Like most basketball fans, I'm looking forward to seeing Kobe Bryant in his final NBA All-Star game out in Toronto on Valentine's Day. But he did not receive a single vote on my ballot this year because to vote him in as a starter would be dumber than Sarah Palin.

Call me old school, but there comes a point when all of the all-time greats need to either be chosen as a reserve by the coaches, or be content to take the game in like everybody else, as a fan watching at home or in a court-side seat.

Because once their game starts approaching the point of diminishing returns, and we begin cringing at the fact that they are no longer the dynamic force of nature that they once were, that their game now stinks like hot garbage, to quote the great urban philosopher Teddy Pendergrass, it's time to LET IT GO!!!

In a perfect hoops universe, The All-Star game starters would be the very best five players at their respective positions.


But that is rarely what we get. To illustrate how bizarre it is to allow the fans to vote on the game's starters, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard beat out the Dallas Mavericks' Zaza Pachulia for a spot in the top five. Not Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki or Blake Griffin, but ZAZA PACHULIA!!!

The Eastern Conference starting lineup, announced on Thursday, is as follows:

GUARD: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

GUARD: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

FRONT COURT: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

FRONT COURT: Paul George, Indiana Pacers

FRONT COURT: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks


The Western Conference starting five is:

GUARD: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

GUARD: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

FRONT COURT: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

FRONT COURT: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

FRONT COURT: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Now if an educated group was responsible for the game's starters, picking solely on the basis of who have been the best players halfway through this year, the lineups would have looked like this -


EASTERN CONFERENCE  ALL-STAR STARTERS

GUARD: Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

GUARD: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

FRONT COURT: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

FRONT COURT: Paul George, Indiana Pacers

FRONT COURT: Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons


WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR STARTERS

GUARD: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

GUARD: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

FRONT COURT: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

FRONT COURT: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

FRONT COURT: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

As much as I love Kobe, D-Wade and Carmelo, they don't deserve a starter's spot over Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler and Andre Drummond this year.

And Kobe's selection is beyond egregious, it's akin to giving Eddie Murphy an Oscar for his work in Holy Man, Meet Dave, Pluto Nash and A Vampire in Brooklyn, simply because of his earlier fantastic work. It's beyond dumb, and makes no sense. 

As mentioned before, I wouldn't be mad to see the coaches select Kobe to come off the bench, but if we're keeping it 100 and picking the best players from the first half of the season, he deserves to be an All Star about as much as Donald Trump deserves to be President.

If the game showcases the best ballers from 2015-2016, the players selected as subs by the coaches should be:

EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR SUBS

Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks

John Wall, Washington Wizards

DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

Reggie Jackson, Detroit Pistons


WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR SUBS

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

James Harden, Houston Rockets

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

It's time to do away with this nonsense of sentimentality and living in the past. Being an All-Star is an honor that should be earned every year, not something that's a residual benefit from past excellence.

When Muhammad Ali, aka The Greatest, lost his crown, he had to earn it back. And when he couldn't, he was no longer the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

That didn't mean we didn't love him any more, because we still love him to this day. But it was simply someone else's turn to wear the crown. It's the same thing with Kobe. It's a wrap, bro. Let a more-deserving young boy wear that crown. 

It's time that the NBA stopped the nonsense and repealed the fan's All-Star vote. For a league that has long been known for it's leadership and vision, this is inexplicably dumb.

Let's be true to the game. Kobe will always be The Mamba, but even he knows that he ain't no All-Star.