The Los Angeles Lakers superstar and future Hall of Famer leads all Western Conference frontcourt players by almost 370,000 votes in the first return of ballots, and Rivers thinks Bryant is more than deserving, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
Rivers also told Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times he thinks Bryant should be in the game, even if it meant leaving someone more deserving off the ballot.
It's no surprise Bryant is running away with the votes, despite the Lakers having the worst record in the Western Conference. He's been a fixture in the NBA for almost his entire career. Plus, as mentioned before, anyone who makes it known that they're retiring has usually been a staple in the All-Star Game. Look at Michael Jordan, for example, who started his last All-Star Game and even hit a go-ahead shot with five seconds left in overtime.
The Washington Wizards did not make the playoffs that year.
Shaquille O'Neal was even given an All-Star selection during his final years, mostly because the game was held in Phoenix and he played for the Phoenix Suns in the 2008-09 season. Phoenix also was held out of the playoff picture, and he even shared MVP honors with former teammate Bryant.
The only gripe to be had about Kobe's spot in the voting is that he's attained more than double the votes for Kevin Durant, who sits in second place. The All-Star rosters usually contain 12 players, so there's a chance players like Tim Duncan, DeMarcus Cousins or Dirk Nowitzki could be left off the roster.
For now, there's nothing wrong with Kobe leading in votes the way he is, no matter how controversial the concept of fan voting is.