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Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 10:25 am  |  155 responses

Jerry West Considers Kobe Bryant the Greatest Laker Ever


It’s a never-ending debate: who is the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time? The choices are plentiful — Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and a few others could all make the claim — but according to Jerry West, the title goes to the Black Mamba. Per USA Today: “West, the former Lakers general manager who brought Bryant to Laker Land as a rookie in 1996 by way of the trade with the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac, would consider Bryant the best Laker of all time even if he quit tomorrow. His sentiment echoed that of Magic Johnson, the five-time champion who reiterated his stance on ESPN on Wednesday night that Bryant was the best of all the Lakers. West, who is now a consultant for the Golden State Warriors, said he viewed Abdul-Jabbar and Chamberlain differently because they didn’t play their entire careers with the Lakers but he clearly sees Bryant above Johnson and himself on the Lakers’ long list of greats. ‘What he has accomplished with this team, I don’t think there’s any question in my mind at this point in time – because of him being with this team for his whole career – that he has been the greatest Laker player,’ West – who earned 14 All-Star berths, one championship, one MVP and made nine Finals appearances – said. ‘I do think he’s the greatest Laker player we’ve ever seen.’ As for the scoring record and whether Bryant will pursue it, West doesn’t see him chasing the mark unless he’s still playing at the highest level. ‘The one thing he’s been able to avoid are really serious injuries,’ West said. ‘That is a factor in anyone’s success…(But) he’s not going to go out there and play – like a lot of guys do – past their prime, trying to chase a record. I don’t think that’s who he is, at the end of the day. I just think that he’s just one of those guys who loves to compete, loves to win, understands that he’s been doing it for so long, at a high level, and now the team hasn’t played as well as (they were expected to). Does that wear on him? I’m sure. And then having you guys ask him the question, ‘How long will you play?’ I think he’ll play as long as he feels like he can play like he is right now, and then he will move away from it.’”

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  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gets no respect.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so this could get out of hand.
    .
    but Magic is the best Laker. If you disagree, it’s because you are a Kobe fan. Not a Lakers fan. — This Jerry West guy? Since his title as greatest Laker was taken by Magic, is now proclaiming the guy HE DISCOVERED greatest Laker. — These uber competitive greats are perpetually uber competitive. In a round-about-way, West wins.
    .
    ok, go.

  • shockexchange

    Kareem is the greatest Laker. He may not be the “most popular,” but definitely the greatest.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Could make more solid arguments against Kobe than you could against Magic in my opinion. So I’d still go with Magic.

  • Entity91

    Just stop…..for real. Kobe is the greatest Laker. It is truly not a real discussion.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I also think him trading for Kobe on draft night strongly influences his opinion. Magic, being as humble as he is about himself, won’t call himself the greatest Laker. But he is the greatest in my opinion. Kareem doesn’t get as much love in my opinion. Kobe is, at best, 3rd for me behind Magic and Kareem.

  • elmaar

    GTFOH

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Magic is too selfless, at least publicly, definitely. He knows he’s the greatest Laker. Look at what he accomplished in his 12* years (13 if you count ’96) compared to what Kobe has in his 17.
    .
    The Kareem thing, I can’t call Kareem a better Laker then Kobe. Mainly because his best years were in Milwuakee, along with 5 of his MVPs.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i’m going to regret this, but by what Logic?

  • roscoe

    what about Eldin Campbell?

  • ashemsmashem

    So even if shaq, magic & west believe kobe is the gloat….people is refuse to believe it or consider it. Kobe will never fully be appeciated. As a laker fan I make no bones kobe is MY goat.

  • ashemsmashem

    You never have anything positive to say about kobe anyway

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    because factually speaking, Kobe isn’t greater than Magic.

    .

    9 Finals in 12 years. vs 7 Finals in 17 years.
    .
    5 Rings vs 5 Rings
    .
    3 MVPs in 12 years vs 1 MVP in 17 years
    .
    3 Finals MVPs vs 2 Finals MVPs
    .
    Unless someone really wants to try and say Kobe played in a more competitive era? lol

  • shockexchange

    He was the most unstoppable low post presence in the game. He led L.A. to five rings. People forget, that the last ring he won in ’88, dude was already 40 yrs old. And don’t give me (i) Showtime and (ii) he couldn’t do it without Magic. Showtime may have gotten them through the regular season, but that sky hook, and crunch time low post presence won chips. Jabbar had already won multiple MVPs and a chip in Milwaukee before even coming to L.A. He would have won chips wherever he played – Milwaukee, L.A., NY, Orlando, New Orleans, Virginia, etc.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Kareem and Wilt may lose nods because some of their most dominant years were spent on the Bucks and Sixers respectively. Kinda like how KG has had a better career than McHale, but McHale will go down as the greater Celtics power forward of all time.

    I’d take Magic over Kobe. 5 rings as consistently the best player on a team filled with elite talent. Revolutionized the Point forward/guard position. One of the best, if not THE BEST floor general the league has ever seen. And this is coming from a Larry Legend fan!

  • ashemsmashem

    So there is no way jerry west being genuine in his answer? They asked him his opinion on the mattter, and considering jerry west is a life long laker, just like magic & kobe. Magic & kobe by far the most popular amongst lakers fans, its a difference of generations. But in no way is west wrong, maybe your indenial…..and I bet your not a lakers fan?

  • don

    Kobe..kobe…kobe…kobe……………

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    holy revisionist history.
    - yeah he won a title at 40, while puttin up 13 points and 4 rebounds in the finals. Try and say things that make sense.
    .
    - and you can’t call someone the greatest Laker ever for what they did in Milwuakee. Again, try and say things that make sense.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    You must be new. I’ve been here for 4 years. Had plenty of positive things to say about Kobe throughout those 4 years.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    West is wrong. There is no logical argument for Kobe over Magic.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange introduced the “Milwaukee angle” to trump any musing about “he couldn’t do it without Magic.” I see it worked. This has got to be the most “non-vitriolic” response you have ever had to a comment by the Shock Exchange … which prolly means you agree with him. LOL.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    That’s fair. Barkley made a similar argument against Wilt last night.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    When did Shaq say Kobe was the best? He put Kareem #1 last night.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ahh i didn’t watch last night, baby girl is having a huge effect on how much i get to watch. who woulda thunk it?

  • don

    Kobe…is the greatest laker,he play guard,kareem and wilt are centers they’re giants

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    In fact, he put Jerry and Magic ahead of Kobe too.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i never said he couldn’t do it without Magic.

    .

    But if you really want me to pursue that angle i can? and i will probably make you look ridiculous for insinuating Kareem was some other worldly force…

    .

    ok, just for sh*ts (and for everyone else, i have KAJ as the 3rd greatest player ever, so don’t overreact, this is purely for arguments sake).

    .

    In Kareem’s five years without Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson…..how did his teams do?

    .

    I’ll tell you, they missed the playoffs altogether, twice. And won 2 playoff series’ total.

    .
    that’s not good.

  • ashemsmashem

    And kobe virtually owns every lakers record, already has 5 championships , has played more games as a laker than any other player. For yiu to think kobe isn’t, that’s fine its YOUR opinion, but i can tell you as a life long lakers fan kobe deserves just as much praise . He has brought us a lot & still going strong. Maybe kobe didn’t smile enough in his career, I’m not sure. But he means just as much to the city & fans as magic does . Its a matter of opinion, but in way is he”wrong”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    meaning as much is totally different then who is better. you are getting your emotions mixed up with performance. in terms of what actually happened on the court (not in your heart), Magic is the greatest Laker ever. The debate is for 2nd, i personally would pick Kobe. Some people still think it’s West (which i think is outrageous), some people think it’s Kareem (which i think is misguided).

  • roscoe

    but what about eldin campbell?

  • shockexchange

    You’re right, that’s not good. They were a power in Milwaukee, when the Big O was past his prime. They had a sense of urgency because Oscar only has so much left in the tank. When the Big O retired, the “team” was not at the same level. And while we’re speaking facts – THE SKY IS BLUE – but that also has nothing to do with the conversation. And yes, Kareem was an “otherworldly force.” Of the modern era (excludes Wilt, Russell), Kareem is number two behind Jordan.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    ok? i don’t disagree with any of that. just made it very clear that Kareem, like Magic, never won without another all-time great. ofcourse there are circumstances involved, but to say QUOTE “The Shock Exchange introduced the “Milwaukee angle” to trump any musing about “he couldn’t do it without Magic.”" is blatantly wrong, given the facts. So you can’t “introduce the Milwuakee angle” in any type of argument for why he’s the greatest Laker. Because, as “i” like to say, there is no proof in the pudding, as some other person made up, but i’ll pull a shock exchange and take credit for it.

  • ashemsmashem

    Its not emotions its a matter of opinion…. kobe is a better, scorer, was a better defender, had better ballhandling skills( don’t confuse assit with handles, magic couldn’t dribble around the defense he was a supreme passer) & better footwork….not to mention he is still playing. Magic had a kareem, worthy, baylor, nixon, green, rambis, those 80s teams where stacked. Kobe has had personnel changes around him, coaching changes…has played at a higher level for a longer period of time the lakers team that won back to back has 3 members left from that team …kobe has been relavent through 2 generations.

  • https://twitter.com/Wayne__o BuenoWayno1

    To say Kobe is the greatest laker is pure fandom. For all his greatness Kobe has only won one league MVP and being the “sidekick” on a dominate early 2000′s laker teams has to be taken into account. kobe in my opinion is the third best laker behind magic and Kareem. i think people are becoming prisoners of the moment and not taking history into a account.

  • Ben Ireland

    @disqus_rOeXXBD2qs:disqus as well…
    Kareem was incredible, and an essential part of Magic’s titles… You could argue that he was the best player out of him, Magic, Jerry West, and Kobe… But the greatest Laker? No chance… He played elsewhere and was better there than he was for the Lakers. How can you be the greatest player in the history of the franchise, if you had your best years in Milwuakee… He was still awesome, but not quite as good.
    As for Magic v Kobe, that’s a toss-up. Kobe has been amazing, and he’s my favourite player in the league besides maybe DRose… But Magic SAVED the league. He brought everyone back into basketball, and he was a genius on the court, and a genius off of it. People hated Magic, but everybody wanted to see him play. Nobody means more to their franchise, so I’m giving the nod to Magic here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/blong33 Brad Long

    Yall are sleeping on Smush Parker…

  • shockexchange

    No Kareem … no chips. Shock Exchange out.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you know nothing at all about Basketball if you think dribbling moves and ability to handle the ball are the same thing. Magic was a better ball handler. Plain and Simple. The assist to turnover ratio is not even kind of close. Kobe averaged 1 less turnover a game, despite playing SG and shooting the ball an unprecedented amount of times per minute. It’s pretty hard to turn the ball over when you are primarily shooting. While Magic was the most prolific assist guy (per game) of all-time.
    .
    Kobe has been on just as talented teams as Magic was.
    .
    and the whole “kobe is a much better defender thing” is total bullsh*t. Kobe is the most overrated defender of all-time. Despite playing in a worse offensive era (for teams) Kobe’s defensive rating is WORSE than Magic’s. (offensive rating is not close, Magic is by far a better offensive player statistically, but if you wanna attribute that to era, fine – as long as you do the same for defense and start calling Magic the better defender).
    .
    What it sounds like is, you are a young Lakers fan (younger then 25 for sure) never actually saw Magic. You are a Kobe fan first. He’s what you’ve seen, he appeals to your emotions.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    No Magic, No Oscar, no chips. Same stupid ass comment that means nothing.

  • shockexchange

    Showtime was for the “chicks,” that Sky Hook was for the “chips.” Shock Exchange out.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Shaq has said Kobe was the best. He’s said Magic was the best. He’s said it was Kareem. He called Brook Lopez the best Center in the NBA while criticizing Dwight’s ability to score (Dwight scores more than Brook) and while saying Dwight needs to average 15 rebounds (which is 9 more than Brook averaged last season). Shaq’s opinion should never be considered important.

  • John

    West is a bitter player and person. Magic by far is the greatest Laker. Hell, he is the greatest player. I never liked Jerry west as a player or as a person.

  • ashemsmashem

    No I’m a lakers fan……if magic & west, both of whom have more bball knowledge than anyone on this board…what makes your assumptions more important than theirs? If I’m not mistaken west & magic played their whol. Careers as lakers, I’ll take their opinion over yours

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “without those 13 points and 4 rebounds they were nothing, NOTHING!!!”
    .
    Shock Exchange out, until a few minutes from now, when he wants to say something else rooted in his imagination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    “If you disagree, it’s because you are a kobe fan” Again, you’re a joke, man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Umm, not even close. Kobe and Magic.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    good for you.

    .

    That means, you don’t see Kobe as a leader (Magic said that, 2 days ago).

    .

    You don’t understand how LeBron ever won a ring (Magic said he wouldn’t last season…..if you want a link to the video, i can provide it).

    .

    You believe the Knicks were title contenders with Jeremy Lin, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony (Magic said that too).

    .

    And I’ve already explained where Jerry West’s opinion on this comes from. He’s been in Kobe’s corner since day one, no surprise he hasn’t left.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    reasoning “i’m a joke” ?? — provide a logical argument why Kobe is greater than Magic was. Haven’t seen one yet. Won’t see one. Because there isn’t.

  • Dymez

    There’s this thing that goes around all sports during situations like these. It’s called “Prisoner-of-the-moment Syndrome.” It happens to a lot of people — Jerry West is no exception.

  • jumpman3224

    Arguments for Kobe –

    Lakers all-time leader in Games, Minutes, Field Goals, 3 Pointers, Free Throws, Points and Steals. Top 5 in Assists and Boards. Has 5 titles with LA, equal to any Laker great.

    Kobe has made 14 All-NBA teams to Magic’s 10. Kobe made the All-Defensive team 12 times (most ever for a perimeter player, 2nd most all-time). Magic did not make one in his entire career.

    I don’t really know who the top Purple and Gold player is (I lean towards Kobe personally). But, those are the logical arguments you can make as I see it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that and, “being a prisoner of something you can take credit for” — like being the guy who drafted Kobe.

  • Nope

    comparing mvp counts doesn’t matter… let’s be realistic: kobe was far and away the most valuable player to his team and the league for WAY more than one season haha. i’m not even a kobe fan, nor am i in favour for him in this argument, but dude should have at least 3 mvps.

  • Sérgio

    No Magic, no chips, no Kobe, no chips.

  • jumpman3224

    Also, leader in Win Shares – 2nd in Defensive Win Shares and 2nd in Offensive Win Shares.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    what years? You can make a case (a bad one) that he deserved the MVP in ’06, but that’s the only other year there is an argument for. — he was the Leagues marquee face. Not it’s actual best player for more than a couple years outside of the 3 where he was the best player in the league on a fringe playoff team.

  • Don

    It’s kobe

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He’s played 17 years. Most of those accomplishments are just due to longevity (like Win Shares). SO he’s the greatest Laker ever because of Longevity?

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    He detailed last night how Dwight could get 28 or 30 a night and it didn’t sound too bad. But he keeps saying a dominant center needs to get 28 and 15 a night and then he says Brook is the best when he’s never averaged more than 9 rebounds or 20 points in his career. That Superman nickname really gets to him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    I never said he is. I just said to make a statement declaring everyone who believes Kobe > Magic to be a Kobe fan is ridiculous. I still place Magic ahead slightly. He changed the game. He changed to whole landscape of the L.

    But as for a Kobe argument:

    More all star appearances, more all-nba teams, defense, gave the organization more high-quality seasons, all-time scoring leader.

    If he’s able to win another title.. Which is very doubtful, however. Still, even if he does win another I still believe Magic > Kobe, and Michael > Kobe.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah it does.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I think you’re confusing being the best player in the league with being the most valuable.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Understandable.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Kobe has played for 17 years. The argument i keep seeing are about totals, so the whole argument for why he’s the greatest Laker revolves around longevity, not actual greatness?

    .

    and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t bring up all-defensive teams. Of all the things Kobe has received off of reputation, AT LEAST NINE of those selections were purely for that reason.

  • Dymez

    Of course. Jerry definitely wants his slice of the pie, too.

  • jumpman3224

    He’s not the greatest Laker ever due to longevity, but longevity should be considered as a very important aspect when evaluating greatness. When you are talking about a guy who has played at an All-Star level for as long as Kobe has, his longevity is something that separates him from other great players.

    In another post you had asked for a logical arguments. Do you not see those as such?

  • everynowhere

    kobe’s been selected on an all-defensive team 12 times and you’re saying he deserves 3 of them. Nice.

  • RayJr

    Kobe has been my favorite player since he was a rook and in my opinion he is the greatest Laker(so I’m already biased towards him) BUT I believe people should wait until his career is over until we all start this kind of debate. Just wait until he retires and we will have his final numbers to compare to other Lakers.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    not really. i don’t think Kobe playing for 17 years and accomplishing less than Magic in terms of stuff people actually use in “greatness” arguments….Championships, MVPs, Finals MVPs – and then using stats from there on after you examine the most pressing accomplishments.

    .

    I mean you wanna talk about Win Shares/All Defensive Selections/All NBA Teams/and totals…..

    .

    That would make the argument for Karl Malone as a better all-time player than Kobe completely logical (or at least comparable)……would you say that putting Kobe barely ahead of Malone, strictly because of his rings and nothing else, is logical?

    .

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=bryanko01&y1=2013&p2=malonka01&y2=2004
    .
    cuz i wouldn’t.

  • jumpman3224

    @nbk: what’s your take on the theory that when evaluating two players that who was greater and who was better isn’t always the same answer? For example, maybe Magic is a better player than Kobe when evaluating NBA players, but Kobe had a historically greater career due to being close in the “better” argument and sustaining his career for a longer period of time, which allowed him to accomplish more. Just curious.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    right? Kobe got 1st team all defense in 2007….with a defensive rating of 109!!!!!! (that’s the same defensive rating as Vladimir Radmonovic, for comparison to his teammates sake) he was the best defensive player on the 24th best defense in the NBA…..and got selected to 1st team all-defense.

    .

    He isn’t a bad defender by any stretch, but he sure didn’t deserve the praise he was getting. SH*T, he IS getting All-Defensive selections while not guarding a single premiere offensive wing for ENTIRE SEASONS….(2008-2012 —- with Ariza and Artest).

  • jumpman3224

    I would say it’s logical, ie that line of thinking involves logic, but something being logical doesn’t mean that I agree with it. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t other logical, credible arguments to be made.

    I believe that the points myself and others have made – that revolve around totals and longevity – are being made because the numbers for “stuff people actually use” are out there, they’ve been shared in these conversations and comparable (5 titles each, 3/1 MVPs, 3/2 Finals MVPs). As such, these are other numbers that could support the Kobe side of the debate. The debate doesn’t hinge on these sorts of numbers, they work in conjunction with the many other positive things you could say about Bryant’s career. Not to say, that they win it for him, but they are certainly worth considering.

    Truth be told, there is no definitive measure of greatness. Both Kobe and Magic are historically great and deciding between the pair is subjective regardless of your reasoning.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that’s fair. i guess i don’t know what word to use then. the argument follows a logical line of thought, but it doesn’t ______ make sense, to value total statistics over consistent performance? — wanna help me word what i’m tryna say? i apparently don’t posses the linguistic skills that it would take to portray what i’m trying to say.
    .
    if you had to win a single championship, by picking one Laker, between Kobe and Magic, who do you pick?
    .
    Who wouldn’t ______ (logically?) pick Magic?. He made everyone around him exponentially better, can’t say that about Kobe. He consistently led teams to more success then Kobe. He had more individual success in a shorter amount of time (more titles, title appearances, MVPs, Finals MVPs, in a *considerably* shorter amount of time). He was a better, more impactful player for the Lakers organization by any single year measure. So to me, he’s clearly “greater”.

  • jumpman3224

    Is it possible that defensive rating is not the best way to evaluate defensive contributions? The All-NBA defensive team is chosen by NBA head coaches. These are the guys, along with their staff, are constantly breaking down film and evaluating strengths and weaknesses of players. So, it could be that they think Kobe is a better defender than his rating. That he impacts team’s defensive efforts in help or zone situations that would not be reflective in the rating. Also, Kobe for his career is a premiere perimeter defensive rebounder, which ultimately is how defensive possesions are finished off. I believe that factors in. Sure, he COULD be getting these accolades based off reputation, but he also COULD be more deserving than your realize.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Wait wait wait, are you really under the impression that Coaches pay attention to everything every player on every team is doing? — The coaches gameplan for teams, they don’t scout them. They watch tape on how to make their team successful, they don’t watch tape to see what other players on other teams are doing. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the head coaches of the NBA are spending their time paying attention to any team other than for the benefit of their own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Yeah, longevity does not make him greater than Magic, that’s why I still chose Magic. I do think it’s amazing that he’s been so great for so long, though, that does count for something. The ALL-defensive teams are pretty much a joke. I’m not sure how many he deserves, but certainly not 12.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    “That he impacts team’s defensive efforts in help or zone situations that would not be reflective in the rating” – defensive rating is a reflection of how an entire team plays while a player is on the court. — if Kobe’s defensive rating is worse then certain teammates, it’s because the TEAM’s DEFENSE is worse with Kobe on the court then that player. I mean, i can show you literal, on-court vs off-court defensive numbers for every season dating back to i believe 2007. And only one of those (2008 i believe) will reflect Kobe having a positive effect on his teams defense (which i believe is a positive differential of about .8 points per 100 possessions). He historically/statistically, has been a slightly above average defensive wing. And nowhere close to the elite defender he has been portrayed as.

    .
    However, I am aware that situationally (specifically at the end of games, in the early part of the last decade) he was a defensive stalwart. And from 2000-2003 he was top 5 as a defensive wing. But that’s hardly worth 12 all-defensive selections, specifically the selections he received from 2007-2012, where he wasn’t defending any premier guys on any sort of consistent basis, and was only defensively game changing in situations like at the end of games. — unless you think it makes sense to hand out all-defensive selections to guys who are only elite a couple possessions every few games?

  • jumpman3224

    I suppose it means you simply don’t agree. That’s fine – it’s subjective.

    Kobe’s supporters aren’t valuing total stats over consistent performance. They are valuing both. Kobe has been consistent for the last 15+ years, an almost unimaginable stretch, thanks to that he has crazy total statistics.

    Many people would pick Kobe over Magic to win one championship. Many people would pick Magic over Kobe to win one championship. Odds are either one would lead the team to a W.

  • jumpman3224

    Genuinely, you make some really good points.

    However, as it relates to Kobe versus Magic. Regardless of if Kobe earned every one of his all-defensive team or he gained them based off reputation – Magic had none, so he must not have even had a reputation for being an outstanding defender.

  • LakeShow

    lol. Factual proof please.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    right, i feel like me defending my opinion is making it look like i’m degrading Kobe. I’m not. His 17 years, 14 of which have been at an absurd level, is simply astonishing. He’s the second greatest Laker ever, which is also astonishing, considering the people he is following. He is the 2nd best SG ever, and a fringe top 10 player (i have him 11 – 8-10 if he wins another ring depending on the manner he does it).
    .
    Kobe has been absolutely amazing and i’ve enjoyed every minute of his career…….
    .
    but he isn’t better then Magic was.

  • LakeShow

    Remember this is the guy that thinks Andrew Bynum played a more prevalent part in the Lakers most recent three finals runs than Kobe Bryant…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t think many people would pick Kobe over Magic. i think barely any people would do that.
    .
    i have heard more people choose Magic over Jordan to build a team around then I have heard people say they’d pick Kobe over Magic.
    .
    Sh*t, even on the Open Court show on NBATV, some of those guys were picking Magic over EVERYONE.

  • LakeShow

    Co-sign this.
    Kobe CAN be the greatest, but he has some work.

  • jumpman3224

    I’m logging off for the afternoon. All the Best @nbk.

    Truth be told, this season and next season are going to go a long way to determine Kobe’s place in the pecking order of NBA and Laker greats. In his own estimation he’s never had more talent around him, so it’s do are die. Failing to win a title with this group would be a huge mark against him when debating his greatness standing.

    All in all though, both of these guys are all-time top 10 players and LA is fortunate to have had them both.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Defense was literally an afterthought throughout the vast majority of Magic’s career. And i’m not at all saying Magic and Kobe are close as defenders, they aren’t. Kobe was much better, but Magic had things that made him comparably valuable on that end — like his ability to rebound and guard 4 positions. I mean, a lot of what Magic could do defensively was stuff Kobe couldn’t dream of, like guard a 4, so James Worthy can guard a 3, while Michael Cooper and Byron Scott torture a back court (just an example). The defensive difference between the two is much much smaller then it’s portrayed by all-defensive selections. That’s all i was really trying to bring light to.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    good point. smh

  • LakeShow

    Co-Sign all this.

  • LakeShow

    precisely, if Vlad Rad has the same defensive rating as Kobe, there is something wrong with the statistic lol…

  • shockexchange

    Pau Gasol / Andrew Bynum at the same ____ time, to be exact.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh thank tha lawd a Lakers fan who (magically? lol) can see a Kobe sitaution subjectively.

  • Caboose

    Let’s make it simple. He isn’t the greatest player to wear a Lakers jersey, but he has accomplished more than any other player while wearing a Lakers jersey. Fair?

  • charliewinning

    You don’t really watch games if you think he deserved those All Defensive nods. Three is actually an accurate number of deserved spots on that team.

  • eric

    You lie.

  • LakeShow

    Just to make my opinion on this clear…

    Magic is the greatest. I don’t even have to give the reasons why. (Unless you need me to)

    Kobe has a chance to usurp Magic.

    In order to do this he would need to win 1 more championship as the best or 2nd best player on the team. He would need to get to at least 3rd on the scoring list all time and another Finals MVP would be the cherry on top to make him the toast of LA, but that is allot of ‘if’s’ and until/if these ‘if’s’ become reality then we can talk about who the greatest Laker may be.

    As of now it’s:

    Magic

    Kobe

    Kareem

    West

    Baylor(How does a 6’5″ guy average 20 rebounds a game!!!???)

    Wilt

  • Junior Taylor

    To each his own but I wholeheartedly disagree with the Logo. In terms of the greatest Lakers it’s Magic (3 Finals MVP, 3 MVPs, 5 rings and single-handily along with Bird/MJ revolutionized the League), Kobe (30K points, 2 Finals MVP and 5 rings), West (only player ever to win Finals MVP on the losing team) then Shaq (3 straight Finals MVPs). I left out KAJ and Wilt simply because their prime were spent on different teams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    i am a die hard kb fan. i am leaning to the mamba but i may have to give it to magic. he lost to mj in 91, zeke in 89, and bird in 84. kb lost to a a very good celts team in 2008 and a bad pistons team in 2004. if you want to judge that i go magic but kb should have more than 1 mvp..that is a travesty!

  • everynowhere

    No i watched him play. His entire career in fact. look i’m not a kobe fan so don’t think i’m defending him but he deserved at least 5 of them 2000-2004. The rest i’ll agree with you.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    You most likely weren’t around then. No need to prove anything to you or anyone else. Most of the people who used to comment before the new system came around are no longer here. We had a lot of LeBron/Kobe discussions during the 07-10 years and I was arguing for Kobe until 2010. Either you were here or you weren’t.

  • LakeShow

    Caaaaause u can’t…
    Been reading comments for 5 years…

  • Conor

    Jerry West is a Kobe fan.

  • Conor

    Who can see a Kobe situation “subjectively”? You mean, from your point of view? LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I just don’t see how Kobe is greater than Kareem in any way

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    don’t even try with this dude….ignores/misinterprets any points you make so it is nearly impossible to have a logical argument with him.

  • LakeShow

    Greater Laker.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    can’t go wrong with kobe

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    this man is historic

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    I had a few names on the old site. It’s not on me to prove anything to you. Check the archives if they exist and look for yourself. If you were commenting during those years, chances are great you actually agreed with me while I was arguing for Kobe against LeBron.

  • RKJ92

    Why is this even an arguement between Kobe and Magic with jumpman? you of all people should know the 2 greatest Lakers were Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Magic Johnson hands down, they were amazing..

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    Agreed. I’d have him a bit higher, though. I’d say 7-9. The thing that brings him down to me as that he’s never been able to prove the ability to really elevate a team to a level they shouldn’t be at. Magic did this as a rookie. Shaq did this. LeBron won how many games in Cleveland? With an awful roster. Kobe had a comparable roster and missed the playoffs. Still, he’s my favorite player, because of his work ethic and passion he demonstrates on the court. That’s what I love to see. The fact that I’m a Lakers fan doesn’t hurt lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i do believe each has a different meaning (even though i mix them up on occassion) —-
    .
    how i define them is, “greatest” would be those that accomplished the most or did the best over the sum of their career (with extenuating circumstances to be considered, like the Kobe Longevity vs Magic’s shorter “more prestigious” career) while “best” are who was the most dominant/good at a single point (in their prime).

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    certainly not you. so you don’t really have anywhere to bring up anything Laker and subjectively related in the same sentence. Bye

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that’s fair.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Kobe was a better LAKER then Kareem. Sorry.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    no he didn’t. specifically 2001. 2000 he was great. 2001 he seemed to have realized how good he was offensively and slacked…..until the playoffs – then he was a monster again — until game 1 of the finals, when Iverson happened. Then 02 and 03 (03 less so) he was really good again. And 04 his ego really really really kicked in and he was erratic in the least.
    .
    i mean back when i really really had favorite players, Kobe was my dude. i’m pretty certain i can summarize every year of his career except the lock-out season. i honestly don’t feel there is a person around who has a more realistic view on Kobe’s career then I do as conceited as that is. I don’t like the Lakers, at all. I love Kobe as a player. But I don’t let that affect how i view him compared to others, even a little.

  • LakeShow

    Riveting. Absolutely riveting.

  • LakeShow

    It would take me forever to find you say something positive about Kobe. Because there isn’t a place where you did. Hence why you can’t show me.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i understand having Kobe as high as 8. there are 7 guys who to me, are unquestionably better then Kobe,

    -MJ

    -Russell

    -KAJ

    -Wilt

    -Magic

    -Shaq

    -Duncan
    ……………………………………………………………………………………….

    in terms of greatness, i would take Shaq and Duncan as unquestionably “greater” because many of you would argue that, but to me personally? there isn’t a question there either.

  • Stephen A. Smith

    If Magic Johnson as well as Jerry West say Kobe’s the greatest Laker ever than he is, there is no argument, point blank period.

  • EJ

    I think longevity does play a part in it. Kobe’s stats would obviously be better if he just played during his prime. So to just look at the stats without taking age into consideration is ridiculous, as is just looking at the career point totals while dismissing the amount of games and minutes played.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    there is no player who only played during their prime first of all. and you can’t take a 12 year stretch at any point in Kobe’s career that is more impressive then Magic’s 12 year entire career, so there goes that too.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    yezzir!

  • bill

    Too bad Magic didn’t join the Lakers at 18.

  • Sérgio

    I think Magic’s stats benefit hugely from him having to retired abruptely. As a result of that, when he retired it could be argued that he was still in his prime.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Look what Magic did as an overweight 36 year old who hadn’t played in 4+ years man.

  • RKJ92

    I wanna pour acid on my eye’s for reading that from you… lol

  • Junior Taylor

    Unfair. How has Kobe accomplished more than Magic when Earvin won more MVPs, Final MVPs and dominated his era more than Kobe has his?

  • Caboose

    Kobe has more accolades. Magic had the greater career. Meaning: Kobe has way more All Defensive Team selections. They’re tripe, but he has more accolades than Magic. (Magic is #4 on my all time list, Kobe is around 10 or 11).

  • http://www.facebook.com/koombuy.pride Koombuy Pride

    Duncan ahead of Kobe is laughable

    If your gonna discredit Mamba because he played 17 seasons you have to also look at it that when he retires he will retire as being an elite player for two decades.

    Magic dominated for one decade in the 80′s with the league in decline because of the lack of TALENT and superstars and all Magic had to do was get through a less superior athlete in Larry Bird and the Celtics.

    Great career and story, but overrated slightly.

    From 1998-2012 Kobe has been a top 5 player. He was handed the keys as the future as the NBA in at the All Star game 1998 the year MJ retired.

    The only two things you claim against Mamba can be said for MJ !!

    1: Didn’t make his teamates better.
    Which is wrong because they both led by example in how to prepare to be a champion, which is an off-court assist more valuable than on-court.
    You have a player in Kobe who doesn’t party with teamates, takes EVERY practice and workout seriously, compared to someone like Magic who joked around a lot and liked to party. I’m not saying Magics way was bad, but Kobe’s approach made his teammates better whether you admit it or not.

    2: Wasn’t the defensive player he gets credit for.
    Let me tell you something. You don’t mess up on an award 12 times.
    You might not think of Mamba as a lock down defender but nobody goes at Kobe thats not a superstar and says, “O ima take this guy tonight. ” In the playoffs Kobe has been an elite defender. That’s what is remembered and gets you 5 rings and 7 finals appearances. plus 12 all NBA defensive.

    Plus Kobe has a shot at a title THIS YEAR! His legacy is not done. But he is a top 5 lock all ready. Deffently ahead of Magic, Shaq, and(lol) Duncan

    You were begging for someone to prove it to you, this should.

  • everynowhere

    I believe he deserved to be on all-defensive team the years i stated before. Some of those years he got second team. some of them were first team. Based on voting from reputation we can argue he was overrated and selected first team but even if they didn’t overrate him he would have at least been on the second team.

    i’m a bulls fan which automatically makes me a jordan fan. i don’t like how he imitated jordan’s mannerisms but i like how he imitated his work ethic if that makes sense. Kobe 17th season in the L and remaining elite is truly inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching kobe play ball but as a person i hate him and hate the lakers so i don’t root for him. I don’t have a bias towards him which is why i’m waiting for him to retire to decide who the greatest laker is.

  • everynowhere

    so doesn’t that make him the greatest laker? jk

  • Conor

    Magic>Kobe>Kareem>West in terms of Laker legacy.

    Once Bryant retires, he will, inarguably, be the greatest.

  • Junior Taylor

    Come on now…you should know by now that I’m not one to be impressed by Kobe’s all-defensive team selections. About 5-6 of those are undeserved. Kobe is a better defender than Magic but Magic wasn’t a slouch on that end and in terms of the offensive end, Magic has that one in the bag.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Do you realize the all-defensive team is the 4 best perimeter defenders in the whole league. It’s not a given that just because he was good that he deserves the honor.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You are extremely ignorant. Frankly I don’t have the energy to waste explaining rudimentary sh*t to you. Calling Jordan an overrated defender is so extremely ignorant. Google Something. Anything. and go away.

  • http://twitter.com/El_Black_Mamba Oscar Carrillo (O.C)

    No bird?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I personally have Bird higher. But I respect the argument for Bryant so I didn’t list it. Just like Oscar Robertson, Hakeem, and Moses who I also have over Kobe all-time

  • everynowhere

    Haha yes I realized that.

  • Flight

    NBK, are you ignorant or just bias? Can you read? Magic said himself that Kobe is greater, I think he would know. Longevity is to be celebrated, it speaks of determination and work ethic. Kobe is going for his eighth finals appearance…let’s count…1…2…3…4…5…6….7….8

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Magic also said LeBron would never win a title. The guy is a bad analyst and doesn’t think before he speaks. .
    Oh and speaking if finals appearances, Magic went to 9…….in 12 years dummy, not 8 in 17. Good try tho
    Sent from right behind you.

  • Caboose

    No no, you misunderstand. I agree, those selections are worthless. But purely ON PAPER, Kobe has done more IN A LAKERS JERSEY than anyone else. On the all time list, he’s the 4th (maybe 5th) best guy to ever play for LA.

  • flight

    Magic made the comment is gest after Lebrons 9th straight post season failure. He may or may not be a bad analyst but I would take a personal opinion of his own career who is humble enough to admit the truth then someone who surfs basketball-reference.com. If you want to play that game let’s take a look at Wade sub par season compared to and Kobes mvp record season after you were dumb to several time state Wade was better. Sticking to your guns hot shot? Yes we don’t have a short memory. Think before you post, this is the internet and you look stupid to a lot of people. Show respect where it is due.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You should see if Kobe’s ever started a season like this before….check last year, maybe that’ll help. .
    Same goes for Wade.
    .
    But as I already told Lakeshow, and am now wasting my time tellin you, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kobe does keep this up now that he’s playing for D’Antoni, and will gladly admit if Kobe has a better season. I don’t care if my predictions turn out wrong. Lol, and there is no disrespect in disagreeing with someone. All that hot air in your chest going to your brain when you type these comments? “Think before you post” – hello pot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    I will not comment on this one, sorry.

  • Bored

    perfectly said.

  • jgf

    Kobe probably has every right to claim this. Logically- Rationally, that is- statistically- he has every factor in his favour.

    BUT

    Magic , is , was will always be- Magic. no other laker capture the hearts and imaginations of fans worldwide like Magic. Kobe is big- but was never the most popular or loved guy, never the most charismatic or even innovative or particularly original. he was just the best.

    So in my head – it s kobe- but in laker hearts- it will always be magic.

    put another way- kobe supporters will always point to numbers, but magic supporters will and can always point to moments. and to me- moments , memories are what stick

  • asd

    in other words- can anyone point to a signature playoff moment where kobe really just really took over the league- and the imagination of the world and said this is my moment- this is my game?? not really for me- not really a magic skyhook moment, or a magic at centre as a rookie, or a magic all star moment- or a magic versus michael showdown, none of that. he s had some big games- but his career has been more the stacking of consistently great games over the other- which is fine, but magic- well was simply magic. what more can you say ? you cant define it- you cant explain it- otherwise it wouldnt be magic. itd be science. thats what it is . science- versus magic. kobe makes you shows you whats possible- the limits of it. but magic shows you the impossible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    I will not comment on this, sorry

  • danpowers

    lol

  • GEE

    MAKE YOUR COMMENTS WHEN ITS ALL SAID AND DONE. KOBE HAS 3 YEARS LEFT IN HIS TANK.

  • The Seed

    Kobe is the greatest Laker, Magic said it, West said it, The Seed said it and the poll on First Take said it. BOOK IT!!

  • manu

    who cares….kobes still top 10 all time

    jordan, wilt, russell, kareem, magic, bird, oscar / hakeem, shaq, duncan, kobe

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000300292425 Denine Romero Garbiso

    Greatest Lakers

    1) Earvin
    2) The Captain
    3) Kobe

    You give Magic 4 average players, Kobe 4 average players, have them play & Magic has the better “team”. It was just in his nature.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evan.boland Evan Boland

    I completely disagree with Duncan and Shaq. The three are so close. But to me it’s a tossup between Kobe and Shaq. And I honestly have a hard time with Wilt and Russell. Not because I don’t think they’re deserving of being placed in the Top 5 but I really just don’t have any knowledge or first hand experience watching them. I know the winning for Russell and the stats for Wilt, but I fully believe they could very well be much better than Kobe, but I really just don’t know. And no Bird? From what I’ve seen, he was a better leader, effected the game in more area’s, and could really elevate his team to a higher level than Kobe.

  • Big hass

    Time spent is a factor. Look at Bo Jackson. Best athlete ever and he is not in the hall of fame for NFL or MLB because his career was ended after like 5 years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Starkindustries24 Josh Sykes

    Amen

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