Kobe passes LeBron in All-Star votes

Kobe Bryant has overtaken LeBron James as the top vote-getter for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.  The league issued the second set of balloting returns on Thursday, with Bryant pulling ahead of James by 7,130 votes.

The starters in the Western Conference project to be Kevin Durant (970,314), Dwight Howard (616,150), Chris Paul (542,565), Blake Griffin (489,795) and Bryant (977,444).

The only change that seems feasible before voting closes Jan. 14 is Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets overtaking Paul.  Lin is  46,431 votes behind, but currently it looks like Los Angeles will be represented by four All-Star starters.

The Eastern Conference voting is nearly set as well, with Carmelo Anthony (891,759, Dwyane Wade (645,875), Rajon Rondo (574,272), Kevin Garnett (328,716) and James (970,314) the leading vote-getters.  Chris Bosh (308,194) is within range of passing Garnett.

Others Lakers getting votes include Pau Gasol (197,377), Steve Nash (166,262) and Metta World Peace (85,279).

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game is scheduled for Feb. 17 in Houston.  The starters will be announced on TNT Jan. 17.

-Eric Pincus