Kobe Bryant OK with not playing in 2016 NBA All-Star game

first_img• HEISLER: Lakers could be worse — Dwight Howard, anyone? On Nov. 12, 2004, Bryant dunked over Howard during his rookie season in Orlando. Both Bryant and Howard insisted following the Lakers’ loss to Houston on Saturday that they have since patched things up. But what would be Bryant’s reaction if Nance dunks over Howard on Thursday?“I can’t even imagine. But the first person I’d go see on the bench would be him,” Nance said, laughing. “But I’m sure he’ll say he still has something better.”Bryant’s bravado aside, he actually glowed about Nance’s highlight-reel dunk. “It was impressive. I thought he had hit the max,” Bryant said. “I thought he was going to get fouled. But he kept going up and up and up. That was good stuff.” Kobe Bryant has NBA Commissioner Adam Silver supporting him. The Lakers’ star has worldwide fans, too. But Bryant sounded deferential on if he should appear in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto on Feb. 14, 2016 during his 20th and final NBA season.“It would be great to play,” Bryant said. “If I’m not in it, I’m not going to beat myself up over that either. I’ll support the game no matter what. I’ll support the players no matter what.”This would normally mark a no-brainer for Bryant, who has been voted in for 17 All-Star games. But he has averaged only 16.5 points on 33-percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists so far this season.• RELATED: Has Kobe turned a corner in his play, regimen? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img But Bryant is expected to receive enough votes both because of his popularity and he is listed as a frontcourt player for playing small forward. But after averaging 18.2 points on 47.2-percent shooting and 4.2 assists in the last five games, Bryant could appear on merit.“It would be great, but at the same time I’ve played in a lot of them, so it’s always great to have the younger guys step up and get their opportunities,” Bryant said. “If I’m fortunate to be there, I’ll be extremely grateful for that. If I’m not, at the same token, I’ll be extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.” Issuing a challengeBryant called Larry Nance Jr.’s one-handed dunk over Milwaukee center John Henson “impressive.” But that’s not what Bryant told Nance Jr. during the ensuing timeout.“He looked to me and said, ‘When you do that on Dwight Howard, you can come talk to me,’” Nance said.last_img read more