HOUSTON -- Jrue Holiday sat at a table wide-eyed and smiling as he answered all questions lobbed his way.
“It is crazy,” Holiday said of dealing with the All-Star media wave. “All the attention that you get is kind of overwhelming. You get in there with the guys like LeBron (James) and KG (Kevin Garnett), who has been here 15 years straight. It is cool to see how they handle it and react to it. I am just trying to soak it all in.”
Holiday was named to his first time All-Star team as a reserve. There was a chance that he could have been in Sunday’s starting lineup with Rajon Rondo sidelined by an injury. However, Eastern Conference and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra tabbed his own Chris Bosh to start the game.
Kobe still on top of his game
While Holiday is in town for his first All-Star appearance, Kobe Bryant is going through the experience for a 15th time.
The throng of media that have wanted to talk to the Lakers superstar has not waned one bit over the year, which amazes even Bryant.
“The level of consistency that I have had throughout the years is very humbling,” Bryant said. “It feels good to have that. I mean, I never thought that in my 15th year that they would vote me in this much. That says something about them wanting to see an old dog out there running around, but it is a really good feeling to have that.”
Despite still playing at an elite level, Bryant didn’t hesitate when dismissing any notions of him playing again on an international stage such as the Olympics.
“I am done,” he said.
When asked about knowing when it will be time to leave the NBA, Bryant didn’t give a date but he has a definite plan.
“I think you just know. You just know,” he said. “If I want to just walk away, I will just walk away. I think it is something that you just feel and decide, and it’s coming.”
Bryant talks Bynum
Bryant’s time to leave may be coming, but what about the debut of his former teammate, Andrew Bynum, wearing a Sixers uniform?
“A lot of it is luck,” Bryant said of staying healthy in the NBA. “I have been really, really fortunate to not have anything serious happen to me. I have had a couple minor procedures, but they weren’t serious.
“You have to have a little luck with injury and hopefully he can get right and get healthy, because he is a hell of a player.”
Bynum played seven seasons alongside Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant saw Bynum grow into a dominant center and a post presence that helped the team win a championship in 2010. That growth hit a high mark last season when Bynum averaged career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8).
Bryant’s message to the many disappointed Sixers fans is simply to hang in there.
“He is a phenomenal talent. Extremely, extremely skilled,” Bryant stressed.
“I feel like anything that comes out of Kobe’s mouth is respected,” Holiday said. “I feel like he pays his dues, but when he does it means a lot. Knowing how good Andrew is and how good he can be, obviously gives me a lot of hope.”