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Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 at 1:24 pm  |  223 responses

Stakes Is High?

Me, Myself and I. And Russ. And Ryan. And Jake. And Mutoni. And Kobe……

by Myles Brown / @mdotbrown

A meth addict gave me some good advice once. Or at least I thought it was.

“Image is everything.”

Similar adages, such as “a man lives by his reputation” or “perception is reality” had long existed, but for some reason the junkies resonated with me more. Probably because I saw it on television. Regardless, I heeded the advice because it made sense to me; since so much of your life is left to the control of others, who you believe yourself to be doesn’t matter as much as who others believe you are. The relationships, opportunities, privileges and epitaphs bestowed upon us are all based on who we are perceived to be. So live accordingly.

It wasn’t until later in life that I learned not to take advice from junkies. Image isn’t everything, because image-or perception-is purely subjective. Our thoughts and deeds are left to the interpretation of those who have been shaped by their own experiences. Everyone has their own biases, everyone doesn’t forgive-or forget, for that matter-and it’s simply impossible to please them all. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Which brings us to Kobe Bryant.

This is his 14th season, one which has shown the effects of more than 35,000 minutes of basketball. He’s battled broken fingers, aging knees, a sprained ankle and an ailing back to the cusp of yet another championship, though he may fall short. Again. But no matter the result of this evenings contest-or Thursday’s, if necessary-the most impressive injury Bryant has overcome is one which he suffered quite some time ago. His psyche.

From the moment he slid those sunglasses off and announced his decision to go pro, he was perceived as a spoon fed primadonna. From the moment he entered the league alongside a man who would turn the marketing model on its ear, his racial identity has been questioned. From the moment he dared to question the work ethic of an established, but complacent superstar and the authority of a well decorated, but manipulative coach, he’s been deemed too ambitious. And from the moment he exited that hotel room, he surrendered the benefit of the doubt.

A series of moments, spliced into his highlight reel and the collective consciousness, the effects of which have left us with the man who stands here today, jaw jutted and eyes narrowed. A man who pretends not to give a fuck what you think while making it quite evident that he plays for your approval. Such is the dichotomy of being Kobe Bryant. For there is a distinct difference between being the one in the history book and being the one who writes it.

There are some who will tell you that this evenings events will ultimately shape his “legacy”, another subjective term. You won’t find them here. But alas, Kobe doesn’t give a fuck what we think. Right? Maybe you will.

After all, it’s not like we’re on drugs or anything…..

**************

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Kobe Bryant continues to have what is arguably the most fascinating, enthralling, frustrating, and bizarre career of any NBA Hall of Famer.

Things started off so promisingly, then disaster struck, and then he somehow pulled it all back together and redeemed himself in the court of public (and athletic) opinion.

Tonight — and potentially, Thursday night — he gets yet another opportunity to rewrite his story. His own brilliant, divisive, twisted, convoluted, and endlessly fascinating story.

A loss to Boston this summer provides his critics with plenty of ammunition: he’s no Jordan and never will be; he’s not the greatest Laker; the ’09 title was a “fluke”; he can’t make his teammates tougher and better; etc.

(Key thing to remember in all of this: Magic Johnson won five NBA championships. Along the way, Johnson and his Lakers lost in the title round FOUR times. And last time I checked, no one considers his career a let down in any way.)

A win, an improbable comeback against this determined, defensively-great Boston Celtics team validates what Kobe Bryant’s defenders have always known: he’s right up there with the G.O.A.T.; five titles in seven trips to the championship round can’t be denied; there’s plenty of time left to gobble up more gold trophies; he’s the best player on the planet, and has been for years.

In the end, none of that really matters. And then again, it all matters. Every twist, turn, triumph and defeat.

The man has had — and continues to have — an amazing run. Though his place in today’s game, and in the grand history of the League will continue to be debated breathlessly and endlessly, Bryant’s body of work will stand alone, without need for comparison to other greats.

When we look back on his career, no intelligent person is going to think to themselves, “Kobe was a great player. Could’ve been one of the greatest if only he found a way to beat those Boston teams in either 2008 or 2010.”

Bryant’s story won’t come to an end tonight, or even later on this week. This series — with all of its history, nostalgia, andgrainy video clips — will not define his legacy. It will serve as an important chapter in the grand book of his career and life.

There is plenty of basketball left for Kobe Bryant, many more chapters yet to be written.

*******************

by Ryan Jones / @thefarmerjones

A win would help (a little), and a loss would hurt (a bit), but no matter the outcome of this year’s NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant’s legacy is pretty well set. Short of him winning at LEAST two more championships in L.A., Bean will be remembered in 10 or 20 years for what he was (or, I guess, is): A wonderful basketball player whose athleticism and competitiveness and F-U knack for late-game heroics brought him closer than anyone has ever been to Michael Jordan. We can argue scoring averages and nitpicks stats, but nobody who has actually watched both of them in their prime could argue that Kobe couldn’t do pretty much everything Mike did. He bit the style like a true method actor, Jamie Foxx in Ray, thoroughly believable and nearly as effective.

But again, only nearly.

In the legacy stakes, Kobe’s gate opened too late to ever really give him a chance. Dude didn’t have his own team until almost a decade into his career. Those first three rings will never be his, not in the way all six of the Bulls’ belong to Mike. Those Finals MVP statues will always belong to Shaq, now matter how clumsily he has stumbled to the finish, no matter how insecure he’s been, no matter that he wouldn’t have won them without Kobe. When Kobe got his fourth, it was, in a sense, only his first. It’s not fair, except that it is, and nothing he can do now will change it.

Two wins in the next three days would help, of course. Somehow making it a three-peat next year would help a lot. He’s in that top-10 conversation, maybe even nudging his way into the top half, but even then, he’s not Mike. Not quite. He’d need to top Jordan, do one thing clearly better than the guy whose game he has aped since Day 1. Can you see him winning three MORE? With that mileage, on those knees?

And if the Celtics close this out, and Kobe never wins another ring? He’s still got four. Rare air. Ridiculous totals and averages. Player of the ’00s, by a mile. Best player in what might be the best Draft class ever. Legendary. Either way.

Just not Mike.

Even if he is as good as Jordan, he’ll never be as good as Jordan. I long ago stopped trying to figure the dude out, so I don’t know if he can be content with that reality. For his sake, I hope so.

***********************

by Jake Appleman / @JakeAppleman

According to Basketball-Reference.com, Kobe Bryant has played 1,217 total games in his career up to this point. According to the law of averages–or the average NBA career–that’s already a lot of basketball games. According to the Ed Rooney’s secretary, Kobe Bryant has never taken a day off from school. According to a lot of people–at least according to this email sent to me by Myles Brown–Kobe Bryant’s legacy can be defined, or significantly altered, by what he does in the next one or two games in Los Angeles. According to me, that might be one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard.

Kobe Bryant will still be Kobe Bryant–one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, and a man that occasionally struggles with a protruding jaw–regardless of the outcome of the 2010 NBA Finals. If the Lakers do what the ’94 Houston Rockets did and win games 1,3,6 and 7 of a rugged series against a phenomenal defensive outfit, it will be one more remarkable thing Kobe Bryant has done in his already remarkable career. If he fails, well, he put up a valiant effort–with some single-handed gunslinging for the ages–against a starting five that still hasn’t lost a series when healthy.

The reason we want what happens to Kobe to mean something in the annals of NBA history is because it gives us–the media and fans–the illusion of control over something we have no control of.

Basketball is a team game. If the Lakers lose, it means, in a seven-game series, the Lakers–the team that Kobe Bryant plays for and leads into battle–lost to the Boston Celtics. It means the team with four All-Star caliber players beat the team with two superstars and a fantastic supporting cast. And it means, finally, that you, the beholder, have the choice to place uncredited, irrelevant *importance* on the legacy of a single player because that’s your prerogative as an American in this wonderfully corrupt democracy. Nothing more. Nothing less. You won’t be deciding anything that hasn’t already been decided. You’ll just be talking; something that can, admittedly, be very fun.

Win, lose or draw (brought upon by some sort of awful land oil spill fire apocalypse) Kobe Bean Bryant will still be the NBA’sDexter: the basketball player that kills basketball players.

With maybe twelve exceptions.

***************

by Russ Bengtson / @russbengtson

Kobe Bryant has played 45,092 NBA minutes in his career. He’s played in 196 playoff games, appeared in seven NBA Finals, won four titles. He’s failed over and over and over again in his… whoops, wrong line. Anyway, he’s done all that, accomplished so much, yet we’re supposed to believe that the next game – or possibly two — will be the ones that define his entire legacy?

Please.

If he wins, what of it? He still has fewer rings than Jordan, only ties Magic (who, by the way, won his five rings in nine Finals appearances. I’m not so good at math, but I think that means he lost in the Finals four times). Either way, win or lose, Kobe winds up with the vague distinction of being “in the discussion” with Jordan as the greatest ever. For your convenience, I’ve transcribed that discussion here:

“You know, Kobe Bryant is every bit as good a player as Michael Jordan was. Jordan always talked about how he wouldn’t have gotten to where he did if he wasn’t able to stand on the shoulders of guys like Doc and David Thompson. Can’t Kobe say the same thing? He built his game off Jordan’s blueprint, and Magic’s, and Bird’s. I know he only has four/five rings, I know he’s lost in the Finals, I know he didn’t win them all as the undisputed alpha dog, but it’s a different era, with different competition. Right? Is it so unreasonable to consider Kobe the best player of all time?”

“Yes.”

“But why? Jordan had Scottie Pippen, who was his near-perfect complement in every way. He had the benefit of playing for Phil Jackson before everyone in the League knew what his methods were. And his opponents were all fatally flawed in some way. Who was the best team the Jordan-era Bulls ever beat? The Jazz? The Sonics? Do any of those teams even make the Finals in the current West? Isn’t it entirely possible that Jordan’s perfect record in the Finals had as much to do with luck as it did with his oft-cited – and Nike reinforced – indomitable will?”

“No.”

“F*ck it, let’s order a pizza.”

Let’s say that the Celtics go on to win one of these final two games. Does that mean Paul Pierce – or Kevin Garnett – is better than Kobe Bryant? Does it mean they want it more? Of course not. All it means is that the 2010 Celtics were better than the 2010 Lakers for two weeks in June.

What if the Lakers win? After all, all they need to do is protect home court. This is what they played all season for. And in order to do that, they need more from Kobe’s alleged supporting cast. He can’t rebound for them, or hit free throws for them, or stop them from taking ill-advised threes. (Well, he could do that, but it would be unprecedented.) Either way, a team will win this Finals.

As for Kobe’s legacy, well, that’s already been determined in the hearts and minds of journalists and fans and Hall of Fame voters everywhere. Is it possible that these next 48 minutes negate the past 45,000? As Kobe himself, might say: No. Not at all.

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  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    Nice job, Fellas!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    @Myles: I’d be tempted to argue its more about “cultural” identity than “racial,” but I guess it’s the same thing. Also, spelled “surrendered.”
    @Jake: He’s got TMJ. Never thought of that.
    @Russ: I would like pepperoni.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    We didn’t read each other’s pieces before this ran, btw. We straight keeps each other guessing.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Myles Brown

    I stand corrected. And jaw jutted. No anchovies, please.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    This was beautifully written by all of you guys.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Yup.

  • kh

    *Applause*

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Myles Brown

    I got to see everyones piece. But I already had mine ready. Pause.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That conversation Russ imagined is the EXACT same conversation I’ve had with cats on here and in real life. Particularly the part about who the Bulls beat compared to who Kobe has lost to. The only time Mike potentially had an inferior squad was in 98 when Scottie’s back was acting up in the Finals. Other than that, he had a clear advantage every season. Doesn’t take away from Jordan, or mean he’s not the best, but it still should be noted.
    Good job folks, seems like all of you agreed, which while boring, is the sensible thing to do in this case.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And Myles is right, it was his racial identity. At least where I lived.

  • T-Money

    So… everyone is writing all of this to tell us that it’s not a big deal and a win or a loss doesn’t matter? Cute. Dream would not be Dream if he had won only one (a fluke) instead of two. MJ would not be the same demi-god if Utah would have snatched one of those two Finals. A loss tonight and The discussion ends. Simple as that. Two gritty wins and the possibility of another 3-peat is there. These things matter. A lot.

  • Thedon

    Another kobe article…. yay!

    smh

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    Nice article boys.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Oooh, Myles. Ready AND willing??

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Nice piece(s), btw.

  • Khalid Salaam

    a couple of things:

    1. I don’t believe that kobe’s racial or cultural identity has ever been questioned by anyone whose own identity isn’t suspect. This thought that he isn’t “cool” enough or god forbid “black” enough is the single most ass-backwards notion that exists in all of pro sports. It is an outstandingly weak argument…..2. who cares if he’s better than MJ (either of ‘em)? He has flaws, they have flaws. They don’t play anymore and he does. this isn’t the ’80′s (don’t let the karate kid and a-team fool you). i don’t want to hear about “only four rings” anymore. Four is still more than bird, isiah, and wilt had. four is nothing to shake your shoulders at. and jeez, the lakers can still win this series after all. and/or come back next year and win it. this is not his last hooray….3. For all the game exploits, he’s still the most interesting player off court as well. people love to love and hate kobe bryant. without him the nba would turn into major league baseball. intriguing at times during the reg. season, a usually expected postseason and always awesome for the hardcore fans–but outside of that not exactly can’t miss tv. ,,,so with that being said–can we just enjoy watching dude play? huh? R U Still Down??

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    T.Money
    I don’t think most folks are going to say Kobe is better than Mike even if he does pull it out. And wins another one.
    And, if it happens, it won’t change all of his deficiencies. Nor will a lose erase his strengths. I think that was the point of the pieces, but I could be wrong.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    great work.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    I like to read this – well-considered writing about Kobe, especially when it’s not spewed with hate.

  • Reflex

    Great writeup from the best site in basketball.
    Cosign Khalid also.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Very glad to see we dragged Khalid into the fray…

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Great read, especially Jake’s.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Myles Brown

    Gold star for AllenP.

  • peter

    If the Celtics win, and hence beat Kobe Bryant…does that somehow make all the talk of Lebron choking redundant? It would certainly have to redeem him somewhat by proving irrevocably that this is actually an exceptional defensive squad.

  • chingy

    Co-sign T-money. As unfair as it seems, that’s the way it will go.

  • K.a.

    Even as a kobe hater i get the appeal to root for him. Hes a compelling figure n boston play their part as the big bad wolf: its a great storyline. Lakers have thing to look ahead too n this might be bostons swan song but i’m sure some would feel cheated if kobe couldnt beat boston at their best, itll always be ”but he never blah blah blah’ even if lakers may win 1 or 2 in the future.

  • K.a.

    Even as a kobe hater i get the appeal to root for him. Hes a compelling figure n boston play their part as the big bad wolf: its a great storyline. Lakers have thing to look ahead too n this might be bostons swan song but i’m sure some would feel cheated if kobe couldnt beat boston at their best, itll always be ”but he never blah blah blah’ even if lakers may win 1 or 2 in the future.

  • vuk

    no matter what happens in the next 2 games kobe bryant still goes down as maybe not the G.O.A.T but id say hes in not the topo 10 or 5 but top 2 … no body in the history of the NBA has altered defences and annoyed coaches as much as jordan and kobe have…the only player SINCE jordan that ive seen be unstopable at times even when double and triple teamed is KOBE … people can hate or love him or love to hate him but at the end of the day Kobe is to this generation as jordan was to his, comparing 2 generations and the players seperated years apart makes no sense, but comparing theyre influence to the game and theyre skill set compared to the rest of the league isnt, and that being said BOTH jordan and kobe are head and shoulders above everyone else … at the end of the day, kobe is 31(i think) and has 4 rings already, and still has a better chance then most people think at the 5th in the next 2 days, wether he wins it or not wont improve or discourage his argument for GOAT since its a stupid argument to begin with

    in my opinion there is no G.O.A.T anymore theres both jordan and kobe

    i have watched jordan play and i have been a lakers fan since kobe entered the league and have watched him for the last 14 years of my life and all i have to say is people need to give respect where respect is due

    great job kobe and win these next 2 for not your legacy but just to quiet the boston fans

  • http://freeones.com jbn74sb

    To think what could have been had fat Shaq given a f-ck and kept himself in shape. I hope to god Pau grows a pair and the Lakers pull this out. One more thing: f-ck you eboy.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    I could write my own take on this, but why bother, why I can blatantly copy and paste Khalid’s MASTERFUL thought:
    ————–
    Khalid Salaam Posted: Jun.15 at 2:09 pm
    a couple of things: 1. I don’t believe that kobe’s racial or cultural identity has ever been questioned by anyone whose own identity isn’t suspect. This thought that he isn’t “cool” enough or god forbid “black” enough is the single most ass-backwards notion that exists in all of pro sports. It is an outstandingly weak argument
    ————–
    Easily the truest thing I’ve read today.

  • kriz

    i do not feel kobe is top 5 and prob is top 10 or near. this year and next year does not change the fact that he was the best player of the 2000s and will be worshiped for years after retirement. what is in limbo is whether he is top 5 of top 10. against this boston D, i claimed he would be top 5 if he dominated it but he has not. top 5 is still in reach but he has a lot of work to do

  • T-Money

    Allen: folks will not say that he is better than Mike if he wins now because.. he will not be. It’s painfullys simple and straightforward but true. Take out the mystique, take out the glitz, take out the aura, take out the personalities and there is still a discrepancy in terms of productivity. Which doesn’t mean that Kobe’s not an outstanding player. It’s just naive to think that the outcome of this Finals will not have a profound impact on his career. Magic lost 4 out of 9. And it did change his career. MJ and Magic would not be viewed in the same light if the Lakers had won vs Chicago. Forget the two 3peats, forget the perfect record in the Finals (i.e, always coming through when the stakes were at the absolute highest). That’s MJ’s legacy, a big, big part of it. It’s not important in the sense that Kobe will be considered a failure if he doesn’t win tonight (he’s way, way past that). He’ll just be very mortal and a chapter of his legacy will be about how he could not beat those damn Celts at full strength. Losing to the exact same team twice matters. It means they kinda own you (and the league for that matter).

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    Also, a common theme was bringing up the fact that Magic lost in the finals more times than Kobe… that’s an odd point to bring up. I’ve never quite understood that. If anything, Finals appearances should augment your perception of the player:
    Magic won 5 champions, appeared in the finals nine times all in a 13-year career
    Kobe won 4 champions, appeared in the finals seven times all in a 14-year careeer
    I also think there is a big difference between ‘great’ and ‘best.’ The longer Kobe’s career goes on and the more accolades he puts up, he becomes more and more the ‘greatest.’ But the fact that Magic could do these things in a shorter time, he is the ‘best.’
    It’s a Chamberlain/Kareem thing. Chamberlain, in my opinion, was ‘better’ because of his dominance and skill. Kareem was ‘greater’ because his longevity and accolades deem him to be.
    It’s all opinion, of course.
    Of course, my opinion is still “JORDAN WAS FASTER, STRONGER, AND COULD JUMP HIGHER THAN KOBE!!! WHY DOES NO ONE REMEMBER THIS?”

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Vuk
    There were once these guys named Shaq, Wilt and Kareem.
    You should look them up.

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  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    Allenp: I used to think Shaq was better than Kobe. Now I’m not so sure. What’s yer opinion on that matter?

  • T-Money

    Kobe’s cultural/racial identity issues are played out. Blacks love Kobe. The hood loves Kobe. People are not stupid, they appreciate greatness. Nobody cares that he didn’t grow up in Watts or QB. He’s a killer and is tough ON the court, always has been and that’s the only thing that matters. / jbn74sb: I don’t think it had anything to do with Shaq being in shape or not. Two superstars and a coach with huge egos didn’t want to play together anymore, people had to go. The Lakers made the most rational choice and kicked out Jax and Shaq. And yes, they would have won more rings if they had stayed together but that was never an option at that time. / peter: yes, but journalists rarely revisit thei articles (or their stance, for that matter). LeBron’s story for this year has already been written and won’t change. He was deemed responsible for Cleveland’s failure to defeat Boston and that’s that.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t see how something being “@ss backwards” makes it untrue.
    But that’s just me.
    Kobe was marketed at anti-Iverson and Iverson represented everything many Americans feared about hip-hop and black people.
    Now, we can argue back and forth about whether this was intelligent, or whether the masses fell for the okey-doke, or even who was really “blacker” but what I don’t think can be argued is that Kobe’s “blackness” was questioned when he first came it the league. By the mainstream media and by folks on the street. And I think how he was accepted by mainstream folks, along with his blatant attempts to do everything like Mike and his non-stereotypical upbringing, contributed to the folks deciding he was deficient in “blackness.”
    That’s how I remember the news stories and barber shop conversations.

  • vuk

    kriz: the top 5 argument isnt even an argument anymore, at the end of it all its still a team game and the celtics TEAM has so far been better then the lakers TEAM … kobe, jordan, magic, wilt, etc cant beat 5 players by them selves, the rest of the lakers have let kobe down in these finals, ron missing free throws, gasol not playing up to expectations, bynum having his knee drained multiple times, odom being MIA for most of the playoffs and fisher has been relatively inconsistent

    the 2 greatest players of all time are kobe and bryant, just one has been a little more blessed with a better team then the other, lets not forget that jordan had a 50 greatest players of all time Pippen beside him the whole time, and people forget about kukoc, rodman, kerr, etc. the bulls team was GREAT and all the players played up the their expectations, so far the lakers of 2010 have not, but 2 HOME games can change all that

    if the lakers pull off a win tonight i think game 7 will be a win for LA because kobe will simply not let them lose that game at his own house … tonight is the crucial game for LA, i just hope the whole team shows up to play tonight

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Myles Brown

    I’m certainly not calling Kobes racial ID into question, but it has been questioned and he’s addressed a disconnect he felt himself in the past.

  • T-Money

    Jukai: I’ll hi-jack the question. It’s Kobe even though Shaq accomplished as much. Shaq does not take the game seriously enough. One could argue that was he has achieved was the bare minimum for someone with his physicality, agility and mental toughness. The last trait is important because that’s essentially what separates him from David Robinon: he was mean and he wanted to humiliate opposing bigs.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jukai
    I don’t know who is “better” between Shaq and Kobe. Clearly, both them had apex’s where they were ridiculously dominant. Clearly, they have had repeat failures when they have been the main guys on teams. Skill-wise, Kobe is obviously better. Efficiency and overall dominance, well I might have to give it Shaq.
    However, Shaq has failed pretty often with stellar teammates in LA, Orlando and Miami, so there’s that issue.
    If I had a gun to my head, I would probably say Kobe, but otherwise I would be undecided.
    Also, Jordan at his physical apex was stronger and faster than Kobe but by the end of his career, Mike looked just like Kobe looks now. Seriously, after 96, Mike was not the same physically, while he was still a beast. Just like Kobe.
    Mike was simply better at playing with his back to the basket. Even with all the hype about Kobe’s post game, it still isn’t as nice as Mike’s was because Mike’s turnaround jumper was a massive problem for people. He took a lot of contested jumpers, but he also got the free throw line more and somehow, him scoring from the post made things easier for his teammates. But, it’s not like Mike was so much more athletic than Kobe evne late in his career.

  • JTaylor21

    All these talk about kobe being in the GOAT convo is BS. because for one there is no clear cut GOAT. How can everybody just claim the MJ is the goat. Don’t Kareem (6 titles, 6 mvps, Most points ever), Magic (5 titles, 3 MVPs), Hakeem (2 titles, most blocks, ninth most steals), Wilt (2 titles, most rebounds, top 5 points, 100pts), Oscar( 1 title, avg. trip dub), Isiah ( 2 titles, consistently beat the bulls, celts and lakers) and a few others have a say in this discussion. Where are all this guys promoters instead all you hear are jordan crazies blindly call him the unquestioned GOAT. It is disrespectful to all those before him and all those after.

  • Maurice Bobb

    At this point, I’m a fan that wants his team to win. I’m a Lakers fan and always have been. I could point to various pieces of basketball logic and the science of things but at the end of the day, I’m hoping the Lake Show can get their house in order and win these last two on their home court. The Kobe/Jordan comparisons need to just stop. There is validity in juxtaposition when dealing with and sizing up athletes and their accomplishments, but why can’t we just take Kobe’s achievements at face value and give him credit for what he’s done without making him out to be Jordan or anyone else? Point blank, I’m a fan of Kobe for his respect of the game. He doesn’t take it for granted, he gives it his all and he’s always striving to add dimensions to it. That kind of dedication is all the more apparent when you look at a Vince Carter, who easily had more “talent” than anyone, but didn’t respect the game enough to give it his all or be the best he could be on the court. As a lover of the game of basketball, I appreciate “greatness” and Kobe, win or lose tonight, has definitely proved he is one of the greats. Go Lakers!

  • Khalid Salaam

    @AllenP: 1, when you say Americans and Black people you make them sound like 2 different things. thats an unfortunate misstep i assume….2. i certainly didn’t questions kobe’s “blackness”. lots of main liners might be bougie but but thats not a racial thing. its money thing…3. you can’t just universally trust anything. that includes inner-city barbershops too. i’ll tell you a secret (or maybe its not a secret i don’t know) barbershops are not the be-all to end–all when it comes to black opinion. it just a slice of a very big pie. i know you’re a smart guy allenp but i have to dead this monolithic stuff you’re spreading right now. iverson wasn’t more “black” than kobe. he was just a different personality. a more inner-city ,hood personality if anything. there’s no right way to be “black”. you know that right?

  • MB

    good read

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    While the pieces are really well done for a subject that is continually overblown, the comments have been just as good and the potential exchange between Khalid and Allen is going to be must read tv.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    peter: I made a point of not mentioning LeBron above,but obviously if the Celtics beat the homestanding Lakers in 6 games — exactly what they did to the Cavs — it might seem to render some of the hate dumped on LeBron & Co. moot.
    Also: Bodie!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Sure it will, Ryan. Sure it will. And yes, thanks Bodie for taking your head out of the Rogaine bowl to mention me after months of not seeing you.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Khalid
    Where did I say “Iverson was more black.”?
    I said the perception among many in the mainstream media and regular folks was the there were questions about Kobe’s blackness.
    I’m pushing any version of blackness, I’m talking about the conversations being held in mainstream media outlets and among folks on the streets. Obviously, this isn’t some scientific analysis, but I think it’s true.
    Re-read what I wrote, I in no way said that “Kobe wasn’t as black as Iverson.” Neither did Myles. His comment was that Kobe’s racial identity was questioned, and I think the historical record shows that it was, and not by some minor fringe, but by many writers in the mainstream media and many regular folks. That has been my point from the beginnning. Ryan said it was a cultural thing, and while I can understand that argument, it’s impossible to separate culture and race in America because our ideas about what race people are typically are tied to our ideas about what we think their culture should be.
    YOu’re right, I made a mistake in writing that Americans and black people were somehow separate. All of us fall prey to conditioning at times.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Should read “I’m not pushing…”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    And for as much as I despise 24, the “blackness” of him (who came up with that theory?) has never even crossed the minds of all the people I know who watch ball (that love or hate him)in arguments for or against him. That just seems ignorant beyond ignorant. I have on the other hand, had arguments with people that said AI was too “thug” to be cheered for by white cats I’ve known, so he indeed was a form of a lightning rod in his prime.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    Thank you, Khalid!

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Wheres lebron going?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp
  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Khalid: Iverson was more black. You know why? Because he had STREET CRED. Ha!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Sorry eboy: I meant to add “should.”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    ^Exactamundo.

  • Khalid Salaam

    @Ryan: Lol, you know how i feel about street cred. why don’t you share my sentiments with the board.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    Allenp: Well, yes, I guess I do agree that Jordan in the second of his threepeat was probably athletically the same as Kobe right now. Jordan lost more of his athleticism than Kobe did because Kobe stayed in top notch shape… while Jordan took some time off and reshaped his body for baseball, then had to reshape it back.
    That doesn’t exactly mean that wee should discredit Jordan’s superior athletic abilities in the beginning and middle of their careers.
    In my mind, Jordan had the leaping ability, strength, speed, and court vision that Kobe never had.
    Kobe had the shooting touch, footwork, and body control that Jordan never had.
    For the sake of argument, let’s say their intangibles… ie leadership, motivation, fundamentals, energy, were all the same
    I think the gifts that Jordan had helped raise him through more areas of his game than the gifts Kobe has.
    Those three things— shooting touch, footwork, body control… only really help him on offense and isolation defense.
    The things I gave Jordan… help him on his offense, his rebounding, his passing, and his help/weakside/passing lane defense. Really, I think there was a greater difference in physical abilities then people let on… Kobe was outstandingly quick, but Jordan was a half-step quicker.
    And yah, I’m nitpicking— Jordan wasn’t THAT much faster and Kobe didn’t shoot that much better… but when you’re dealing with 1 and 2… What else can you do but nitpick?
    I mean, you could take it as is, but f that….

  • http://Slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @T-Money, the hood DOES NOT llike Kobe. And yes, the hood does care that he didn’t grow up in Watts or QB. If the hood didn’t care, they wouldn’t cite his being a snitch as the basis for their dislike of him. Funny thing is, the silver spoon fed kid is playing tougher than the kids from the hood. Great work by the fellas BTW.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    and I can’t really comment on the Iverson/Kobe stuff… but I can say this— JJ Reddick is way too white for me to root for him.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Khalid thinks street cred is awesome. Street cred and pork.

  • The Philosopher

    Jordan is better than Kobe… by ALOT, Shaq is the most dominant center of ALL TIME. Magic is the greatest player of ALL TIME.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    A commentary from ESPN in 2007.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=boyd/070604&sportCat=nba
    Another commentary from the same guy in the LA Times in 2004
    http://articles.latimes.com/2004/feb/01/entertainment/ca-boyd1/2
    Myles made this point before. http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2008/01/the-black-manceltics-dynamic/
    Washington Times said Kobe wasn’t black and neither was Michael Jackson.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/feb/07/20040207-101912-5795r/
    There were several other random blogs about this but I didn’t include them. I’ll see what I can dig up from 1996.

  • The Philosopher

    Shout out @The_R3al_Chris.

  • Brian

    Kobe having his “blackness” questioned at least gives him one thing in common with MJ.

  • williedebo

    Kobe needs to come out and FIRE everybody up. A pre-game speech like this, for instance: http://bit.ly/armyhd

  • Kap

    How the hell did the Jordan/Kobe debate start again. Jordan is retired, he no longer plays, quit comparing every wing player who is great to the guy especially guys who have 5+ yrs left to play bball. This sh*t irks me big time. Damn, Magic got whooped by the C’s a few times, so did Baylor, West, and Chamberlain. Quit the questioning of this guy’s legacy and comparing him to Jordan.

  • T-Money

    Bryan: Uh?! You remember the love that Kobe got at Ruckers? Most of the the young players in the NBA cite Kobe as one of their idols, and a lot of them are from so-called hoods. Your point about Kobe ratting on Shaq made no sense at all. And why are we even speaking of the hood as a single entity like people can’t decide for themselves. Kobe is a polarizing figure in every demographic. One thing I know: he’s got TONS of fans. From everywhere.

  • Kap

    Wow!!! Street cred makes you more black. Dumbest sh*t I heard on a bball website. Street cred lands guys in jail or in the operating room. I think i’m officially done commenting on this site after that.

  • T-Money

    MJ’s blackness was questioned? Really? Maybe I was too young, I don’t remember that at all. I know a lot of folks were mad at him for not taking a more active political stance on Afro-American-related issues but that was it really. Or not?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    T.Money
    Yeah, that’s what I remember. I have a post awaiting moderation that list a few links from articles discussing Kobe’s blackness, in addition to the one from the Village Voice.
    Just provided them as examples that this discussion has occurred in the past, evne here on Slam’s site.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    He was the first athlete that was completely consumed by a brand, T-Money. I think that made him a sellout more than anything else to people that lived in the struggle. I don’t remember his blackness being questioned over and over, but it was mentioned on occasion. It was never “an issue”. BTW, I’m old enough to remember.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Kap: That was a joke. Khalid and I sat next to each other in the Slam office for 4 or 5 years, and that was a running gag with us. Khalid thinks the concept of street cred is absurd, and I am inclined to agree with him. Just some funny between old co-workers there.
    That said, if you’re not going to comment on a website because other commenters say dumb sh*t, you’re never, ever every going to ever comment on any website ever.
    Ever.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    The bestowing of “street cred” upon a player is usually done by people with none.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    Jackie Moon with the truer statement. Sorry Khalid, yours was still pretty damn great.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Like seeing Bodie on here…

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    FWIW, Slam was asking Kobe about how he was perceived and his strange relationship w/ hip-hop culture… 8 years ago. The trophies cover. Feel free to dig that one up if you’ve got it.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    So if a pig had a better personality, you would eat pork?

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    Damn I wish I wasn’t at work so I could get in on this. I just wanna say don’t sleep on Kobe’s early athleticism.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    Alright, my closing statement before I hit the road for five to six hours (ugh): this championship is sort of big for Kobe. In my opinion. Which doesn’t hold much weight, except for the newbies in the comment section of SLAM before they read more of my comments and realize how crazy I am.
    I still think Kobe’s on the cusp of the first echelon of players. That list, to me, is Jordan, Magic, Kareem, and Russell… with Chamberlain and Bird hedging on the edges of that list. Kobe, along with Big O, Duncan and Hakeem, are on the top of the second echelon of players. if Kobe wins and gets a second Finals MVP, I would honestly include Kobe inside this first echelon, and depending how long he plays and how many records he breaks in his career, I’d have to consider moving Kobe up even more. No, seriously. I take my apples-and-oranges-lists VERY seriously.
    So there you have it.
    This championship is sort of a big deal.
    It doesn’t put him second to Jordan. Put it moves him up.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    Jukai going all Bill Simmons on us.

  • The Philosopher

    What we are witnessing, my brethren, is one of a many of players who valiantly tried to ‘be like Mike’, and in essence, we may even see a player who may be caving a bit under the weight of being even ‘viewed’ as the next best thing. I also admire the faith of the basketball fans AND basketball rationals alike, who believe that maybe… just maybe we may have another Michael Jordan to bear witness to in our day. But, we don’t, and we never will. It’s not EVEN a valid basketball discussion. But it IS a fun discussion.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    Touche, Bryan. Touche.
    Peace y’all.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    Getting to finals and putting up 30 and 6 is hardly caving sir.

  • doc bolkers

    lol, kobe #2 all time? you kidding me? imo kobe wasn’t the best player post-jordan. tim duncan was. clutch as hell and the undisputed best player on 4 championship teams. and people whine about how kobe’s bad years shouldn’t count because he had a bad supporting cast — look at duncan’s supporting cast in 01-02 and what he did w/ it. wcf and semifinals, 60+ wins both times, with one of the worst superstar supporting casts of all time. he carried his team for years, until manu and tony finally started to emerge near the middle of the decade. there’s no excuse for kobe’s 05-07, not compared to tim.

    duncan was a winner. he destroyed teams defensively. he nearly had a 20-20 quadruple double in the nba finals ffs, for one of the slowest paced champions of all time. his stats aren’t as gaudy as kobe’s, no, and there certainly are arguments for kobe as the best. but i’ve never heard a kobe diehard ever give tim any respect whatsoever when anyone brings him up in an argument. “he’s boring”, “big men aren’t really valuable”, “shaq was better”. bs, man. bs.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    Say what you want to about the Lakers flaws being exposed but Kobe has been masterful in these playoffs. That’s not to say perfect but he has absolutely been the best player in these playoffs and it’s not close or debatable.

  • Brian

    @ Eboy and T-Money, it was the “Republicans buy sneakers too” type comments that MJ made. I suppose I could be drawing false conclusions, but back then being called a sellout was the equivalent of having your blackness questioned to me.

  • karma

    Excellent articles. Even by Ryan, who tends to pile on Kobe.

    I think its the ultimate irony when people claim that Kobe is not “hood”. This is coming after the same people probably bash the NBA for being too “thug”. So, which one is it? What do you want? Kobe is well spoken, eloquent, he dresses well, he treats reporters with respect for the most part. He’s not obnoxiously arrogant (he had his moments early in his career, but he’s not as bad as Lebron is right now)…I think early on in his career he tried to be something he was not. And he got burned for it. But now? As a guy whose been closely following Kobe since about 1998, you see the change in him, his demeanour now and its completely different. Its two different people. He is himself, and anyone who can’t see that and attributes it to being fake is quite misguided. It took him 11 years in the league, but he found himself in 2007. That’s what consistently losing (to the media, in first round exits, to your critics) does to you. It makes you humble. And humility only makes you stronger.
    Look at how much of an icon he’s become now…not just on the court, but off the court as well. Did anyone expect this in 2004 when he was “snitching”?

  • The Philosopher

    Understood, Bryan, trust AND believe. But, my point is that in all of reality, Kobe has been caving for years under THAT weight I mentioned before. For years, Bryan. Lesser players have crumbled completely under THAT weight, no doubt, but again… fact is fact. Kobe’s my dude too, but…

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Is it tipoff yet?

  • The Philosopher

    To piggy-back off of Karma, I’ve always felt like it always about who’s judging certain things.

  • The Philosopher

    5:10 p.m. comment was on the money in a lot of ways.

  • T-Money

    Bryan: not to be nitpicky but is 30 and 6 really that expceptional in the playoffs as the go-to guy? Isn’t that what go-to guys (Kobe, Wade, Bron, etc.) do at this time of the year when they play almost all 48? It would have been shocking to me if he were averaging less. You could argue that Game 5 was his first truly great game of the Finals.

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    Wow. Glad I read this.

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    Also, does tonight define Pau’s legacy?

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    Maybe KG’s too? He was a loser untill the very end of 2008 (he failed to show for a few 2008 Playoff games). A second title would go a long way towards cleansing him of his the “loser” image.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    @doc bolkers: Spurs 2000-01 Derek Andersen, David Robinson, Antonio Daniels, Terry Porter, Danny Ferry, Malik Rose, Sean Elliot, Avery Johnson, Steve Kerr

    Looks like a decent roster with smart and savvy veterans to me.

  • The Philosopher

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, The King would have started on ALL Laker teams that Kobe EVER played on. FACT.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Philosopher
    Lebron wouldn’t have started as a rookie, but other than that, I agree.

  • The Philosopher

    Allen, who would have started over LeBron on that Laker team?

  • http://Slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    T-Money…of course Kobe got love at the Rucker! Why wouldn’t he get love out there? They love when NBA superstars come thru. That’s an awful counter-point to my initial statement. Clearly you’re not that connected to the “hood” to say that my reference to him ratting on Shaq made no sense. In reality, it doesn’t but at the same time, ask anybody from the streets why they hate Kob and see if you don’t get that reason more often than not. Essentially, the hood is a single entity. Yes people can think for themselves, but if you’ve spent any time at all with peole from the block, you’d know that they all tend to agree on and like and dislike the same things. The hood is very “trendy” like that. I’m not telling you what I heard, I’m telling you what I know.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m guessing Cedric Ceballos.
    Kobe didn’t start his first two years, but he was playing behind Eddie Jones. He shouldn’t have been starting. It’s amazing he put up 15 his second year in the league while only playing 26 minutes. Fresh out of high school.

  • peter

    Tzvi, it’s hard to say tonight ‘defines’ anything if all of the players continue playing for a few more years. In that respect its probably bigger for KG than Pau…what if Pau loses tonight and the Lakers win the next 3 titles?

  • The Philosopher

    Cedric Ceballos? Do you honestly AND truly believe that Cedric Ceballos would have started over LeBron James?

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    T-money I dunno it’s a little more exceptional than say NOT making the finals at all.. Or 22 and 7 on sub 40% shooting. Just saying.

  • http://www.reboundghana.com mtee2686

    nice piece of work there…quite insightful and entertaining to read

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    Also , I don’t understand someone’s legacy being defined on losing in the finals. Guess what? The man got there. 7 times. Half of the season’s he played he took it to the finish line. That’s big time ,regardless of what you have heard. Before you can win the big , you have to play in the big one. That’s like saying silver medals don’t mean sh*t. Medal count means something in the olympics so finishing second should NOT hurt someone’s legacy. The fact that he’s even in the position playing for a championship is an accomplishment in itself.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Philosopher
    What do you know about Cedric Ceballos? Did you know that the year before Kobe’s rookie year Ceballos put up 22 and 8 on 50 percent shooting?
    Are you saying that on the lakers, with the talent they had, they would have started Lebron fresh out of high school over a proven vet putting up those types of numbers the year before? He still put up 14 and 8 the next year before getting traded to the Suns.
    I think your comment was off base and clearly you don’t remember Lebron’s rookie year. Yes, he averaged 20 a game fresh out of high school and was impressive, but that doesn’t mean he would have been a starter for the Lakers at small forward over Ceballos, or at point guard over Van Exel. Or shooting guard over Eddie JOnes.
    What more can I say if you disagree with that?

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Stating “FACT” after stating your opinion does not magically turn it into a fact.

  • The Philosopher

    Allen, if you’ve seen Cedric Ceballos play, you would know that his shooting % AND rebounding numbers were inflated due to what I call ‘Larry Smith Syndrome’, where a player purposely misses shots close to the rim to inflate rebounding numbers. Now, the next year, as you said, his numbers were lower. No coincidence. LeBron would have started over Ceballos OR Eddie Jones.

  • http://facebook joe

    Wonderful stories……way to stroke a already huge ego. Last I checked….there a lot more than one future hall of famer playing in this final series. Not sure why so much ball juggling when it comes to kobe. Its almost like you want to force us to love the guy. Great as a player he is he will never ever be jordan. I hate that comparison….he probably does too! Kobe was born kobe and will forever be kobe bryant! The self centered phenom!

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    Do you even remember how great Eddie Jones was at one time? Also aside from that , 1996 was a different time. High school jumping wasn’t IN like it was in 2003. Think Kobe, who routinely destroyed nba players in workouts and in practice would be sitting on the bench if he came out in 2003? I doubt it. His talent was never in question but Del Harris didn’t want to overplay his hand , and damage Eddie Jones. If Lebron was only the second player to jump to the pros out of high school since Moses Malone did it , than I’m sure he would have met the bench behind a proven nba vet. Of course there is no way to prove those this so it’s a moot point, but I think you forgot what the climate was for high school to pro players was in the 90′s.

  • loaf

    good articles, enjoyed the read

    also the comments where interesting too

    Loaf likes, keep filling my head with all this basketball information….

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @Allenp… A lot of SLAM commenters are younger and they’ve only seen at most, two eras of NBA basketball. I have to remind myself of that and understand that LeBron is their MJ. Still, I have to agree with The Philosopher, Bron probably would’ve started in LA over Ced Ceballos coming out of St. V regardless of the numbers Ced put up. And if he didn’t start from Day 1, it wouldn’t have been long before he did.

  • T-Money

    Allenp and Bryan: Bron was physically ready when he came out of high school, Kobe was a scrawny kid with outstanding skills. There’s a difference. I’ve seen Ceballos play, he was good, nothing more. I think Bron would have started all 82 from the get go in that Lakers team. It’s not about skills but physicality. I don’t care enough to argue that point tho so I’ll agree to disagree / Bryan Crawford: Leggo. I’ve lived in the hood, grew up in the hood and am glad that I could make my way out the “hood”. There goes your assumptions based on nothing at all. Ask people what they think of Kobe and people will tell you that he’s a killer on the court. Nobody cares about his street cred or hoodness or blackness, that’s played out and irrelevant. You’re reaching for an angle that’s not there.

  • The Philosopher

    And, I totally understand the deal with Eddie Jones. This is why I say LeBron would have started over him, also.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools…”
    As always T-Money, you’re right and nobody else knows what they’re talking about. I mean, what could I possibly know about basketball? Or “the hood.” You win…

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    An 11 yr old lebron would have started over cedric and eddie? Is that what this has come to?

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    I disagree. It might be about physicality now but in 1996 it was about paying your dues. Kobe was a jaw dropping athlete when he came in and if he was born 6 years later he would have been more physically prepared because the precedent would have already been set.

  • The Philosopher

    If Kobe was THAT good back then, like The King was, then he would have started. Period.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    You don’t have to write “period” at the end if you actually use one.

  • The Philosopher

    ^^^But I do, so…^^^

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Wow. The comments on here might end up being more entertaining than tonight’s game.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Steve Nash.

  • T-Money

    Bryan, I see where you’re coming from. But Kobe wasn’t that much of a sure thing back then and I’m not sure it has to do with precedents. He didn’t dominate the HS ranks like Bron did (taking a team out of nowhere with local kids and destroying super-teams full of D1 guys like Oak Hill). Their respective situation coming into the league were vastly different: Bron was #1, Kobe was late lottery. 18 year old Kobe was not ready at all. I vividly remember his rookie season and, to me, he was nowhere near LeBron’s (or even Melo for that matter) rookie season. The skills were there but he wasn’t ready to produce. / Bryan Crawford: I mostly disagree with you. And only when you say things that don’t make sense to me.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton
  • The Philosopher

    Further indication that LeBron is better than Kobe.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Good pieces. I like Jones’. Not much to add on this topic because my thoughts are very similar to the SLAMheads.
    -
    But in response to someone’s contention about Shaq vs Kobe. During their 3 peat, Shaq was more important to LA’s success than Kobe. I’m not sure if he could’ve done it without #8, but I don’t think it’s even disputable that Shaq was the man on that team.
    In regards to their careers, however, Kobe trumps Shaq. Post 3-peat, Kobe became that much better. Showed us that much more in his arsenal. Made believers out of haters (myself included(
    Win or lose this year, when it’s all said and done, Kobe should go down /comfortably/ as a top 5 player of all-time.

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  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    T-Money, if you were really from the “hood” like you say are (which I don’t believe for one second), then what I said would’ve made perfect sense to you. Why? Because you would’ve heard the Shaq/Kobe/snitch thing before. Of course it’s irrelevant in the big picture, but it is what is is in the streets when it comes to that. Your Rucker comment that you tried to use as validation was a major FAIL. It cemented for me that you have absolutely no clue about anything street related. So…I don’t believe you, you need more people young’n.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    Nobody from high school was a sure thing out of high school back then, especially since he was the first guard ever selected from hs. I mean he was 6’6 and 190, if other guards had done it or if the fad had started earlier and it was an actual goal of his, I’m fairly positive considering his work habits that he would have put in the work to sculpt his body into what a productive nba player’s body was supposed to be. If you want more info look at the quotes from Jerry West about him and how he was athletically dominating everyone who came in his way in pre draft work outs, in practices, in pre season and everywhere else. His skills were ready , he wasn’t mentally prepared. Lebron had 8 years of high school kids setting a bar for him to reach. He knew what to work for, he knew what to work on (body). Kobe did not. That to me is essentially the only difference. Allan Houston one of the best 2 guards in the league back then was 6’6 200 and Eddie Jones was 6’6 190 also so the physical part wasn’t as important IMO. Like I said before at that time it was all about paying his dues, respecting the game and making him work for his spot. Lebron has been handed just about everything so far in his career. Not to say he didn’t deserve to start on the cavs ,but we really can’t compare 1996 and 2003. And if we could transpose hypothetically I think Kobe as a rookie in 2003 would have been selected higher than he was and started and been a 20 plus scorer right out of the gate.

  • The Philosopher

    Bryan, the only player in history that was a sure thing out of high school WAS LeBron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    If you say so. Obviously we won’t agree. I disagree wholeheartedly.

  • The Philosopher

    ^^ Not to try to bait you, but LeBron was the most hyped prospect of all time. He has exceeded the hype… even if he never wins a ring. He was a sure thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    My argument is that he wouldn’t have been as hyped in 96. He is product of the system that was in place in 2003.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Tealish, what about shaq pre threepeat?. And phil, long ago there was a man named moses

  • The Philosopher

    My bad, Bryan. But… LeBron was STILL better than that whole 96′ class. Even if he wouldn’t have been hyped like that.

  • http://Www.lacuevacrosscountry.com Slick Nick Da Ruler

    The write ups were great, better than anything I’ve read on the subject. The comments have been equally awesome. Thanks Slam.

  • T-Money

    Bryan Crawford: you’re getting cuter and cuter. Where did I say that I didn’t know about Kobe ratting on Shaq? You can actually look up some of my posts saying just that. What I’m saying is that it’s completely irrelevant in a discussion about Kobe’s hoodness or blackness or whatever you call it. You don’t believe I grew up in a “hood”? Fine. Nothing more to add. Stop derailing interesting conversations about things that matter (i.e., basketball) with things that don’t matter (i.e., hoodness). / Bryan: you can’t sculpt a body coming out of high school (unless you play football). You are who you are at that age. Bron is a beast naturally, and Kobe is scrawny naturally. That wouldn’t have changed in 96, 2006 or 2016. LeBron was flat out better as a rookie than Kobe. So was Melo. And a lot of other cats. It’s after a couple of years in the L that Kobe really separated himself from his peers. I remember him making the ADG as the Lakers’ 6th man and people saying that it was all hype. We know better now.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @T-Money how is snitching irrelevant in a conversation about “hoodness” or “blackness”? In the “hood” where you’re from, snitching is OK? Seriously dude, you need to stop. Need I remind you, YOU brought the subject of Kobe and the hood up: “Kobe’s cultural/racial identity issues are played out. Blacks love Kobe. The hood loves Kobe.” I didn’t derail anything, you did. I just told you that you were wrong. Because you are. That’s your problem T-Money, you come here to argue and try and throw slick insults at people who 1) Have a better understanding of basketball than you do, and 2) Remember every stupid thing that you say. I have no problem throwing it back at you though because I like to watch you squirm and backtrack.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    This was great. So were the comments.
    Appreciated.

  • http://submedia.tv/index.htm CommissionerPalpatine

    Lakeshow.

  • pharoah

    damn this comment section WAS better than the game tonite and alsoo bryan crawford is the man. dudes becoming one of my fav ppl on the site

  • showtimeizback

    Concerning Kobe vs Tim Duncan for player of the decade. in 05 when kobe issed the playoffs, he was injured, his teammates were trash and the coch quit mid year. Tim duncans supporting class has NEVER been as bad as that 05/06/07 teams. odom was the 2nd best player. we started smush walton and kwame.

    Also in player of the decade, look at the head to head. the lakers have dominated the spurs in the playoffs. with the higher or lower seed.

  • showtimeizback

    Concerning kobes 3 championships with shaq.

    Just because shaq won finals MVP in all 3 doesnt mean that kobe wasnt equally as important. As a big man shaq is going to always be more effecient and the focus of the offense, just as it is now with these lakers. but when the game is up for grabs or when the offense is/was sputtering, it was always kobes time to shine.

    i have always thought that if you took the shaq kobe 3 peat as a whole, kobe definitely deserves one of those finals MVPs. If you considered the playoffs in the decision he would def have one. Kobe dominated game 7 vs Portland. KObe dominated the spurs in all the times we beat them in the playoffs.

    Also, make no mistake, Shaq being the lazy stud he was knew what was at stake in the finals and played his best to get the finals MVP. Also the competition he faced in the finals was alot less then he did in the playoffs. The east offered super guards (whom kobe guarded), kidd, miller, iverson. in the playoffs vs Duncan, Robinson, Garnett, Sabonis, and Divacs, Webber, he didnt do as well.

    Not to say he wasnt important, or even the most important, but to act like kobe was just a role player on those teams is asinine. if you awarded credit to lakers in the 3peat, i would say shaq gets 40 percent, Kobe gets 35% and the rest of the lakers get the rest.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    its not about where you started its where you finish..

  • Jessdogg

    I still just can’t understand how people are making comparisons to Jordan.. 32.5, 8 and 8 in a season as a guard, MVP and Defensive player of the year in the same season (let alone career), average 43 points in a FINALS series, 6 FINALS MVP’s.. this is just the beginning. Yes we can all argue that they have a identical skill set.. but the results (of what counts) are the difference. Thats what sets these 2 apart.. not who could did what better.. but what the result, of who did what better, was.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ J

    or sometimes its about what you did in the race..

  • spock

    cmon man….
    Kobe is a killer.
    if you have to ask who would you ask ti take the last shot of the game, then you would UNDOUBTEDLY PICK KOBE over anyone else.

    regarding his legacy, he is a killer…

    people from the hood hate him for snitching on big diesel, they would really hate his guts but respect what he brings to the table..

  • Robb

    Kobe’s the second best player ever, he even could be mentioned as the best player alongside MJ. But best player is one thing, greatest player is another. Jordan is greatness, Magic is greatness. I love Kobe, but he’s not there and he’ll never be, even if he wins 7 championships. Anyway, fifth ring is coming.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    Bryant’s Black? I thought Kobe was Thai.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Its some dumb folks up here, Kobe is black and people LOVE him. Its sad folks think he has to come from the HOOD to be black. I would say Kobe is the toughest player in the league by far, he plays with injuries and he will go after anybody on the court, he even hit Ron Artest with an elbow in the neck. Name any other player willing to do that for a win. NO ONE. I love Kobe’s game and I put him above Magic. Magic had great great great teammates and Larry had great great great teammates. People forget they had Big game James, Kareem, Scott, Micheal Cooper and more. Also Bird had Johnson, Mchale, Parish, Ainge and more. Name Kobe great teammates, Shaq and Gasol to me and thats it. People if Kobe had a second and third consistent player like Magic and Bird imagine what he could do. MJ did the most with less, but MJ still had Pippen, Grant, Rodman, Kukoc, Ron Harper and thats it to me. Let Kobe end his career then we can compare MJ to Kobe. I grew up in 90′s as a teen and everything MJ did KObe can do, thats why to me its even. Only thing separating them to me is rings, because MJ had alot of bad shooting nights in NBA finals, stellar defense by the best defensive one on one player in history in Pippen who could lock anyone up. I truly believe Pippen could have locked up MJ, we will never know. But MJ did have help, but Kobe is on his way. Kobe can have six years left and if he keeps playing as top 5 player in league, but number one right now, He will get his spot. BOOK IT!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Coming tomorrow: Myles, Russ, Jake, Mutoni and I debate what Game 7 means for Shelden Williams’ legacy. Early consensus: His Hall of Fame credentials are in doubt. Stay tuned.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Y”all should debate Kobe versus Bird. My buddy and I are having an ongoing argument about who is better out of the two. He has Bird, I have Kobe, but he’s making some good arguments about Kobe’s lack of efficiency, and the fact that Kobe’s best scoring year came on 43 percent shooting from the field.

  • The Philosopher

    Bird is the most underrated player in NBA history. To touch on The Seed’s comments about what a great team Magic was fortunate enough to play with… Magic is the best ever. He IS the best ever because he made guys off the street into all stars AND Hall of Famers. No one else in the annals of the NBA story can boast that kind of pedigree.

  • The Philosopher

    Bird is better than Kobe, too.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philospoher…guys off the street? What?!

  • The Philosopher

    @Bryan Crawford: Yes, we can say that A.C. Green was a guy off the street. Had he never played with Magic, one can argue that he never would have made that all star team. And he made a Hall of Famer out of James Worthy. He made Byron Scott look better than he actually was. I won’t even say what he did for Kareem’s career. We already know all of that. I mean, Elden Campbell… What did he do after Magic?

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philosopher…I guess. Kareem was an HOF’er before playing with Magic though. And never bring up Elden Campbell’s name again in any serious basketball conversation, OK?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    James Worthy was a freakin’ All-American, College Player of the Year, Most Oustanding Player of the Tournament and 1 draft pick!
    Are you kidding me?
    Sam Perkins was a beast in college, and rookie of the year.
    Byron Scott made the Pac-10 Hall of Fame and put up 21 his last year at Arizona State.
    Kareem was a freaking NBA champion and MVP before he even met Magic Johnson and was the most dominant player in the country in high school, college and at one point in the NBA.
    Dude, that was an epic fail. Like, epic.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Magic, as nice as he was, had the same benefit for his career that Bird had. They played with horses damn near their entire careers.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    James Worthy was a number one pick and could have put up huge numbers elsewhere. Larry Bird is rapidly becoming underrated. He was putting up Lebron numbers with a tenth of the athleticism. A walking triple double and tough as nails.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    Elden Campells most productive years came well after Magic was gone..

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    See Magic played with some greats and so did Bird, but saying Bird is better than Kobe is like saying you are dumb and want to argue. I would take Jerry West over Larry Bird. So maybe the argument should be between Jerry West and Larry Bird. I would take Isaish Thomas over Larry Bird. Not too many I would take over Bird, but Jerry West and Isiash Thomas are more underrated than Bird. What is America Coming Too?

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Allenp
    That was my point bringing up Bird and Magic, people forget they played with some greats and some really good players their entire career. Look at Kobe’s career its hard to name anybody after Shaq and Gasol who can compare to that list of players Magic and Bird played with.

  • Jay Cutler

    Once all you Kobe nuthuggers (including Myles Brown) are done slobbering.. please tell me why for so long in his career, Kobe’s mannerisms have been copied move for move from Jordan. The tongue out, the trot, the finger wag, the championship winning jump in 09, (hell even Sam Cassell’s big balls dance) have been aped by Kobe Bryant like he was a dang office copy machine.

    I mean, the guy is a great player but keep things in perspective people. There are websites for people with fetishes like yours.

  • The Philosopher

    I’ll relent about Elden Campbell. Allen, that was not an Epic fail. @Seed, Bird is in fact, better than Kobe.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    if Bird is better than Kobe you better believe he’s better than Lebron.

  • The Philosopher

    Bird IS better than LeBron. I’ve alluded to that in the past albeit, vaguely.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t think my boy just wants to argue. I’ll lay out his argument for y’all.
    He says that if you line them up, Bird was the better passer, rebounder and scorer (we disagree on this). He admits Kobe is the superior defender, although he says Bird wasn’t exactly horrible.
    His main problem with Kobe is what he sees as Kobe’s lack of efficiency. Mainly, he quibbles that Kobe has never exceeded 47 percent shooting in a season, and has several seasons under 44 percent. He says Kobe has taken way too many difficult shots over the course of his career, and has takent too many shots period. (In fact, he pointed out that a stat I’ve been quoting recently is wrong. Kobe has exceeded 1,800 shots twice in his career. Once he shot over 1,900 and in the year he averaged 35, he shot over 2,000 times.)
    Now, I feel Kobe has more offensive skills and weapons, but my friend’s contention is that weapons are nice, but it’s better to be extremely deadly with a few weapons than attain some mastery with many. That’s the crux of the argument, he says that Bird was more efficient and effective at being “The Man” on a team. I say that Kobe had more ways to attack any defense, and would have had more success as “The Man” with better talent.

  • The Philosopher

    I’ll ask this. If we were to put Magic, Kobe, and Bird on the blocks, (paint) who would have the most difficulty in the paint full time? We can even put Michael down there in the paint. Who would have the most success? Who again, would have the most difficulty?

  • http://Slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philosopher…MJ, Kobe, Bird, and Magic full-time in the post? I don’t get it. A better question would be how would your boy Bron do full-time in the post.

  • The Philosopher

    @Bryan Crawford: It doesn’t matter how LeBron would do in the post… for he is THE KING. But seriously, when asking that question, I’m getting at the versatility of those players, and who out of those players, would fare better in the post. My opinion, Magic is a Hall of Famer at all 5 positions. No other player can say that. Not Jordan, not Kobe, not LeBron. Not even Larry Legend.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Well, Larry spent his first seven years “on the block” playing power forward.
    Jordan spend his final three years on the block playing in the triangle.
    Neither Mike nor Bird seemed to struggle in the post from what I saw, so I’m not sure the argument.
    Magic was tall, but it’s ridiculous to put him as a hall of famer at Center or Power Forward.
    Forget the myth, the game magic jumped center against Philly, while being amazing, he did actually play center. He was more like a point center than an actual center and at 6’9″ he would have had problems battling in the paint his whole career.
    Given the talent at power forward and center, or even small forward, no Magic would not ahve been a Hall-of-Famer at any position, even though I find this dicussion ridiculous and based totally on hypotheticals.

  • http://Slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philosopher…”THE KING” thing was funny. Anyway, so Magic jumps center one time and all of a sudden he’s a HOF’er at all 5 positions? Uhm, OK….if you say so.

  • http://myspace.com/circasurvive Bryan

    allenp I see the efficiency thing to a degree but he was scoring 35 a game facing double and triple teams With Kwame as his post option. It’s not easy being effcient when no one on your team is a threat to catch the ball let alone score it.

  • The Philosopher

    Allen, Magic was a dominant rebounder from the perimeter, and a good enough scorer. He would have more than held his own in the post with his unheard of skill set.

  • Kap

    If Dominique Wilkins can embarrass Magic then imagine what Kobe would of done to the “Legend”.

  • Kap

    @ philosopher…Magic could not of gotten away with that ugly ass jumpshot in this day and age. Kobe is better because his jumpshot is prettier than everyone elses.

  • The Philosopher

    So, we’ve singled out Bird in the post, for we now know how successful he was in the post. We’ve established Magic’s acumen in the post. We’ve established Michael’s acumen in the post, which brings us to my point. Kobe would have been the least effective in the post out of those players aforementioned. Now, that leaves Kobe.

  • The Philosopher

    ^^my bad on my last sentence @ 2:51 p.m.^^

  • Kap

    Kobe is a great post player. What the heck are you talking about?

  • The Philosopher

    Kap: Kobe is a good post player, yes, indeed. He just isn’t as good a Magic, Bird, or Jordan in the post.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    BC
    I made the same argument.
    His counter-argument was that Mike, Lebron and Wade have all managed to be efficient while playing with crap teammates, so he thinks the inefficiency is a byproduct of Kobe’s game, not the talent around him. He noted that even with talent, Kobe still has not gotten over 47 percent. He also said that if Bird would have had fewer scorers demanding shots, he could have easily scored 35 points.
    Of course, these are all hypotheticals, but I thought I’d throw them out their to see what other folks thought.

  • The Philosopher

    @Bryan Crawford: Is Wes Unseld a Hall of Fame Center, in your opinion?

  • Kap

    @philosopher…just stop tryna make up reasons why other players are better. When you gotta go to who is better in the post then don’t have much ammo left. The greats are starting to acknowledge kobe as top five, why cant you?

  • Kap

    LOl…My old coach always said I play like Wes Unseld because I was an undersized center. Never saw any of his highlights though.

  • The Philosopher

    Kap: When did I ever say Kobe wasn’t top 5 all time?

  • jumpman3224

    Please stop comparing Kobe and LBJ as rookies. Whether LBJ was the most “hyped/prepared” prospect in HS history, a big part of that was the success of people like Kobe (and KG). Kobe did better than any guard ever had straight from HS and essentially had nothing to model himself after. His eventual successes paved the way for LBJ. The landscape of basketball and the NBA had changed so dramatically by the early 2000s making the two situations uncomparable. Also, let’s not forget that Kobe got traded to a team that was drafting in the 20s and LeBron went to the worst team in the NBA. LA had the luxury of letting Kobe develop. CLE had to throw LBJ out there from day one. Also, unrelated but I want to make the unpopular statement that LBJ did not deserve his ROY award…great rookie season, but c’mon that shoulda been Melo’s.

  • Kap

    @ philosopher…My bad but I really wanna know why you always argue against Kobe if he is your favorite player or one of your favorites.

  • Kap

    @jumpman…When Bron won ROY I was like WTF. Melo stats were same but he took his team to playoffs in Western Conference. and their teams had the same record the previous year. Jon Barry was Denver’s freaking starting SG.

  • jumpman3224

    Loved JVG last night saying that people (fans and media) should stop trying to belittle Kobe’s greatness and give him his due. Kobe is a top 10 All-Time guy and will likely end his career even higher. That doesn’t come around often, so stop nitpicking and enjoy the game.

  • The Philosopher

    @Jumpman3224: Again, LeBron would have started on all of those Laker teams that Kobe’s ever played on.
    @Kap: Yes, Kobe is one of my favorite players, but, truth is truth.

  • jumpman3224

    @Kap: That’s what I’m saying Melo barely edged him in scoring grabbed more boards and LBJ had the edge in assists (LBJ did do the 20-5-5 thing). And, Melo made the playoffs in what most consider a more challening conference. Living in NE Ohio and not being a Cavs fan, I had an interesting persceptive on that while everyone around me disagreed.

  • Kap

    If truth is truth you need to be honest bout the “Queen” LBJ. You always speak on what ifs and would have. I’m gonna speak on fact…LEBRON WOULD NOT BE STARTING FOR THE LAKERS IN 1996.

  • jumpman3224

    @Philosopher: I’m just saying it’s not an apples to apples comparison. If Kobe hadn’t been successful, LBJ may have never even skipped college. The Lakers were in a rare position in which they didn’t have to rush someone into a big role. I believe that would have been the same for any HStoPros prospect. But, honestly I could care less that Kobe didn’t start in his first two seasons, because it helped develop him into the all-time great that he is.

  • Kap

    I don’t think Lebron is the best player from 2003 today. I totally think Wade is the most complete player in the league besides Kobe. If Wade was 6’7, we would be talking bout Wade and the free agent class of 2010 but @ 6’4 he is still better than LBJ.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philosopher…Wes Unseld? How did he creep into this conversation? What’s your point?

  • The Philosopher

    @Bryan Crawford: Just responding from your 2:16 p.m. comment… and Allen’s 2:13p.m. comment.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philosopher…You respond to my comment by asking me about Wes Unseld and if I think he’s a HOF C? How should I know? I mean, all I saw of him was a few highlights and his numbers, so I guess so. But I know one thing, he’s not a HOF PG no more than Magic is a HOF C. Or PF. Or SF. Or even SG. Magic is a HOF PG and that’s it. I mean, I hate to break it to you like this, but Earv would not have gone into the Hall at any of those other positions. He would’ve been very below average as a full-time wing player/shooter/scorer and mediocre at F or C. Sorry.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Stop typing

  • The Philosopher

    Well, I guess I’ll just have to live with Magic being a Hall of Fame center… even IF it was for one night for the Championship as a 6’9″ rookie point guard. I feel you.

  • The Philosopher

    @Bryan Crawford: And when Magic came back, he was a power forward, albeit not a HOF PF, but at that point… it didn’t matter. He showed glimpses of what would have been, despite how old and overweight he was. Fact.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @The Philosopher…ONE jump ball in ONE Finals game does not make one a HOF center, sorry. You know better, I know you do. Unless you just want to feel like you’re right about this, I suggest you abandon your theory.

  • BostonBaller

    ^^^I DO just want to be right about this. Hey, I tried, man. Lol.

  • The Philosopher

    5:28p.m. comment was me… I don’t know how that happened.

  • C.B

    the Jake Appleman article is stupid, it’s just making you think one way. Yeah shaq was the main man, but its not like kobe was a bench player. If you watch those games, kobe contributed like 48 percent, and made some important plays. They both couldn’t have won without each other. Shaq just gets more credit cause he was the face of the NBA back then and he was the laker’s number 1 option. But Kobe was still a huge part, and they wouldn’t have won any of them without Kobe.
    peace out
    Lakers are gona win on thursday by 6 points :) )

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    I’m not sure who was better, Larry or Kobe… that’s a real REAL toughie.
    Larry’s a better rebounder and passer
    Kobe’s a better defeneder
    I mean, I guess it boils down to scoring. Kobe’s better, but how MUCH better. Now, I consider Kobe a better shooter than Larry Bird.
    DON’T RIP OFF MY HEAD! THINK ABOUT IT!
    Spot up shooting? Larry Bird wins hands down. But Larry Bird had his spots. He picked the spots he wanted to shoot and went to them. Kobe has no spots. He shoots ANYWHERE. Larry Bird obviously had the smarter offensive game, but Kobe can literally get his shot off anywhere at anytime… not sure Larry Bird could do that. He didn’t need to cause he was so smart and crafty, he could get to the spots he knew he could score in. Kobe doesn’t need that. He’s too good of a shooter.
    I think… I think Bird was still better. I think Bird’s passing/rebounding was greater than Kobe’s scoring/defense. But, well, quite honestly, every game I see Kobe play, I slowly change my opinion.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    The argument that Larry played with better players is a bit overstated though. O’Neal is near Kobe’s equal… no one was NEAR Bird’s level on his team. Parish was vastly overrated. Look at him before Boston: lower scoring, lower percentages. Ainge too was way overrated. Dude was literally a poor man’s Dan Majerle.
    DJ and McHale are probably underrated though.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    about scoring on kobe vs. bird, if Larry had at least 70% of kobe’s athleticism then he is the better shooter/scorer. thats why kobe can create anywhere and bird picks his spots. i agree with jukai that larry was a smarter offensive player that’s because he cant score anywhere. he have to pick on the spots where he is most efficient/effective. bird may be a better shooter,including the 3 point range, (spot up) but he’s not the slasher type cause not that he can’t drive, his athletic abilty doesn’t allow him to. that’s the advantage kobe has, his athleticism though may have faded it still better than larry has ever had.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    ok maybe lets not argue with “if player A have this strength/speed that Player B have or so…” lets just deal in what they are and that’s why Kobe is a better scorer that Bird. im not tarnishing Bird because of his lack of athletic ability, but there’s no denying thats an advantage of bryant. in terms of mental toughness i say they are pretty even, defense to kobe, bird have rebounding and passing (note: a little of topic, but bird’s passing ability is great but not at magic’s level)

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    See, Bird passing ability is considered better, because he had more people around him to finish, Anige, Barkley even calls McHale the best post player he ever played against, D Johnson, Parish and many more.

    I truly believe if Jerry West is a better player than Larry Bird. Kobe is better than Bird.

    *Larry Bird- 3× NBA Champion (1981, 1984, 1986), 2× NBA Finals MVP (1984, 1986), 3× NBA MVP (1984-1986), 12× All-Star (1980-1988, 1990-1992), 1980 NBA Rookie of the Year, 1× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1982), 3× NBA Three-Point Shootout Winner (1986-1988). Is regarded by many to be one of the most clutch shooters in the history of the league.

    -Career Stats: 24.3ppg, 10.0rpg, 6.3apg, 496%fg, 376%3pt, 886%ft

    *Jerry West- 1x NBA Champion (1972), 1969 NBA Finals MVP (In a losing effort), 14× NBA All-Star (1961–74), 1972 NBA All-Star MVP. The NBA symbol, nicknamed “Mr. Clutch”.

    -Career Stats: 27.0ppg, 5.8rpg, 6.7apg, 474%fg, 814%ft, they didn’t have 3-pointers back then.

    Kobe is better Larry, No question about that. the real question is Larry Bird better and Jerry West. I looked up Birds MVP numbers they were average numbers because Bird avearged about 24 points his career about 9 rebs and 6 assists. BUT his Celtics always had best records so he got more credit, even though he had about two players averaging 20 points and another player close to 20 points. Larry got benefit of playing with great players NO QUESTION.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    GUESS WHO LARRY BIRDS FAVORITE PLAYER IN NBA IS?
    During halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, ABC aired an interview between Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant in which Johnson revealed Larry Bird considers Bryant his favorite player. Turns out Bryant has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Bird.

    Johnson: Larry Bird told me that Kobe Bryant is his favorite player. How do you respond to that?

    Bryant: You know what? That makes me feel, that makes me feel great. You know, I hated Larry growing up. I did, I hated his guts. But I loved him as a player and his work ethic and his intensity, his tenacity and I wanted to be that way. And the funny thing is, I’ve never actually met Larry Bird.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw played alongside Boston’s Larry Bird in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Shaw also was a teammate of Kobe Bryant during the Lakers’ title days in the early 2000s.
    Having played with both of them, I’ve said it before, I haven’t seen any player prepare for the game to the level Kobe does. It encompasses everything, from stretching to icing, to watching film, working on your moves, working on weaknesses, come early, respecting the game, understanding those who came before you … that’s a big part of it, too.
    Now, mind you, everybody’s talent level and drive isn’t the same, but in terms of effort this guy, Kobe, is going out there and playing 40 minutes a night and giving it to you on both ends of the floor, and then he comes in the next day at practice and he’s going hard. You as a teammate better be going hard at practice.
    BOOK IT!!!

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    My 7:46am comment about Kobe being Bird favorite player was during the 2009 Finals last year interview with Magic, Not 2010 NBA FINALS. I’M DONE!!!

  • The Philosopher

    Magic and Larry elevated the games of the players on their teams better than any players in NBA history. In my humble opinion. That, along with my opinion of Magic having the ability to be a Hall of Famer at any position. Again, opinion.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    @J: Yep, Kobe is an underrated shooter cause of his percentages. Kobe, like Miller, literally had no spots. He shoots ANYWHERE. I would like to point out, though, that Bird was a superior post player to Kobe. Way better than Kobe. But Kobe is a better shooter and slasher. Bird is a better post player and more efficient scorer. So Kobe’s a better scorer, the question is, when comparing the two, how much?
    @The Seed: Doesn’t it say something that, when Bird had average stats but a ludicrous winning team, he won MVP… but when Kobe had a ludicrous winning team, Shaq won MVP?
    The 2000 Lakers weren’t as good as the 1986 Celts… but a few things to note, competition was weaker for the Lakers, and Larry had NO one near as good as Shaq in any semblance of that term.

  • http://fklf.com Jukai

    And as I said, people are really confused about who was good and who was not on the Celts… DJ was one of the best defensive PGs ever, and McHale is top-5 top-6 PF of all time…. but Parish is a second rate center (not even top-20) and Ainge is not even as good as Fisher or Horry.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Ainge isn’t as good a defender as Fisher, but he was a scrappy defender and good shooter, including off the bounce. Fisher has only recently improved his off the bounce game, back in the day he was strictly a spot up shooter.
    I think Horry is overrated, and DJ was the 1979 Finals MVP if I’m not mistaken.
    Parish was talented. He’s better than Horry, Travis Knight, Rick Fox, Elden Campbell and old Horace Grant, and those are the cats who played power forward for the Lakers with Shaq.
    McHale was great on offensive, not so hot on the boards or on defense.
    My gut says Kobe is a better scorer. But, the argument that he can do more, but not necessarily do it better does resonate with me to some degree. I tend to give extra points to cats who can do more, but I don’t know if that’s fair.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Allenp: DJ getting the 1979 Finals MVP was considered one of the most bizarre awards ever given, if you read about it. Gus Johnson averaged 28.9 points and pretty much controlled the tempo of the game. DJ also screwed up several key times during the playoffs, including a dumb foul that gave the Wizards their only victory. So it’s a bit hard to see why he was given the award. In fairness, that’s one of the few Finals series I haven’t watched a game of, but I’ve read several writers complain about that.
    Still, that being said, he’s still quite underrated in the annals of time. He played both PG and SG pretty damn well, was one of the best perimeter defenders of all time, great slasher… I mean, he was relatively uncoachable half his career, but he did win three championships with two separate teams… Rodman was uncoachable too, y’know.
    Also, McHale wasn’t a good rebounder and defender? He was considered one of the best defensive fours of his day, so that comment was really quite strange to me. He is a six time all-defensive NBA player, three of them first team. He also brought in 8-9 rebounds a game, a crazy feat when you realize he played with Larry Bird, who instinctually knew where every rebound would drop, Robert Parish, who was 7’1 and would plant himself under the basket, and DJ, who was actually an extraordinary rebounder for his size. I don’t know how you could say McHale was not so hot on defense and rebounding. Perhaps you should relook into him?
    Final point: Kobe IS a better scorer, pretty clear to me. Why I say Larry Bird is still better… and that may change as Kobe’s career plays out… is that I don’t think Kobe’s scoring is so superior to Larry’s that it offsets what Larry brings to the game. I don’t know if Kobe is a lot better at scoring, or just a tiny bit better at scoring…. y’know?

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