Kobe Bryant was voted to play in his 16th All-Star game on Thursday, but the injured superstar is going to decline and allow some of the younger stars in the leage to get their shine.
Bryant, who is unlikely to be healthy enough to play anyway, told ESPN L.A. that declining is the right thing to do.
“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,” Bryant said before the Lakers’ 109-102 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night. “My fans know you got to reward these young guys for the work that they’ve been putting in.”
Bryant spoke to the media just minutes after the league announced the starters for the 63rd annual All-Star Game next month. He didn’t name any particular names, but Bryant has been boisterous about Damian Lillard and James Harden getting the proper attention that they deserve.
“I think it’s important for them to go in and perform,” Bryant said. “They’ve been playing all season. They deserve to be in there. They deserve to play. So, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be out there doing their thing.”