It should have been quite obvious to everyone – Kobe Bryant not playing in the All-Star game (although he was voted to start) meant the West were going to lose, no matter how good the other players filling in for him were going to be.
A four-time All-Star game MVP, Bryant was made for this sort of game. It’s the one time of the year where he gets to play next to the biggest stars in the NBA and has the chance to show he’s better than them. It doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not, but Bryant is going to try and prove it, like he did in the 2011 game, ignoring everyone around him or in front of him, scoring 37 points and grabbing 14 rebounds en route to that MVP award.
But since 2007, whenever Bryant doesn’t play for the West, missing three games due to injury, the East win. The Eastern conference do have LeBron James on their side, but the West has been the better conference in terms of teams and talent over the last decade and maybe more. However, not having Bryant on the team has been “costly” for those who care about this sort of thing.
In 2007 Bryant played and won the MVP. He scored 31 points in one of the most one-sided All-Star games, leading the West to a 153-132 win. A year later he wasn’t playing and the East picked up a 134-128 win, LeBron James winning the MVP.
In 2009? Back to “normal”, with Bryant leading the West to a 146-119 win, winning the Co-MVP award along with Shaq. In 2010 an injury kept him out of the game, and it went to the East. Dwyane Wade won the MVP, and the East won the game 141-139.
In 2011 Bryant was at it again, winning his fourth MVP with 37 points, leading the West to a 148-143 win, not to mention the beginning of a 3-game winning streak. In 2012 Bryant scored 27 points while Kevin Durant took over the show. In 2013, Chris Paul won the MVP, while the West took the game 143-138, with Bryant scoring only 9 points.