Even if Kobe Bryant played in only six games this season, that hasn't stopped the legions of Laker fans all over the world clamoring to vote for him in this year's All-Star game.

Bryant leads all backcourt players in both conferences with 723,031 votes. But considering he remains sidelined for another three weeks with a fractured left knee, Bryant suggested fans should vote for someone else for this year's game that takes place Feb. 16 in New Orleans.

“I probably wouldn't be able to come back soon enough to be able to make my stamp or make my mark on the game,” Bryant said before the Lakers hosted the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at Staples Center. “My advice is to focus on the younger players like the Damian Lillards of the world. They're most deserving to be out here that weekend.”

Lillard ranks third overall in NBA point guards in scoring (21.3 points), but ranks eighth overall among Western Conference guards with votes (105,880). Yet, Bryant sounded sensitive about missing what would be his 16th All-Star appearance.

“If fans vote you in, you want to go out there and show your appreciation and respect to them,” Bryant said. “It's always a delicate balance. From where I come from, I really enjoy watching the young guys doing it and performing. Even though there is so much respect for me to play for the fans, I'd much rather see the young guys go out there and play the game. They've obviously put the work to be there.”


Lately, Bryant's work has entailed stationary bike drills, set shooting and monitoring his diet. Bryant will also travel with the Lakers on their two-game trip this week to Dallas (Tuesday) and Houston (Wednesday).