Kobe Bryant Among The All-Time Lakers
On Feb 1st 2010, Kobe Bryant scored a very fitting 44 points (West’s jersey number) to past Jerry West and become the Lakers all-time scorer.
Bryant has played through many ups and downs as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Granted the downs aren’t as bad as the woeful Clippers team that shares the Staples Center, but then again the only thing lower than them is the economy, post Bush Administration.
Bryant, also known as the ” Black Mamba” is right next to Lebron James for top players the NBA has to offer.
Bryant’s recent achievement has raised many questions about where he ranks amongst all-time Laker greats.
Does Bryant now holding the Lakers scoring record make him number one on that list of Lakers? Michael Jordan isn’t the NBA’s all-time scorer, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone with the IQ higher than a doormat that would say he’s not the greatest baller of all-time.
Where does Kobe rank with the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and former teammate Shaquille O’Neal?
No Illusions In This Magic
No. 1 Earvin “Magic” Johnson, not only is he the greatest Laker of all-time, but he has the coolest nickname and is one of the five greatest players of all-time.
Magic is a perfect nickname for what he could do on the floor, but what’s even more magical is that he is the only man I know who looks healthier after contracting the HIV virus. Now that’s “Magic”!
Magic was a 6’9 point guard who had a better feel for the game of basketball than anyone who has ever played. He could play every position on the floor at an all-star caliber level.
Johnson was a five time NBA Champion and what is even more astonishing than that, he was a three time finals MVP on a team loaded with talent. The only time I can recall watching him live was post HIV and even then his game was a thing of beauty.
Wrote The Book, On The Hook
No. 2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor. You want to talk about an “all-time” great idea to change your name, Kareem might be the winner.
Kareem is responsible for giving us the indefensible shot, “The Sky Hook”.
When you talk about the best centers of all-time, Kareem is on the short list with Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Shaq. Asking which one of these guys you would want in the block, is the same thing as asking how you would like a million dollars.
Kareem has achieved just about everything you can in a pro basketball career. Most notable achievements, six time NBA league MVP and most career points in league history.
The Best In The West
No. 3 Jerry West “The Logo”, he got his nickname because the NBA decided to make his image the logo of the National Basketball Association. Side note of Mr. West, he made it inappropriate for heterosexual men to wear short shorts.
Obviously I’m judging West on the generation that he played in, if “The Logo” played in today’s game he’d be known as “Ass Back,” as in get your ass back on the bench. Seriously he’d probably be a sixth man on most competitive teams in the NBA today.
One disadvantage that West’s career numbers suffer from is that he didn’t have the three point line. If it were in play, Kobe would probably have had a few more years in front of him before he caught the Lakers legend.
O’Neal Was The Real Deal
No. 4 Shaquille O’Neal, this man has more nicknames than total body weight. Shaq is the most nimble 300 lbs plus man to ever walk the earth. Of these men, Shaq spent the shortest amount of time as a Laker, but they were the prime years of his career.
At one point with the Lakers, Shaq was an unstoppable force. He changed the way other teams had to defend and most importantly the way the refs called the game. In fact the only thing that could stop Shaq’s career from ascending was making movies like Kazaam.
If it wasn’t for ego, Shaq might still be a Laker, and if that were the case they would have destroyed the Celtics in ’08. On top of that they would have never had the rebuilding period, in which Shaq went to Miami and captured his fourth ring.
Without Shaq, Kobe would have never won any of those first three titles. However, Shaq would have gotten one if not two without Kobe and proved so by being the teams MVP in finals all three championships.
Quest To Be The Best
No. 5 Kobe Bryant “Black Mamba”, gets the unfair comparison to Michael Jordan. Some of that comparing is brought on by himself with his unhealthy man love of MJ. At one point he tried to mimic his every move on and off the court, it was pathetic.
Bryant is one of those guys that are underrated on the defensive end because of his offensive superiority. Kobe is the second most versatile player on this list and potentially the most clutch.
Kobe did lead the Lakers to a Championship in ’09, but beat an Orlando Magic team whose best player is known as the “Turkish Michael Jordan”, Hedo Turkoglu.
I’m not saying that Kobe can’t climb higher on this list, but he’s got some work in front of him. When Kobe’s career is over he will probably be right behind Magic when it comes to all-time Lakers.