After 2 years of being voted behind LeBron James, Kobe Bryant is back on top as the most popular player among NBA rookies. John Schuhmann on NBA.com released their annual survey and the 21.2 percent of the 2013-2014 rookies selected Kobe as their favorite. LeBron came in second with 15.2% and Durant and Dirk were tied at second with 12.1.
The close race was a far cry from last year’s survey. 31% of the 2012 rookie class voted LeBron as their favorite with Kobe at 18% and Durant at 10. Dirk was tied at 3rd with KG with 5.7.
The last time Kobe was the winner of this rookie survey was back in 2010 when the popular rookie class that contained John Wall, Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Jeremy Lin and Eric Bledsoe came in. A huge 38.2% of the votes from this class was for Kobe with LeBron coming in a distant 2nd at 10.5%. Not yet a favorite among rookies, KD didn’t crack the top 5 which was rounded off by Melo, KG and Wade. Surprisingly, Dirk didn’t receive any votes.
Let’s see if these rookies feel the same way after facing Kobe. Bryant, injured or not, is known for “welcoming rookies.” Just ask Kyrie about his rookie season when Kobe he dropped 40 on the Cavs.