Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is retiring from the NBA after this season, so nostalgic fans have been showering him with sentimental All-Star votes, according to ESPN.
Over the past couple of weeks, basketball fans have been voting for players so they can be a starter at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, which will be held at the Air Canada Centre.
The first round of voting has been tallied, and the NBA has revealed those numbers to the media. Some results were expected and predictable while a couple of them raised eyebrows.
Kobe Bryant is currently leading the league in NBA All-Star game votes. The six-foot-seven, 210-pound guard currently has 719,235 votes. His final tally more than likely will break a million.
In his heyday, this would come as a shock to no one. After all, the guy has been to the NBA All-Star Game 17 times already. Kobe Bryant usually keeps his February schedule cleared.
The version of Kobe Bryant we’re seeing nowadays, though, is a shell of his former self, with the occasional bursts where he will put up numbers that he used to consistently do.
Thus far this season, Kobe Bryant has averaged 17.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Respectable numbers for most NBA players. Bryant, however, is not like most other players.
Stephen Curry has taken the place of Kobe Bryant as the best guard in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors star, however, has 209,033 fewer votes than the Los Angeles Lakers legend.
LeBron James is considered the best overall player in the NBA. He has 357,937 votes for the NBA All-Star Game. If you do the math, then that is half the votes that Kobe Bryant has.
To give you a more staggering statistic, if you were to combine the votes that LeBron James and Kevin Durant have, it would still not equal what Kobe Bryant has.
Kevin Garnett came into the NBA a year before Kobe Bryant. He is still playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thus far, the future Hall of Famer has only received 42,285 votes.
Tim Duncan is another legend that is close to the end of his NBA career. The generally reserved San Antonio Spurs forward only has 127,543 votes. Of course, Duncan doesn’t care.
For years, Kobe Bryant was considered a villain in the eyes of many NBA fans, mostly those who do not root for the previously successful Los Angeles Lakers. The hate was strong.
It appears that a lot of that hate has subsided. Not all of those sentimental 719,235 votes came from Los Angeles Lakers fans. They are coming from fans of other NBA teams as well.
Some are probably voting for Kobe Bryant because they want to thank him for playing in the NBA for two decades. Others might feel bad because of how sad his final year has been.
Kobe Bryant is one of the most competitive players that the NBA has ever seen. Some say that Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan is the only one who is on the same level as Bryant.
Knowing that competitiveness is inside of him, it is hard for some to see Kobe Bryant playing in a season where he knows that he has absolutely no chance at the NBA Playoffs.
Never one to doubt himself, Kobe Bryant shocked the world recently when he publicly stated that he was content with just having five NBA titles. Michael Jordan has six of them.
While some may not like the fact that Kobe Bryant will be a starter during the NBA All-Star game because his numbers are sub par, others will just bask in the final few moments.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]