Kobe Bryant will be replaced by Rockets guard James Harden as a starter in today’s NBA All-Star game in New Orleans, according to this report by Yahoo.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who is the coach for the Western Conference, chose one of his former players, James Harden, to replace an injured Kobe Bryant in today’s game.
Bryant has been out most of the season with an Achilles tendon injury and didn’t make his season debut until December 8th in a game against the Toronto Raptors on the Lakers home court in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center.
Kobe was in for just over a week, playing only six games when he injured his left knee on December 17th in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bryant was examined on the 28th of January, and still had pain and swelling in his knee. Kobe will be examined again after the All-Star weekend in about a week or so, but there is no official word on when he will recover and be able to play again.
Kobe Bryant received over 988,000 votes and had the second highest amount of votes among Western Conference players. Harden was voted number five with nearly 470,000 votes.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver named Anthony Davis, a forward for the Pelicans, as Kobe Bryant’s replacement player. But it all came down to the Western Conference’s coach Scott Brooks, who chose to make the ultimate decision and named his former player James Harden as Kobe’s replacement. Brooks other options included Tony Parker, Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki.
This will be Harden’s second NBA All-Star appearance and will be his first in the starting lineup. Harden, 24, is in his fifth NBA season and averages an impressive 23.9 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game.
James played his first three years with the Oklahoma City Thunder and played in the 2012 finals against the Miami Heat. He was then traded to the Houston Rockets for the 2012-2013 season.
Here are the current starters and reserves for today’s NBA All-Star game.
Eastern Conference Starters: Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), LeBron James (Miami Heat), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks).
Eastern Conference Reserves: DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Paul Milsap (Atlanta Hawks), Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls), Roy Hibbert (Indian Pacers).
Western Conference Starters: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves).
Western Conference Reserves: Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Damian Lillard (PortlandTrail Blazers), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets).
Although Kobe Bryant won’t be playing, fans are hopeful for a quick recovery. The NBA All-Star game will take place today at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans at 8:00 PM EST.