(Reuters) - - Kobe Bryant was voted to an NBA-record 15th consecutive All-Star start on Thursday, leading the votes despite the sluggish start to the season by his Los Angeles Lakers (17-21).
Bryant collected 1,591,437 votes to edge out Miami’s LeBron James as the most popular pick, breaking out of a tie with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O‘Neal for the most consecutive All-Star selections.
The Lakers guard will be joined by team mate Dwight Howard, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Los Angeles Clippers duo Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in the Western Conference starting lineup for the clash against the Eastern Conference in Houston on February 17.
James and his Miami Heat team mate Dwyane Wade will spearhead the East, with New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Boston pair Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett rounding out the starting five.
Reserves will be announced next Thursday with NBA coaches voting for a further seven players in their conference excluding their own players.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien