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Will this NBA All-star game be Kobe Bryant's last hurrah?


Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson -- Steve Lipofsky www.Basketballphoto.com



Karl Malone - Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com photo


Michael Jordan - Steve Lipofsky photo


Charles Barkley - Steve Lipofsky Lipofsky.com photo




Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol - (NBA photo)






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Kobe Bryant was an overwhelming selection by the fans that chose him to play in the game with 1,891,614 votes. It's safe to say that the votes weren't based on his performance this season but sympathy and a tribute to what he has accomplished during his 19-year NBA career. This scenario resembles the selection and tribute paid to Magic Johnson when he came out of retirement. Johnson's retirement was brought about since he acquired the HIV virus



Saturday, February 13, 2016


Almost one thing is certain that this will be Kobe Bryant's last All-star game...we said ALMOST. Bryant was an overwhelming selection by the fans that chose him to play in the game with 1,891,614 votes.

It's safe to say that the votes weren't based on his performance this season but sympathy and a tribute to what he has accomplished during his 19-year NBA career. His nearest rival vote getter was Stephen Curry who earned 1,604,325 votes.

As this scenario plays out it resembles the selection and tribute paid to Magic Johnson when he came out of retirement. The retirement was brought about since he acquired the HIV virus. Popular demand prompted Johnson to play in the 1992 All-star game in Orlando, Florida.

To this day that given the conditions of the event it is considered the most memorable and significant game in All-star game history.

The out of shape Johnson went on to score 25 points and won the game's MVP Award in leading the West to a 153-113 victory. What wasn't' noted is that Johnson was given the green light to do what he wanted and was barely covered defensively. Basically it was a tribute to him and the accomplishments that he achieved during his 13 season NBA career. Essentially it was the Magic Johnson show.

The same scenario exists for Bryant as this supposed to be his last All-star game and like Johnson, most likely will be given the green light to do what he wants so he can have a good game and will most likely be awarded that game's MVP Award. This game will in all probability be the Kobe Bryant show.

The twist to this contest is in part Johnson retired due to protests that other NBA players didn't want to compete against him for fear of contracting the virus. The most vocal was Karl Malone.

Ironically Malone played in the 1992 All-star game ON THE WEST SQUAD WITH Johnson. Malone played 19 minutes and scored 11 points to Johnson's 29 minutes and 25 points.

Following the game Johnson had his own press conference in a separate room while the other players returned to their locker rooms and did interviews. Michael Jordan was sitting next to Charles Barkley in the team dressing room and was not being interviewed when I walked in.

A twist to Johnson's story was prior to his retirement the league passed a rule that anyone getting a cut had to come out of the game and be bandaged to protect other players from the possibility of contracting the virus.

At that time it was believed that the virus could be transmitted via an exchange of fluids most notably blood.

The other twist is Johnson came out of retirement to play 32 games during the 1995-96 season. Johnson was overweight and was waddling around the floor but managed a 14.6 ppg. average and a decent .466% shooting percentage during his stint.

The comparison to Bryant is Bryant is receiving $25 million this season to produce and miserable shooting average of .349% but has a scoring average that would be respectable for other players at 16.9 ppg.

Following his second retirement Johnson went on to become the Lakers coach and failed miserably in posting a 5 win 11 loss record. Bryant claims this will be his last season but like Johnson he could return. He is being given credit for giving the Lakers young players coaching instructions during a game. That conjures up the thought will he pursue a job as an NBA coach in the future.

Whatever the comparison to Johnson one thing is certain… this All-star game could be the KOBE BRYANT PITY PARTY SHOW.

Bryant now has been selected as the All-Star 18 times and has been MVP four times (2011, 2009, 2007 and 2002). The question is will it be his last.


Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace his teammate, injured Eastern Conference All-Star reserve Jimmy Butler (strained left knee), in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

This marks the sixth NBA All-Star Game selection for Gasol, who is averaging 17.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 blocks for the Bulls (27-24).

Gasol's continued success at the top level of NBA play points out the incompetence of the Los Angeles Lakers management who let him go after deriding his value to the team.

The Spaniard's talent wasn't respected as Lakers management apparently felt that all they needed was Kobe Bryant to be successful. Gasol's teaming with Kobe Bryant enabled the Lakers to play at a competitive level. Since his departure the Lakers have set club records as losers.


NBA All-Star 2016, the first NBA All-Star to be held outside of the United States, will provide fans in 215 countries and territories with access in 49 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets. This includes the 65th NBA All-Star Game, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, and the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, as well as behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews throughout the week.

Below are international highlights of this year’s global basketball celebration:

• 336 international media members from 40 countries and territories are heading to Toronto to cover NBA All-Star 2016.

• 17 international television and radio networks from countries including Canada, China, France, Dominican Republic, Japan, the Philippines and Poland will do live onsite commentary.

• 13 television networks in countries including Azerbaijan, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Latvia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uruguay will broadcast NBA All-Star remotely for the first time.

NBA Key Dates

Feb. 12-14: NBA All-Star 2016 (Toronto, Canada)

Feb. 18: Trade deadline, 3 p.m. ET


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