance.”