It’s an exhibition — give the people what they want.
And they want Kobe Bryant.
He received more fan votes than anyone — 1,891,614 — and will lead the West All-Star Game starters when they take the court Feb. 14 in Toronto. Here are the five starters for each team as chosen by the fans:
Guards: Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook
Frontcourt: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard
The coaches will vote in the seven reserves from each conference (to be announced next week).
Leonard passed Draymond Green in the final four days to nab the last starting spot in the West. Green actually fell to sixth — Zaza Pachulia of the Mavericks gained a couple hundred thousand in the final days and came within 14,000 votes of becoming an All-Star starter. Credit the Wyclef Jean bump. (If you don’t think things like this can happen, ask the NHL.) The coaches will not be voting in Pachulia, by the way.
Don’t be shocked if Green carries this “snub” over as motivation next Monday when the Warriors face the Spurs.
Anthony Davis not being voted an All-Star starter could be costly. If he does not make the All-NBA team (and he likely will, although there is a lot of competition), he will not qualify for the “Rose Rule” on his contract extension that kicks in next season, costing him $23 million over the five years of the deal.
Chris Paul and Klay Thompson finished third and fourth in the West guard voting, they likely are voted in by the coaches.
Guards: Dwyane Wade, Kyle Lowry
Frontcourt: LeBron James, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony
LeBron led all vote-getters in the East, the only person in the conference to clear 1 million votes.
Host Toronto got a starter when Kyle Lowry was handed a starting spot in the East, passing Kyrie Irving in the final days. Irving likely is voted in by the coaches to a reserve spot (although he did miss considerable time the first part of this season due to a knee injury).
Pau Gasol almost was voted in the final starting spot, he was just 350 votes back of ‘Melo (of more than 566,000)
Here are the final vote tallies:
1 LeBron James (Cle) 1,089,206
2 Paul George (Ind) 711,595
3 Carmelo Anthony (NY) 567,348
4 Pau Gasol (Chi) 566,988
5 Andre Drummond (Det) 515,296
6 Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 473,579
7 Chris Bosh (Mia) 351,420
8 Kevin Love (Cle) 332,685
9 Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 301,362
10 Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 84,617
11 Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 73,079
12 Joakim Noah (Chi) 48,509
13 DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 46,044
14 Marcin Gortat (Was) 43,496
15 Paul Millsap (Atl) 41,654
1 Dwyane Wade (Mia) 941,466
2 Kyle Lowry (Tor) 646,441
3 Kyrie Irving (Cle) 580,651
4 Jimmy Butler (Chi) 564,637
5 DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 444,868
6 John Wall (Was) 368,686
7 Derrick Rose (Chi) 302,389
8 Jeremy Lin (Cha) 195,920
9 Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 153,642
10 Reggie Jackson (Det) 76,688
1 Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,891,614
2 Kevin Durant (OKC) 980,787
3 Kawhi Leonard (SA) 782,339
4 Zaza Pachulia (Dal) 768,112
5 Draymond Green (GS) 726,616
6 Blake Griffin (LAC) 651,860
7 Enes Kanter (OKC) 534,499
8 Tim Duncan (SA) 431,087
9 Anthony Davis (NO) 400,688
10 DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 364,270
11 DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 269,427
12 LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 268,003
13 Dwight Howard (Hou) 219,761
14 Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 173,317
15 Harrison Barnes (GS) 155,289
1 Stephen Curry (GS) 1,604,325
2 Russell Westbrook (OKC) 772,009
3 Chris Paul (LAC) 624,334
4 Klay Thompson (GS) 555,513
5 James Harden (Hou) 430,777
6 Manu Ginobili (SA) 226,289
7 Rajon Rondo (Sac) 200,518
8 Tony Parker (SA) 195,472
9 Andre Iguodala (GS) 181,142
10 Damian Lillard (Por) 158,360