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Poll question: Should Kobe Bryant sit out the NBA All-Star game?

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We now know Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is within strong possibility of missing Wednesday night's game against the Utah Jazz. And since we've debated for about a month now regarding whether Bryant should sit or rest his fractured right index finger and/or his recently sprained left ankle, well, the next inevitable question involves whether Bryant should sit out Sunday for the NBA All-Star game.

One thing is for sure: He's providing assistance of some sort for Lakers guard Shannon Brown on Saturday in the NBA Dunk Contest, but the state secrets remain classified. I can only safely guess that Brown wouldn't try to dunk over him because a.) Nate Robinson already did that last year over Dwight Howard and b.) Bryant did have recent back spasms.

But another thing remains uncertain. Even though Bryant will be in Dallas for All-Star weekend, he told reporters after the Lakers' win Tuesday against San Antonio that he'll keep all possibilities open for whether he'll play in what would be his 12th All-Star game. For the last three contests, Bryant hadn't made a firm decision until right before tipoff, so he could prolong the possibility that his ankle would heal enough come game time. Therefore, it's safe to say there won't be a definitive decision until this weekend, Sunday at the very latest. 

That leads us to today's poll question on whether he should play in the NBA All-Star game. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson made light of another external pressure in the latest dissection of "Should-Kobe-play-or-rest-gate." "That's something the league has put such a priority on," Jackson said. "They're trying to draw 150,000 people to a game. It's a big deal. It's a revival meeting."

There's no question the league, Dallas, Nike and NBA fans would love to see him there. There's also no question Bryant would love testing out Jerry Jones' new digs at Cowboys Stadium. But the league isn't mandating that he play (if Bryant opted to play tonight but miss the All-Star game, well that could be a different story).

But if Bryant decides to remain on the sidelines, he would have 10 full days to further recover from his sprained left ankle in addition to any lingering effects of his fractured right index finger, back spasms and strained elbow. He wouldn't need to worry about playing until Tuesday against Golden State. 

If Bryant indeed opts to play, new questions will emerge on how much he should play. Jackson, who coached the All-Star team as recently as last season, told The Times' Mike Bresnahan last week that he'd often ask players, "How many guys are 100% healthy and want to play through this thing in a regular rotation? How many guys have nagging injuries and want to go limited minutes? And how many guys just want to make an appearance?"

That's something Bryant would have to address to Denver Coach George Karl, who recently joked (and I stress joked), "If we were playing them Tuesday after the All-Star game, I would" play Bryant a full 48 minutes. The Lakers play Golden State on Tuesday, not Denver, but that won't stop the sinister among us to think Karl, or any other opposing coach for that matter, would pull such a move. I don't think Bryant would have to worry about that, but his participation is surely a thing to ponder about in the days ahead. 

That brings us to today's poll. Feel free to vote below and share your opinion in the comments section below. 

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: This uniform may just be for display only. Though Kobe Bryant was voted in as a Western Conference All-Star, he hasn't decided whether he'll make his 12th appearance because of a sprained left ankle. Credit: Andy Bernstein / NBAE

 
Comments () | Archives (39)

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For the sake of paying fans who voted for him, a cameo appearance would be OK like after the first time out, Coach Karl will replace him. This is what Byron Scott did sometime ago. You see, Kobe is now an important personality in any All Star game. It would downgrade its entertainment value when the All Stars would snub the game which happens at the recess time of the season. Kobe will not play 48 minutes, so a courtesy appearance will be understandable meeting the satisfaction of the media, Stern and the fans in general who are there to see the All Stars in 2010.

bump...

I will be very interested to see what Kobe’s decision is vis-a-vis the ASG. It will tell us all a lot about what his current priorities are. Personally, I would like to see him play tonight in Utah, if he can, and then tell the league that he’s gonna skip the ASG. That obviously would not go over well with the powers that be but it would send out just the right signal to his teammates and to the Lakers’ fans. The message being that he’s focused exclusively on winning another championship and not so much with appeasing Stern and his cronies, not to mention his agent and sponsors.

If Kobe does play tonight it will be very difficult for him to skip the ASG, there may even be a fine involved, which I would hope that Jerry Buss would cover. However, Kobe should not let that discourage him for playing against the Jazz if he is able and feels he can help the team win this next game.

If Kobe doesn’t play tonight but does play in the ASG, even token minutes, I will lose a small degree of respect for him. Not as a person but as a player devoted to a cause.

Hey Nut, did it occur to you that after 5 days Kobe might still be healing (Utah), but after 10 days (ASG) he might be ready to play his 12 minutes (as a tune up for the Warriors)? Only Kobe and his doctors know what's best for Kobe, I for one, am letting him decide.

you know, i don't even watch the all star game anymore. sad, but true.

KB Blitz .

Problem with Mamba worshipers is your misguided belief that Kobe is the sole reason for present and future Lakers championships. NOT. Kobe didn't win without Shaq until Gasol and Bynum grew up. LO wasn't enough.

Now Kobe has arguably the best cast in the NBA, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Artest, Farmar, Brown, Sasha, Walton, even D. Fish.

Lakers bloggers are saying Kobe should play with the team and not above the team.

Get it?

should he play in the allstar game? Oh come on, of course he should! He doesn't have to play much, if he can jog slowly in a straight line, that's all he would have to do. Just come out for the tipoff so he's in the starting lineup, then come down and either pass the ball to somebody or let his man blow by on defense, and then come down on offense, try to get an assist and then wave at the crowd and come out of the game. It's just an acknowledgement to all the fans who voted for him, it's not like any real defense is going to be played anyway and even if he gives up a few points to his man at the start, who cares? it's 2 or 3 points out of what? 120 or 130 that will be scored.

Jon K.

I am really surprised of your statement, and thoughts:

No, there is not.

"Kobe doesn't have to be your favorite Laker, but he is a Laker through and through, thus, as a Laker you have to be a fan of Kobe, otherwise you are rooting against the Heart of the Lakers (or at least the Liver, Brain or Lungs of the Lakers--he certainly is not the appendix of the Lakers. He's a crucial, life-sustaining organ.)"

If that is the case then, why not the same thing for Shaq? Do you still consider him as Lakers. Team's name is the organization name, players come and go even at the middle of the season! This is exactly why Kobe pushed to trade Shaq, because he wanted that Lakers to be his only, and this is not a teamwork mentality that a teamplayer needs!

Aztronut,

So if Kobe doesn't play in Utah, but does play in the ASG ...

And the league fines him, are you ok with that?

I don't believe that Jerry Buss will cover it. I can't remember a time when the
Lakers have covered a fine for one of their multi-millionaire players.

Also, of the 2.5 *MILLION* fans who voted him in ... Are they just chopped
liver, even though they're indirectly paying him? [ I assume you're one of the
2.5 million ]

Aztronut,

sorry that should be play in utah and skip the ASG.

Job,

"Only Kobe and his doctors know what's best for Kobe"

At least we can agree on that much! BTW, one of my favorite books of all-time was Heinlein's "Job: A Comedy of Justice" Check it out some time, it's a classic.

Job | February 10, 2010 at 03:43 PM

very good point. 5 more days.

by the way, do they grow NUTS in AZ? :-)

Kobe at the all star game - if he feels good, he should have a light run. It might be good for him. Don't try to be MVP, just play some, get some run in. If he needs rest, don't play.


Utah tonight will be a tough test. Utah started rough, but they are right now playing as well as anyone except Cleveland. Utah is a tough place to play. I think Utah is underrated right now, a good team. Lakers are shorthanded.


A win, any kind of win, would be great. Betting line currently favors Utah.


Tom Daniels

"you know, i don't even watch the all star game anymore. sad, but true."

So True. You are not alone.

hobbitmage,

I certainly understand your perspective and assume that is probably a mainstream opinion. Meaning that if he plays in Utah, he should play in the ASG. I just happen to disagree with it.

As I stated previously, I would expect the league to fine him for doing that. As to Mr. Buss covering a fine, I find it hard to believe that this would ever be publicized or that we would ever know it occurred in such an instance. That being said, yes I would expect him to cover it because he should be more concerned about what is best for the Lakers as opposed to what is best for the league. I don't think that those two things are necessarily the same.

As to the fans...well, that is why I understand your perspective. Although, no I didn't vote for him, nor anyone for the ASG. I rarely watch it and am really not too interested. It's an exhibition game but that doesn't mean that the players who participate aren't risking injury.

Since it seems to me that Kobe is more susceptible to injury right now that most, he should accept the fact that he's been hurt most of the year and sit this one out. I'd actually prefer that he sit out the Jazz game as well, but I'd have less of problem with him taking the risk and playing a meaningful game to the team than I would with him chancing an exhibition game for fun and profit.

Sorry phRED, put your name in the wrong box. My bad.

"you know, i don't even watch the all star game anymore. sad, but true."

So True. You are not alone.

Peter

Damn, I think I've got something stuck to the bottom of my shoe and it's ouchhhhhhhhh.

Lamar to join Kobe at USA National Team camp, Bynum declines
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AZtroNUT.

because u know everything about Bynum after only 5 years and 2 seasons in street clothes, but you question Kobe's priorities after seeing him playing in the league for 14 years, how should i/we interpret his stand of declining to play for the national team: lack of PATRIOTISM? wondering why he does not get FAN votes for the ASG selection.

i'm sure we'll hear soon a condescending and patronizing arm chair psychologist answer. don't let Saturn blind your weak spot.

I'm calling it!! If everyone keeps the same mentality that they have the last 2 games and keeps that chip on their shoulder then the Lakers will beat(as Karl Malone would say)the U-tar Jamz.

You heard it here first ladies and germs!!!

ouchhhhhhhhh,

Wow, I almost thought you were asking a question of me a respectful manner. Then I got to the final bit and realized once again that you are not worth treating seriously. Scat, go pester someone else, I don't what to have to scrape you off the bottom of my shoe again.

Time to start my pre-game preparations, I'll see y'all on the other side...

Of course he SHOULD sit out, but I don't think he will sit out.

If he sits out, Sith Lord David Stern will make sure the Lakers don't get another fair called game for the rest of the season.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Tom Tom,

You should root for our players as long as they wear our colors. It's that simple, because when they succeed, the team succeeds.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Cripes!!!! I had premature reply sumbition... i swear its never happened before!!!

Anyway...Kobe should just sit out and see how he feels for the Golden State game next Tuesday. His finger wont heal in that time but his ankle will most likely be fully recovered and hopefully those pesky back spasms will go away with some rest.

PICK AND POST…
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ZAIRA…CORNERJ…I think you misinterpreted what I was saying about Pau dunking the ball or, more likely, I didn’t express my self clearly enough. I was not in any way disrespecting the greatness and beauty of Pau’s game or suggesting that he change it in any way. All I was saying is that Pau needs to adjust his game when he is playing against physical defenders who try to intimidate him. Pau learned in the last Finals how to combat that strategy, which is to finish strong rather then settling for weenie shots, to meet aggression with aggression.
-
The reason for finishing strong is also more than just the emotion and passion it generates. It’s also about making sure to get the points, not giving the other team the chance to block the shot, not taking the risk that the shot might not go in. I think we could all agree that the percentage of missed dunks is much lower than the percentage of missed layups. Nobody is asking Pau to become Shaq, although working to make his wiry body stronger would help. We just want Pau to play his best. He is contributing greatly but still struggling.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
LTLF…Great response to Staples, who I think was having a lot of fun stirring up the pot. Well, now we have come full circle, haven’t we? Were the tradaholics in charge, we would have so far traded Kobe, Drew, Pau, Lamar, Artest, Fisher, Farmar, Vujacic, Ammo, and Walton, leaving us with Brown, Powell, and Mbenga. But hey, we still have 1/2 a season to go.
-
Your observation that Staples was reading the wrong message from the last two wins was right on. As much as we love him, does anybody think that Lamar is going to play every game the way he has the last two? And what about when we play the Cavs and Celtics, where the matchups suddenly change? Might we need the league’s best young center and best closer?
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TODD…Some good stuff from you lately. Like you, I would really like to see what Farmar could do with the starting unit. I love how he has been the point guard blowing by his defender the last few games. The Spurs could not keep him out of the paint. And he played excellent defense on Parker when he was in. Every day, he is getting better and better.
-
I know where you were going with the comments about Mamba lovers but I think you can be a true-blue team-first fan as well as a Mamba fan. That’s what I consider myself to be. I had as much fun watching the last two Lakers games as any games this year, despite the fact that my favorite (Kobe) and second favorite (Drew) players were not in the game. Of course, I also love most of the rest of the team so there was not a problem finding someone to root for.
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RICK…All you have to do to get yourself back into the right frame of mind (in my opinion, of course) is to remember the Celtics game. We are talking about a 22-year old player who was the player of the game in what has been the Lakers biggest game of the year. The Lakers two biggest goals of the rest of the season is to integrate Kobe and Drew into the team-oriented offense and defense we have seen the last two games. Nobody is going to bail on Drew.
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Did I love how Lamar played the last two games. Wow! If he did that every game, he would be a super star franchise player. And although he still struggled, Pau did a great job on the boards and especially defending the rim. That is the type of effort we need from him. And Ron is showing more and more that he is a world class player at both ends of the court.
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You always struck me before as a GHF type of guy, Rick, but lately it seems as if you still have to find some “serious” problem to discuss. Sure, the team has some issues but it’s not like we are asking them to do something that they have never done before. Same with Kobe and Drew. We don’t need to make much ado about nothing. The Lakers are not going to make a major trade. Drew is their center of the future. Jordan is looking more and more like their point guard of the future. I would say it’s a time to smile and enjoy the rest of the season.
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MARK MEDINA…”That team balance ensured a solid outcome, regardless of anyone's individual performances.” I thought this was a real hidden gem in your article about the three things the Lakers need to do. Sometimes, the obvious is hard to remember and even though Kobe ball has usually given us the win, even Kobe can have a bad game or two. When we overly rely on him, that is the price we play.
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A modified system where we run our offense most of the time instead of running isolations for Kobe will make the Lakers as a team much harder to defend. The other adjustment that I think makes great sense is for player to still cut and try to seal their men when we do run isolation plays for Kobe. With the defense focused so much on Kobe, it is the perfect time for a player off the ball to make a move. It’s not like the defense is NOT leaning toward Kobe anyway and there is not much you can do when you’re on the weak side without the ball.
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AZTRONAUT…Outstanding post about Drew. I hope every Lakers fan who questions this young man’s potential or value to the team now and in the future takes the time and effort to read your excellent post. I thought you painted a very accurate assessment of where Drew is. I especially loved your defense of those who “know” he has no heart or doesn’t care. There is definitely a huge void between the truth and perception when it comes to Drew. For the life of me, I cannot understand why all the negativity. To me and to the Lakers as a team, it’s not a question of whether or not Drew is going to be a super star player but more when.
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Tom

Kwaminus I can teach you, but I have to charge Brownicus,

One very selfish reason I don't want Kobe to play:

Here's the thing, let's say Kobe plays and just shows up. 10 minutes. 6 points. Etc.

Well, right now, at this very second Sith Lord Darth Stern is electricuting referees in his dungeon with a car battery screaming, "YOU MAKE SURE LEBRON'S THE GAME MVP!!! YOU HEAR ME?!?!?!?!? NO ONE ELSE IS GETTING THAT MVP THIS YEAR?!!!!! NO ONE!!!!!" As LEBRON watches chuckling over video link.

Anyhow, if LeBron gets the All-Star MVP this year (which is a guarantee according the nefarious machinations of Darth Stern) AND Kobe plays I'M going to have to fricken hear about it all fricken season at my lucky barstool AND at work.

Screw that!

Just have Kobe not play, he can rest up, we can steamroll our way through the season and through the Finals and whenever anyone asks about LeBron's All-Star MVP we can all say sincerely, "Well, there should be an asterick next to that MVP because Kobe didn't play."

There.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Game day, my fine blog family.

Ah... the in-fighting. Well, it certainly does add a bit of spice to the blog, no question about it.

Should Kobe skip the ASG? Whatever. Don't care. What I DO care about is putting an old-fashioned ass-whupping on the Jazz tonight. That would make me really, really happy.

Go Lake Show!

Stupid debate- of course he should sit out the meaningless game. All All Star games should be after each sports season.

No Todd,

*You* don't get it. All you do is either bash Derek Fisher and/or Kobe Bryant. Sure the team overall won those titles but again let me ask you this question:

WITHOUT KOBE BRYANT WOULD SHAQ WON THOSE TITLES?

WOULD THE LAKERS WIN A *TITLE* WITHOUT KOBE? NO NOT PACIFIC DIVISION TITLES, NOT WESTERN CONFERENCE TITLES...THE LARRY O'BRIEN!

Then you bring up such crappy remarks like how Jordan Farmar is the best PG in the league and Andrew Bynum is the MVP.

Kobe is in the conversation with the top 10 of the BEST NBA PLAYERS OF ALL TIME. He's above names like West/Dr. J/Stockton/Malone/Barkley/David Robinson/James Worthy. Some put him above Hakeem (which I don't agree) but this is already at 31 and he's sitll got more years in him! He's a legend already! Does that mean he's perfect No! That does not mean his contributions are negligible because he played with Shaq/Gasol.

Shaq did not win a title until Kobe grew up and when Phil arrived. Gasol was leading a lottery team at the same time Kobe was breaking records and keeping the Lakers above 40+ wins. Do you think ANYONE could lead a team with Smush/Kwamay Brown/Brian Cook into a title? When Michael Jordan had a crappy team he had some great moments like the 63 points against the Celtics yet he got swept. You say "Kobe had talent on his team" well I have to find a player who LED his team to titles yet played with some crappy players. Name ONE!

And Bynum? LOL. Bynum was nothing more than a foul hitting DUMMY in the playoffs while he rode Kobe and Pau's butt to the title and you include him into the conversation with Pau. That's why almost 97% of NBA Fans disregard what you say.

Todd: You lose.

Astronut,

you wrote: As I stated previously, I would expect the league to fine him for doing that. As to Mr. Buss covering a fine, I find it hard to believe that this would ever be publicized or that we would ever know it occurred in such an instance.

my response: I believe that the NBA has rules against teams paying the fines
for their players. Given the tyrannical nature of David Stern, I find it hard
to believe that he would allow anyone to flout his authority.

He's a power mad freak. A tyrant of the highest order. The anti-christ given
flesh and he will not allow any one to flout his authority until the day *AFTER*
he's buried.

someone said they would lose respect in a man for a decison he will make on the game. sir or ma am, you are a fan of the game. you should respect a decision of yours truely. you dont have to like what someone does but you should be able to respect their decision. I would be scared to be your friend, because you would lose respect in me because I am human and made a decision, with that being said, we are all fans. we have our own opinions on these situations. I just say, play if you can, if you cant dont, any chance i get to see you play is a blessing. I enjoy kobe playing the game of basketball. So, I will not stop liking you because you shot 30 times trying to win the game. I will not stop liking you because you decided you needed a break. I will not stop liking you because, you trying to sell your nike shoe. This is a business. this is your time to market yourself. So, if you need to market yourself do it the lakers get their chance when you help win then championships.

KB Blitz,

you wrote: And Bynum? LOL. Bynum was nothing more than a foul hitting DUMMY in the playoffs while he rode Kobe and Pau's butt to the title and you include him into the conversation with Pau. That's why almost 97% of NBA Fans disregard what you say.

My response: I don't think this is quite right. I think you forgot high chair
for some forgettable bunny at the playboy mansion.

Great matchup for for Fisher tonight. He always dominates Deron Williams. And the way Fish has been playing lately look for a huge game tonight. Without Kobe and Bynum, Fish will easily get 20 or 25 tonight. Fisher will lead the way tonight. And remember ...what do we paly for !!! I need to get my lucky bar stool reserved and see if there are any good horror films on AMC after the game !!!

Jonny boy K,

Are you out of your friggin mind !!! If Stern disliked the Lakers as you say he does. Why did he let Gasol go to the Lakers when the Bulls and other teams were offering real players for him ? This Stern bias you are speaking about does not exist except in your paranoid psyche !!!

The All-Star game is not played at a very intense level. Kobe should play a bit and not push it.

they grow DEEZ....no, never mind.

yeah, the nba will do what it can, fines or otherwise, to get players to play in the all star game. but if a player skips the game beforehand, say, a game tonight against utah, they won't.

it's a balancing act between 'selling the league aggressively with hype and theatrics' and 'the interests of powerful owners whose players' health might actually be threatened'

go figure.

I hope hope hope KObe bails out from the All Star Game.
That is useless in the economy of the season. Plus I'd LOVE to see how Nike & Stern realize LeBronze alone means nothing in this league.
But I know he will probably show up for the money duty.
conomy drives everything. I won't be naive thinkin not even Kobe can be above that (not in the sense he needs money, but in the sense from his showin depend lots of other people's jobs and wealth.)

Show for 5 minutes. Then claim the ankle stil hurt you.
Let LeBronze deal with his *magnificence* (heavy sarcasm there)

Thanks for the kind words LakerTom.

Zaira - why the hate on Lebron? You do realize that he's won exactly as many gold medals as Kobe, right? Do you hate him for being willing to help out the USA as a very young player when Kobe wouldn't even join the team? Or is it just a convenient excuse for you to get out your hate?

Why do you think that some people can make their arguments without coming up with derogatory nicknames for the players they don't like?

Little is known about when this white/venom purple/neon green Zoom Kobe V (5)will hit stores, but we’ll keep you updated here when new information comes to light.


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