When Kobe Bryant was told Thursday that he remains the top vote-getter for the NBA All-Star game, he seemed a bit surprised.

"Oh, really? Damn," Bryant said. "I guess people want to see an old dog."

An old dog that apparently does not need to be taught any new tricks.

Bryant, 34, is averaging 30.3 points a game, his third-highest output in his 17-season career, and he's more efficient than ever, shooting a career-high 47.9% from the field.

In the third round of NBA All-Star ballot returns, he has 1,177,456 votes, ahead of LeBron James, who has 1,151,304.

Bryant may be putting up some of the most impressive numbers of his career, but he talked about his getting more votes than James and Kevin Durant in a self-deprecating manner, comparing himself to an old man.

"It's just like backyard ball, you see your old ... uncle backing guys down and making shots," he said. "That's what it's kind of like."

Bryant, a 14-time All-Star, said he still looks forward to playing in All-Star games.

"In those situations you don't have to worry about zone coverages or double teams," Bryant said. "You just get the chance to go at a guy. It's fun for me to be a part of that."

And he enjoys showing up the younger guys?

"It may have a little bit to do with it, but for me, I've been that competitive about the game since I was 18," he said.

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