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Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at 2:00 pm  |  176 responses

Top 50: Kobe Bryant, no. 2

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

When Ryne built this Top 50 list and assigned writers, Ryne, Lang and I—relatively absent in this top 50 while our great cast of part-timers and freelancers held us down—decided it would be cool if we wrote the Kobe and LeBron entries. But Lang had to go out of town this week and we suddenly needed a Kobe writer. Obviously plenty of the SLAMonline regulars can write about Kobe, but I know that because they’ve all done it. So I decided to offer this slot to a non-professional writer. A friend of mine, a L.A. native, a former high school standout and DI player who happens to be the most loyal Kobe fan I know. Jason Rowley. And while I disagree with his view of Kobe as No. 1, as you can see in my LeBron write up, I think my man JR did a nice job with this piece. If you want more from Jason, follow him on Twitter @MixedProjects and leave some nice comments. Maybe he’ll be back…—Ben Osborne

by Jason Rowley

I am often amused when I hear people refer to LeBron James as The King. Of what? Cleveland? Have you ever heard of a King with no bling? He’s got no crown, and he moved to try and get a ring in someone else’s (Dwyane Wade’s) town. In my opinion, Kobe Bryant is way mKobe Bryantore deserving of the “King” moniker than LeBron.

There is no perfect way to define the best player in a team sport. For better or worse, in choosing the best player, we often look for the individual who combines top-level skill, has the best stats, and leads his team to the most championships.

You might recall that when Kobe Bryant was 25 he, too, was a free agent. Unlike the big names in the Class of 2010, he already had three (championship) rings. Perhaps he considered moving to the Clippers, but never a new town. When you’re the best player, they come to you.

The coaches go to you, too. Just like Coach K did in the final minutes for the final shots in the fourth quarter of the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal game against Spain. Players and fans know that if Kobe Bryant is on your team, especially when the game is on the line, the play gets drawn up for him. Why? Because he is the best player.

By the time he was 27, in 2005, Kobe had the best offensive skill set of any guard in the history of the League. I’d say it happened sometime before he dropped 81 on the Raptors, perhaps when he gave the Mavs 62 — in three quarters. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Kobe had 62 and the Mavericks (team) had 61. This was when the Lakers boasted such “talents” as Smush Parker, Devean George, Kwame Brown, Brian Cook and Chris Mihm, when a common but unfair knock on Kobe was that he didn’t make his teammates better. Do you know where those guys are now (without Kobe)? He has made the Double Nickel and 63 in the Boston Garden almost insignificant.

Now, just recently turned 32, Kobe has five rings. He has become a great teammate. He uses every competitive advantage possible, including speaking to his teammates in Spanish (Pau) and in Italian (Sasha) during games. Since that Gold Medal Game, he has won two consecutive NBA Championships (with a broken finger on his shooting hand and a bum knee, no less) and two NBA Finals MVPs. He is the best player on the best team in the League. That is beyond comparison.

Some argue that he is getting old, but at the same age Jordan had only three rings. And I’m pretty sure Kobe isn’t taking a break to play baseball anytime soon. Because he’s so fundamentally sound, and constantly adding new aspects to his game, Kobe has been able to dominate and will continue to do so, even as his spring and athleticism begins to wane. Five consecutive years on the First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defensive Team doesn’t scream geriatric to me.

This is all stuff you probably already know, but would rather not admit. Just like years ago, back when people laughably tried to tell me that guys like T-Mac, Iverson and Vince were as good or better than Kobe, before people were willing to break the groupthink and admit that his talents deserved to be compared only to Jordan’s. When Kobe wins his sixth championship and passes MJ on the all-time scoring list (likely less than four years from now), it’ll be easier to admit.

When I hear or see someone say that a player other than Kobe Bryant is the best in the League, I want to ask, what else does Kobe have to do? I think the reason people (detractors) say that has to do with a dislike of his attitude and personality, particularly when he was younger, and the misconception that he was the problem that led Shaq out of town. But keep in mind, this criticism came way before we had the time and perspective to watch Kobe mature and see how Shaq leaves every team — and no one ever wants him back.

While Kobe meets all of the objective measures, he is also a player who exceeds expectations everyday — not once in awhile, but hour after hour, day after day, and in the midst of high expectations. Kobe wants it more than anyone else and constantly proves people wrong.

Think about how and when you first saw or heard about Kobe, before you started hating. He might have been taking Brandy, an R&B Star at the time, to the prom. Flexing in the dunk contest. Shooting air balls against the Jazz in the Playoffs. Getting sucker punched by a grown man (32-year-old Chris Childs) when he was 21. On trial in Eagle County.

Kobe’s is the story of a 6-6 guard who never got cut from his high school team. Instead, he broke Wilt Chamberlain’s state high school scoring record by scoring a total of 2,883 points. He outplayed all of his contemporaries and has amassed more rings than any of the other top players of his generation. He is already considered by many to be the greatest Laker ever. His motivation, clearly, has always been to achieve and surpass what anyone thought was expected.

“To be the best, you have to win… and that’s what drives me.” — Kobe Bryant

Recently, Kobe was asked who would win in a game of one-on-one between him and LeBron. In case you missed it, here was his response: “I’d win.”

Seems like LeBron agrees with me. You might have heard his response to a similar question as heard in a soundbite on Weezy’s song, “Kobe Bryant”:

“I’ve been quoted as saying Kobe is definitely the best player in our league…to me, in my eyes, the best scorer in our league, there’s not another guy in the League that can accomplish what he is doing…”

My point is that if you measure the best player by who would win in one-on-one, who wins the most games or titles, who scores the most, what he has already accomplished, proving haters and doubters wrong, by what the best coaches and players show and say, or exceeding expectations, it is clear that Kobe Bryant is the best basketball player in the world. And it’s not even that close. (KD is on deck.)

Now, if you think the best player is simply the most dominant athlete — the guy who is the biggest, strongest and fastest — with the most future potential, then the best player in the League would be someone else: Dwight Howard.

Kobe’s unique drive and determination have taken him further than most people anticipated. Go ahead and compare him to, or rank him beneath someone else. Watch all the other All-Stars assembling like Voltron, come through to the Staples Center, see the guy who never left, and maybe kiss the real king’s rings.

To be the best player, you have to beat the best, and I think Kobe will be king for a while — no one has the combination of attributes to knock him off his throne anytime soon.

SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERS OVERALL RANK POSITION RANK
Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 10 9
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 9 8
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 8 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 7 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 7 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 6 7
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 6 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13
Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 26 26 5 6
Al Jefferson Jazz PF 25 23 7 7
Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 24 NR 8 NR
Chauncey Billups Nuggets PG 23 19 7 5
Tyreke Evans Kings PG 22 NR 6 NR
Danny Granger Pacers SF 21 21 5 5
Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 20 32 6 9
Paul Pierce Celtics SF 19 17 4 4
Joe Johnson Hawks SG 18 20 4 4
Rajon Rondo Celtics PG 17 27 5 8
Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 16 16 5 6
Steve Nash Suns PG 15 22 4 6
Tim Duncan Spurs PF 14 6 4 1
Chris Bosh Heat PF 13 13 3 4
Derrick Rose Bulls PG 12 18 3 4
Brandon Roy Blazers SG 11 10 3 3
Pau Gasol Lakers PF 10 14 2 5
Dirk Nowiztki Mavs PF 9 9 1 2
Deron Williams Jazz PG 8 11 2 2
Chris Paul Hornets PG 7 4 1 1
Carmelo Anthony Nuggets SF 6 7 3 2
Dwight Howard Magic C 5 5 1 1
Dwyane Wade Heat SG 4 3 2 2
Kevin Durant Thunder SF 3 8 2 3
Kobe Bryant Lakers SG 2 2 1 1
LeBron James Heat SF 1 1 1 1

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Brar

    Kobe > Lebron

  • The D Train

    Good for Kobe. So far he’s won the important stuff, so Kobe fans don’t need to get too upset about this. Everyone of us is aware that rings are more important than Slam power polls, right?

  • http://www.slamonline.com negetivereep

    Nice job Jason.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Full disclosure, if one more ballot was submitted that ranked Bron 3 and Kobe 1, Mamba would have landed as No. 1 on the Top 50 this year.

  • Mogias

    It’s painfully obvious this was done by a non-professional writer. Not entirely convinced it was a good decision.

  • http://www.slamonline.com negetivereep

    D Train: No doubt, i think for both Kobe & LBJ fans alike, this year “rankings” mean next to nothing. With a lockout looming and with soo much on the line for both these guys.

  • http://www.slamonline.com negetivereep

    Word Ryne?

  • tony knorr

    I was with this up until u said his skill set is better than MJ… just leave Mike’s name out of it, he’s untouchable

  • Favio

    Good Point D train

  • http://Yahoo.com Eboyhater

    This is the difference between lebron and kobe
    Kobe is the best BASKETBALL player
    Lebron is the best ATHLETE playing basketball
    See the difference lobes a better basketball player but lectins a better athlete!!!

  • spit hot fiyah

    Rankings are based solely on projected ‘10-11 performance. I’m not going to go in to the debate, but please remember the criteria. The rings or anything that happened in the past has no impact on the ranking based on the stated criteria.
    So anyone that argues for Kobe don’t bring in the campionships to discuss this ranking, if u r discussing who is the best overall then it’s a different story.

  • crnac

    The author is in love with Kobe, that’s obvious, and it is somewhat anticipated because of Ben’s intro, but the amount of hate for LeBron is absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary. You can praise your favorite player without hating on any other player, you know?

  • JTaylor21

    Kobe does NOT have the best offensive skillset of any SG in history, that player is MJ. How can Kobe be better than someone that’s bigger, stronger, faster, jumps higher, shoots better, finishes around the basket better, dribbles better, and closes better. MJ’s offensive skill-set > Kobe’s.

  • http://www.slamonline.com negetivereep

    Ryne:Does that make it the closest contest in the Slam top 50 ever?

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    I mean, I’m not sure what else Kobe has to do. He’s been #2 in the Top 50 the last 2 years. Oh well, nice write-up Jason. Kobe is “The King” all day… Gone.

  • The D Train

    @Ryne’s 2:11 comment: either way, you guys could not have gone wrong.

  • http://Yahoo.com Eboyhater

    I meant Kobe and Lebron at the end.
    Lakers three peat season is about to start!!!!

    p.s. I wish we still had smush parker

  • IHaveADream

    Who cares about who’s number one and two? Kobe most likely doesn’t even care. Kobe had that best player title for a good 5 or 6 seasons. He’s moved on. He’s comfortable. He’ll collect one or two more rings and ride off into the sunset never to be touched by another player ever again most likely. Can’t wait to read the LeBron lovers and Kobe haters on this post and LeBron’s post.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @negetivereep Closest Top 50 by a landslide. After compiling 25 ballots, the difference between Kobe and LeBron was almost negligible.

  • http://Yahoo.com Eboyhater

    Sorry I meant Kobe and Lebron at the end.
    Lakers three peat season is about to start whoa!!!

    p.s. I wished the lakers still had smush parker.

  • WatermelonKush

    @JTaylor, are you stupid?!

  • meloman2.0

    “I was with this up until u said his skill set is better than MJ… just leave Mike’s name out of it, he’s untouchable”
    I posted that, so why did it give credit to tony

  • Hammer

    “King of what? F****n mustaches?”-Eastbound & Down

  • Jetballer

    I agree that Kobe has the best offensive skill set in the game, even more advanced than MJ’s. Kobe has every move possible. MJ has the edge atheltically; but if u watch his games in the 90s, his skill set was a bit simpler. I think Phil Jackson said it a few years ago that he agrees Kobe is more skilled than MJ, but MJ is stronger and has bigger hands.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    And to echo Ryne’s point — and in the interest of full disclosure — I take full responsibility for Kobe ending up #2. Because of a slight oversight, I do believe that my ballot was the last one in and I ranked Kobe #1, LeBron #2, and DWade #3. No way could I have put DWade or Kevin Durant above LeBron no matter how much I don’t care for him. That would not only make me a hater, but a complete moron. And so it is, LeBron #1 and Kobe #2 in the closest SLAMonline Top 50 list in history. It was fun…

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    Well written. Glad to have stopped by and read it.

  • JTaylor21

    PJax wiil say anything that comes out of his a** either to gas up his current players or to motivate them. Nobody in their right mind really believes that Kobe has a better offensive skill-set than MJ. You watch Kobe today at age 32 and all he does is jack up shots from the perimeter, he doesn’t drive anymore like he used to because of his declining atheltic ability whereas MJ at 35yrs old even though he became more of a post-up player was still attacking the basket with the same ferocity as 28yr old MJ.

  • jay cutler

    3… 2… 1.. Let’s all call the author a “hater” for not sufficiently worshiping Kobe Bryant as the GOAT and the [insert superlative] basketball player in the history of the universe. Oh, and Lebronze James isn’t 1/3 the player that Mamba is.

    There. I’ve said everything that Kobe fans wanted to say (minus the slurping sounds). Carry on y’all.

  • donnell

    “By the time he was 27, in 2005, Kobe had the best offensive skill set of any guard in the history of the League. I’d say it happened sometime before he dropped 81 on the Raptors, perhaps when he gave the Mavs 62 — in three quarters.”

    Wipe your mouth when you’re done bro.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Sometimes, JTaylor21 says things for effect that aren’t actually true. Like, “MJ at 35yrs old even though he became more of a post-up player was still attacking the basket with the same ferocity as 28yr old MJ.” Uhm, no. He wasn’t.

  • http://www.slamonline.com negetivereep

    @ Ryne: Damn thats awesome. True to life, Thanks man, you guys did an awesome job again.

  • JTaylor21

    BCrawford, um yes he was. I’m talking about him being able to finish around the basket. How many times was an older MJ blocked around the rim? Just plain and simple 35yr old MJ is a better finsiher than even a 29yr old Kobe.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @JT21: This from the same person who was ADAMANT that John Stockton rebounded more than John Stockton and was DEAD WRONG. So that said, I’m not even going there with you today, dude. You’re right, I’m wrong. So be it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    When you’re the best player, people come to you. Easy to say when you live in L.A. He live in friggin Ohio, Bosh/Wade made it flat out clear they’d move to Zimbabwe over that rust-belt city. And to bring up that stuff about him having 3 rings at 25? I bet if LeBron had Shaq as a team-mate, they’d beat those Pistons with Malone/Payton. I’m not saying who’s better but clearly to bring these 2 things up as a factor is downright bull. Kobe is the spoilt Cali kid who’s got a big brother to back him in his early years and some great coaches. All he had to do was work hard and score buckets and consider passing. LeBron had Darius Miles and Jeff McInnis. LeBron had Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden as core players. LeBron lives in a place I never really knew exsisted until he arrived on the scene. Please don’t ever bring up ‘free agents coming to you’ or ‘Kobe had more rings at 25′, it’s total bullshit.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    When you’re the best player, people come to you. Easy to say when you live in L.A. He live in friggin Ohio, Bosh/Wade made it flat out clear they’d move to Zimbabwe over that rust-belt city. And to bring up that stuff about him having 3 rings at 25? I bet if LeBron had Shaq as a team-mate, they’d beat those Pistons with Malone/Payton. I’m not saying who’s better but clearly to bring these 2 things up as a factor is downright bull. Kobe is the spoilt Cali kid who’s got a big brother to back him in his early years and some great coaches. All he had to do was work hard and score buckets and consider passing. LeBron had Darius Miles and Jeff McInnis. LeBron had Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden as core players. LeBron lives in a place I never really knew exsisted until he arrived on the scene. Please don’t ever bring up ‘free agents coming to you’ or ‘Kobe had more rings at 25′, it’s total bull.

  • JTaylor21

    @BCrawford, I’m not in the mode to agrue with you but are you saying that 35yr old MJ struggled finsihing around the rim the same way Kobe does? See I respect your arguments even though I may not agree with them all but it seems like you can’t do the same.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    ^My bad… I meant Steve Nash.

  • http://slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Kobe<<<Lebron

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @JT21: I’m saying that if you see Kobe struggling around the rim now and that MJ was better at finishing around the rim at 35, then you’re right. Of course at 35, MJ wasn’t even playing. But that’s a different story.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Dammit, check that again… I meant past 35 MJ wasn’t even playing. In either case, the ONLY thing that MJ did was post up and shoot fadeaways by that time. He was not an attack the basket kind of player anymore. Sure he would hit guys withe occasional up and under, but he was closer to the basket and had long stopped working from the perimeter.

  • The Philosopher

    Kobe’ll be fine.

  • Cheers

    Kobe has already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players to ever played the game, he only adding more to to his already impressive resume, and by the end of June, he will collect his six championships. It will be sad when the day kobe retires, because he truly is a once in an era player. No players have wowed me as much as kobe has, not only because of his plays, but his work ethics and determinations impress me more than anything.

  • JTaylor21

    Sorry, I was off by 1 measly year. Even if MJ stayed and played the next season he would still be a better finsiher than Kobe.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @JT21: I’m well aware of the fact that you missed most, if not all of MJ’s career which means you didn’t see his progession from perimeter threat to low-post threat, but please, stop making stuff up to make a point. Kobe is still a perimeter oriented player that shoots more jumpers than he does attacking the basket and when he does attack, he’s looking for contact and trying to draw fouls which in my opinion is smart. He doesn’t always get the whistle, but that’s smart basketball to play it that way. So if you think he’s finishing poorly, that’s fine. But on those plays where he doesn’t “finish” which is what you seem to be knocking him for, most times, he’s going to the line and shooting 2. That’s called basketball IQ.

  • JTaylor21

    @BCrawford I know that MJ became more of a post up player like I STATED before but when he did drive, he had an easier time finishing than Kobe does today. Also I’m NOT knocking Kobe, I’m just saying that an older MJ finsihed better than a younger Kobe.

  • lalala

    This is some nonsense… Kobe is no1. 5 championships, most dominant player in the league, a winner who stays with his team. NO1!!!!!!

    F this ranking man

  • IHaveADream

    It should be pretty well known that Jtaylor simply doesn’t like Kobe and is in love with LeBron. So anything he says about Kobe should be read in that context. This is the same guy who denies that MJ is perhaps the greatest player of all time, yet he will talk favorably about MJ when the opportunity to use him against Kobe presents itself.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    SUPER BIAS PIECE, at least TRY to be a little objective, damn. heres where kobe lovers go crazy: they act like he won all 5 as the main guy, theyll diss shaq for all kinds of reasons, some deserving. kobe has one mvp, two finals mvps, and a bunch of all defense awards he really does not deserve. stupid writers, how do you put kobe over wade for defense? total crap. kobe is a very great player, one of top 10 guards ever. but damn, have some perspective kobe fans. some moron the other day even said kobes had 15 years of dominance. really? more like 2. im not a hater, but i hate when reality gets distorted. kobe is one of 3 best players of his era. whats funny is timmy has what shaq and kobe want: main piece on four title teams, 3 finals mvps, should be four. a couple mvps.

  • madis

    Gasol shoul’ve definitely been mentioned. or any other teammates from the last two championship seasons.

  • IHaveADream

    @Tarzan
    Being the main guy is irrelevant at this point. It should be noted when discussing Shaq and Kobe that Shaq could NOT have won without Kobe either. What “Kobe lovers” point out is that he was not a role player on those teams. He was 1A to Shaq’s 1. Also, you are no one to say whether Kobe deserved the All Defensive team awards that he has received. And Kobe’s had 5-6 years of dominance, not 2. Dominance is defined by not being able to be contained or stopped…Kobe still has that unless he shows something different this season.

  • 7 Mile Style

    I pose a few questions about this debate between Kobe and LeBron…could Kobe have led that 06-07 Cavs team to the Finals…Could he have won 66 games with that team from last year? not even close

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Co-sign IHaveADream… Which is why I’m leaving it alone.

  • The Philosopher

    Dream:
    Kobe was a role player on those Laker teams.
    His role was just bigger than the average role player’s role.
    Shaq was the mechanism that kept that machine oiled.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    kobe was very important to those shaq teams, but he was clearly no2 to shaqs 1. if you cant see that, then youre just dumb. im not saying he was a role player like lou amundson, kobe was/is great, just not as important as shaq on those teams. …. im no one to say whether kobe deserved those defensive awards? and who the fukk are you? check kobes defense numbers and compare them to wades, then slap yourself. just like jsmoove should have been on over bron. how does second dpoy not make first team? defense teams have been mostly politics for a while now.

  • lalala

    one of the 10 guards ever??? you kidding me mf.
    kobe is the 2nd best player to over play this game. F this no2 ranking

  • lalala

    screw this… screw slam for this ranking man. NONSENSE. Kobe is the 2nd best player to ever play this game, and has been the no1 guy in the nba for many years. Kobe no1. This ranking is insane

  • The Philosopher

    Tarzan, be nice.

  • Sigurdur Einar Iceland

    1. KOBE he is the best basketball player.

    One more thing. some have been talking about Kobe was just Robin in the 3peat.
    I can take that in the 2000 season(remember game 4 in the finals and game 7 in 2000 west finals).

  • Sigurdur Einar Iceland

    But in the 2001 playoffs KOBE was MVP(okey Shaq was great in the finals but kobe was the man against Spurs).
    And in 2000/1 and 2001/2 it was Kobe and Shaq team

  • JTaylor21

    When one player is put up 35/15/60% and the other puts up 22/5/5/41%, there’s a MAIN guy and a role player. Shaq was the BIG kahuna while Kobe was a salmon, important but not as VITAL to the team’s success.

  • IHaveADream

    @The Philosopher
    By that description, Shaq was also a role player. Each player on every team has a role. Shaq and Kobe had dominant roles while the other guys had background roles.
    @Tarzan
    1-1A and 1-2 are basically the same thing. The way you type, it seems evident that if there’s a dumb one here, it’s you. But I will not resort to personal attacks when I can keep it 100% basketball with you. That clearly shows a lack of substance on your part on this topic. Politics are in most things regarding the NBA. The MVP voting mainly, All Defensive Teams, All NBA teams, All-Star appearances. That’s a given. And defense isn’t just about numbers.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    ’99-00 Shaq: 29.7ppg/Kobe: 22.5ppg
    ’00-01 Shaq: 28.7ppg/Kobe: 28.5ppg
    ’01-02 Shaq: 27.2ppg/Kobe: 25.2ppg

    These are the regular season numbers during the Lakers 3-peat. Here are the playoff stats from those same years.

    ’99-00 Shaq: 30.7ppg/Kobe: 21.1ppg
    ’00-01 Shaq: 30.4ppg/Kobe: 29.4ppg
    ’01-02 Shaq: 28.6ppg/Kobe: 26.6ppg

    So to say that Kobe was not “as important as Shaq on those teams,” is woefully incorrect and shamefully inaccurate. The triangle may have run through Shaq, but to sit there and act like Kobe was just collecting scraps and was a virtual non-factor in the offense is just patently false, quite absurd, and makes anybody who either says or co-signs on such ridiculous statement completely misinformed and “distorting reality.”

  • IHaveADream

    @The Philosopher
    Every player is a role player…each player has different roles. So by that definition, Shaq was also a role player. He and Kobe had dominant roles. That’s an undisputable fact.
    @Tarzan
    I would prefer to keep it 100% basketball with you, so you can call me dumb if you choose to. That proves that you lack substance on the topic. But you can keep the personal attacks coming if you like. Politics are a part of a lot of things in the NBA…MVP voting, All-Star votes, All-Defensive Teams, All-NBA teams, etc. And numbers don’t mean everything with defense.

  • IHaveADream

    @ Bryan
    Thank you, sir. I just looked at those same numbers the other day.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    And here we have more false statements from JTaylor21 in an effort to 1. Make a point and 2. Discredit Kobe. This game is so old…

  • Sparty’s Law

    Absolutely the best and most convincing write-up in the top 50. I don’t really like either Kobe or LeBron, but Kobe is definitely the best basketball player in the world. As Jason said in his piece, it’s not even that close.

  • AZ

    @ Bryan and that waas in a loaded west…not a watered down east

  • AZ

    @ Bryan and that was in a loaded west…not a watered down east. Playing against mostly all top teams through the year

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    It’s kind of stupid when you have the internet at your fingertips with so much information that can be used as a reference point and people still like to guess and make inaccurate statements while not using the information that is readily available to educate themselves and more importantly, FACT CHECK before they speak.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Now watch, even in the face such of obvious evidence, there will be a select few who will refuse to accept it, disregard it, and take the conversation in a different direction to try and support their argument when in actuality, they don’t have one. At least not one that’s “legit” when it comes to the importance of Kobe Bryant on those championship teams.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    “to sit there and act like Kobe was just collecting scraps and was a virtual non-factor in the offense”………… who said that? all i said was kobe wasnt as important as shaq. its by a small margin, but its there. to act like its not is absurd.

    …………..

    …..
    “you are no one to say whether Kobe deserved the All Defensive team awards that he has received.” ………….. wasnt trying to get personal. just asking who are you to say i am no one?

  • BigJump

    Why can’t some people just learn to accept that their former basketball gods have been taken by some of todays finest stars? JT21 you have got to be the most BIASED person ever. To say that MJ has the best skill set is accepted worldwide, but the best OFFENSIVE skill set is just plain hogwash to nearly every NBA fanatic that watched the past and today.
    Long debate shortened: MJ is the greatest in terms of overall skill and prowess while Kobe is at the top of offensive options and efficiency

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    back to all nba defense, how does second place in dpoy voting not make first team?? gerald wallace HAD to be on there. smoove should have had brons spot. bron only avg 1.0 blocks. and josh def played better defense than bron all season. same with wade over kobe. bean deserved his defense team awards earlier in the decade, but the last few years, theyve been gifted to him. wade is setting defensive records for short guards, and kobe is letting ron do the dirty work, yet somehow, kobe still gets first team?

  • thegfunk

    Isn’t it stating the obvious to say Kobe plays and has played on championship caliber teams with all stars? because those teams did win championships like any other championship caliber team. Kobe has caused so many upsets and shot so many cold blooded daggers at crunch time. It’s fantastic he’s a killer!

  • IHaveADream

    It’s completely driven by people who just don’t like Kobe personally. It has to be. Because basketball wise, the man is legit. You cannot deny that if you have watched him over his career. The symbol of hard work. How else could a skinny 17 year old kid go from playing behind Eddie Jones to being considered one of the top 10 players of all time by some? That’s something to admire. Yet, we get people who disregard the hard work and discount his accomplishments. They don’t hand out Championships for popularity. I don’t dislike LeBron. I’m actually a fan of his (not a whole lot of respect for him off the court, but I don’t need to because he’s not someone I come in contact with every day). But I cannot remember ever hearing Kobe Bryant say that he wants to be a billionaire basketball player…there is a difference between mindsets with these guys. LeBron is a great player, but I don’t know if I would put him in the Magic Johnson conversation let alone the MJ-Kobe conversation. His athleticism is unequal, but his basketball skill…just pure basketball skill will need a lot of work if he’s supposed to be a top 10 player when he’s done. At some point, there will be faster players. What is he going to do when he can no longer get up in the air like he currently can? He will need some post moves. He will need a better jumpshot. If he does not develop those two things, then he will bow out when his legs start to go. Kobe’s hops left a few seasons ago, yet he is still a top 3 player in the League and skill wise, he’s still number one. Let’s see what LeBron develops into when he turns 30.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    ^^^i agree we shouldnt hand lebron what he hasnt yet earned…. but there is no MJ-KOBE conversation

  • JTaylor21

    BCrawford, you’re right but when did I ever say that kobe was just a role player and collected scraps. Looks like you’re the one that needs to FACT CHECK people’s comments before attacking them. Of course Kobe was a BIG factor but to attack like he was the MAIN reason for the Laker chips is downright foolish. Just look at Kobe and Shaq’s finals numbers to see who’s really the BIG Kahuna. Also when a player only improves his regular season scoring average from 24.8 to playoff averages of 25ppg, is he really “STEPPING UP” his game like people claim as the pressure increases?

  • Black Mamba

    Couldn’t agree more. LONG LIVE THE MAMBA, the so-called “self-proclaimed king” (props Dan Gilbert) is nothing compared to this killer and I’d LOVE to see a one on one game to shut everyone up.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negative kreep

    Kobe>Duncan.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    I didn’t say that you said that he was a role player collecting scraps. That was just a general statement, but I don’t need to “Fact Check” when what you said was obviously incorrect. Your 4:25 statement was this: “When one player is put up 35/15/60% and the other puts up 22/5/5/41%, there’s a MAIN guy and a role player. Shaq was the BIG kahuna while Kobe was a salmon, important but not as VITAL to the team’s success.” Unless somebody typed on your keyboard and pressed “Submit Comment” while your head was turned, you said that, and based on the stats, you were wrong.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @Tarzan: Your comment is about what I expected from you. But you keep holding on to your “theory.” Some people just really have a hard time admitting being wrong, that much is not a theory.

  • Bruno

    the first paragraph of Jason said it all … case closed

  • IHaveADream

    @Jtaylor
    You conveniently ignored the stats that Bryan put up a few posts ago…but I understand why.
    @Tarzan
    The MJ-Kobe conversation as in LeBron-MJ and LeBron-Kobe. LeBron will NOT be and should not be compared to either one because his mindset is not of a lethal nature and he is not capable, as of yet, of putting teams away single handedly. That game against the Pistons a few seasons ago was great, duly noted. But let’s be honest, he just caught fire that night. Those are shots that he probably couldn’t hit again if he had to on a consistent basis. When it’s time to win, everyone in the arena knew that MJ was getting the ball and they feared that he would win the game. Same with Kobe now. But with LeBron, that fear isn’t there. The only thing with him is don’t let him get to the basket. If he makes a shot, even he is surprised…it’s expected from Kobe and it was expected from Michael.

  • IHaveADream

    @Jtaylor
    You conveniently ignored the stats that Bryan put up a few posts ago…but I understand why.
    @Tarzan
    The MJ-Kobe conversation as in LeBron-MJ and LeBron-Kobe. LeBron will NOT be and should not be compared to either one because his mindset is not of a lethal nature and he is not capable, as of yet, of putting teams away single handedly. That game against the Pistons a few seasons ago was great, duly noted. But let’s be honest, he just caught fire that night. Those are shots that he probably couldn’t hit again if he had to on a consistent basis. When it’s time to win, everyone in the arena knew that MJ was getting the ball and they feared that he would win the game. Same with Kobe now. But with LeBron, that fear isn’t there. D-Wade has garnered more of that kind of attention than LeBron. The only thing with him is don’t let him get to the basket. If he makes a shot, even he is surprised…it’s expected from Kobe and it was expected from Michael.

  • JTaylor21

    BCrawford, I was talking about the finals, I don’t know the exact one but Shaq put up 35/15 compared to Kobe’s 22/5/5, it might have been vs the Pacers but I’m not 100% certain. Anyways I will give Kobe his props for being a BIG factor especially during the Western conf. playoffs but when the Finals rolled around Shaq was the BIGGEST factor. Shaq dominated the Finals while Kobe was great during their western conference playoff runs. Now which one would you rather have a player that dominates the conference playoffs or one that domiantes the finals?

  • mAMba

    ^+1

  • mAMba

    that was to ihaveadream

  • TR

    GREAT writeup. Was never the biggest Kobe fan, but the dude is ice cold from preseason to championship parade

  • namik

    Thanks for not letting Ryan Jones f*ck this up for the third (?) year in a row.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negative kreep

    Jtaylor: The Pacers were “good” but Do you really think they were better than the TrailBlazers? Matter fact were any teams the Shaq/Kobe Lakers beat in the finals better than the Spurs or Kings?….In those days the WCF was the REAL finals. So yeah coming up big and clutch in the WCF was bigger.

  • Blackphantom

    “To be the best, you gotta beat the best.”
    That’s all the proof I need to really prove how Kobe’s better than Lebron. Lebron left a good team, don’t deny it. Kobe literally had a s*** sandwich of a squad (Kwame Brown was a starter on that team for goodness sake) and he stayed, sure he demanded a trade, but that was to actually get someone really good to play with(Who wouldn’t demand that trade if it meant swapping Kwame for an All-Star in Pau?)

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @JT21: 1. Then you need to be more specific. Don’t wait until you get called out to correct yourself because your initial statement was very blanket. 2. I’d rather have a player that goes hard in all 4 rounds of the playoffs and not just 1. As Negative kreep pointed out, by the time LA got to the Finals, it was easy. IND, PHI, NJ… nuff ‘sed. Yeah Shaq put up ridiculous Finals numbers, but Kobe carried the team through the first 3 rounds AND did his thing in the Finals. Especially the last 2 years given how close their Playoff averages were. Here are Shaq’s averages in the Finals in the order of the championships: 38ppg, 33ppg, 36ppg. Yes, that’s dominant. But how come there isn’t much difference between Kobe and Shaq’s averages in years 2 and 3 (ESPECIALLY in year 2)? If Shaq was able to dominate in the Western Conference Playoffs like he did in the NBA Finals, the number wouldn’t even be close. You have to win 4 rounds to get a title. Not just 1.

  • PlanetAsia14

    The REAL king.

  • a_whiteman

    3 complaints about this article…1. Mj>>>kobe…2. Kobe when its all said and dobe will have played 18-20 seasons so I would hope someone who shoots that much and plays that long will score more than a man who played 15 yrs, 2 of which were as a 40yr old…and 3. Made the double nickel and 63 insignificant???? Has this guy lost his mind. The man was out of the game for a season and a half, and within a couple games drops 55 on a very tough knicks d like he nevef left! And don’t get me started on the 63 IN THE PLAYOFFS, on arguably the greatest defensive team ever, in a buildinv they lost 1 TIME all year, a couple weeks after coming back from a BROKEN FOOT, with a poor outside j and DAVE FREAKIN CORZINE in the middle? Come on man dallas d is not even close to EITHER of those teams and the raptors D was not even close to that dallas teams d. Other then that I like the write up.

  • Blackphantom

    @a_whiteman minus Larry Bird they were one the best defenses of all-time. Don’t beat around the bush, Larry Legend was not known for great defense. But I agree than MJ is better, and the double nickel performance was BEAST

  • AZ

    81>63

  • a_whiteman

    Check the numbers ppl mj shot 50% almost every season he was in the league and did so when he average 37 a game lol. Not to mention, he has the single greatest individual season ever. Averaged almost 33ppg 8 assists 8 boards MVP ASG MVP dunk contest win defensive player of the year (where’s kobes) AND lead the league in steals.

  • a_whiteman

    63 in the playoffs in boston against that years conference champs>>>>81 in the season against a team that didn’t even make the playoffs and was in the bottom 5 defensively all day

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    I take Kobe every day as number one until he proves to me that he doesn’t have it anymore.

  • http://kb24.com DreXnaW21

    Black Mamba!!!

  • http://slamonline.com marco27

    Coaches vote 4 all defensive team awards so 2 say dat kobe doesn’t deserve dem awards is ludicrous. N obviously coaches hold more information about defensive match ups. I personally believe kobe is a better onball defender den wade. Wade plays da pass n wile I cannot deny his blockin ability I jus simply believe dat kobe can keep a player in front of him way better den wade. Datz my opinion n everybody is entitled 2 dere on opinion.

  • AZ

    Kobes 81 is 81. Made 28-of-46 field goal attempts. 18-20 Ft. Jordan 63 in a double overtime loss he shot 22 of 41 field goals and 19 of 21 free throws.

    Kobe hit 62 i think against a mavs team that went to the finals that year…in 3 quarters.

  • reald1

    kobe never avged 30 points in a season shooting 50%, ever. Jordan did it 5 times and did it twice avging 49%.

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  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    dont compare kob to MJ, its stupid…bean´s right after the goat as a scoring guard though.

  • Jer Dawg

    Every generation someone has to challenge the throne. People challenged Dr. J and his amazing abilities, but now he’s only got 1 ring. Jordan challenged that. Bird and Magic challenged each other and attained heights never imagined. If only 1 conquered the 80s each player would’ve gotten like 6-7 Rings each. Isiah was busting his ass against the giants of the 80s and earned his rep. Jordan took the challenge and overcame that. Kobe is doing the same thing; taking challenges and breaking through. Until someone says otherwise, he’s still supreme. But, I’m glad he’s #2 BECAUSE ALL THIS WILL DO IS FUEL HIM COME POST SEASON. He’s gonna take SLAM’s slight and earn him a seat next to Jordan. NO he isn’t better than him, but he can at least earn his membership into Jordan’s exclusive GOAT club. Thanks SLAM! LA fans will love you! Kobe Fans will love you! Haters love you!

  • Michael Whyte

    @crnac Posted: Oct.23 at 2:19 pm
    The author is in love with Kobe, that’s obvious, and it is somewhat anticipated because of Ben’s intro, but the amount of hate for LeBron is absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary. You can praise your favorite player without hating on any other player, you know?

    Completely agree. What a bad decision by SLAM to get a hater to write up the number 2. Poor write up. Kobe deserves his due but leave the writing to the pro’s.

  • Michael Whyte

    How many times do we think this writer has beaten off over a Kobe poster? I’m going with a 3 figure sum.

  • The Philosopher

    @Bryan Crawford:
    “Turn your head and someone else pressed ‘submit’”.
    Classic.
    Now, in an attempt to clear some things up, I will say this;
    Kobe was an important “role player” in those titles with Shaq.
    It is just, when you have Shaq in the trenches, taking (and dishing) the punishment, dealing with rescuing guys who were humiliated off the dribble, rebounding, guarding guys STRAIGHT UP, etc., it is very difficult to discount.
    Now, say they lose any or all of those Finals series. Who would get the heat? Kobe?
    I beg to differ.
    Shaq is The Franchise Player.
    He will bare the blame for any and all failure within the team.
    THAT says who is “the man” on any particular championship team.

  • mopiwan

    Anyone who either looks at the numbers OR watches the actual games would be a damned liar if they could say that lebron IS the best basketball player in the world. In my opinion, has been for the last 3 years.
    All he is ever done is improve his game year to year. True, he is the best athlete but, the best athlete doesnt automatically ring up 8.6 ast a game.
    During “crunch time”, when Kobe does it best, there are a bunch of numbers that indicate otherwise. http://www.82games.com/0910/CSORT11.HTM

    There is nothing wrong with people declaring Kobe as top 5, but not 1. You dont get on that list by being a scrub. He had his time but that ended a few years ago.

  • mopiwan

    my bad, meant ISNT

  • ethan

    shouldnt even be in the top 50

  • B.Joe

    That’s ok. Kobe’s been passed over numerous times in the past. Remember when we all knew Vince was better than Kobe, when AI was considered the best in the Ass’n, when T-Mac was thought of as Kobe’s equal, when Tim Duncan was everything Kobe should be, when Shaq was miles ahead of Kobe – a place he seemingly would always be?, remember the world collectively scoffing at the Jordan comparisons 10 years ago, remember Jerry West telling reporters three years ago that James had surpassed Bryant as a player, remember when Magic said before last season Kobe had lost a step and was no longer the best?, remember the doubt, the hate, the negativity, the fued with Shaq, the trial in CO, the airballs versus Utah? You can rest assured that Kobe remembers all that. It’s tattooed in the deepest places of his soul and mind. I remember all that well. But I know this. Don’t ever bet against Kobe Bryant. Every one of his contemporaries has fallen by the wayside, everyone of those questions I posed above has seen a stronger, wiser, more mature, and better Kobe. He’s everything Lebron and KD and Carmelo and CP3 and everyone in the NBA wishes they were. A

  • IHaveADream

    @mopiwan
    LeBron’s game hasn’t really improved since last season or the season before. He’s just put on some more muscle. He needs to spend more time trying to get a consistent jumpshot and some post moves and less time in the weight room thinking that he will overpower his way to a championship. Kobe’s overall basketball skill is still head and shoulders above LeBron. Don’t need any stats from some website. Just watch the games. Who do teams fear the most? Kobe.

  • The Philosopher

    Well, there is at least two teams who will not be fearing him this year.
    There is one team who has not feared him since they beat him in The Finals not too long ago.

  • AZ

    @The Philosopher
    The team that just lost the recent finals?

  • The Philosopher

    Does not matter.
    They smelled blood.
    When you smell an opponent’s blood, there is no longer fear.

  • IHaveADream

    @The Philosopher
    The whole reason why LeBron, Wade and Bosh got together is because they feared the Lakers and they still do even if they won’t say it. The Celtics added Shaq and JO because they want to compete better with the Lakers. The Lakers, Celtics and Magic do not fear the Heat at all and are not worried a bit about the “Big 3″. Kobe could care less about the Heat lol. The only ones who are in panic mode…are the Heat which is why they put that team together. One or two D-Wade injuries away from a possible second round exit.

  • The Philosopher

    @IHaveADream:
    I like and respect your style.
    You bring up a passionate argument, but…
    Anyways, I shall retire for the night.
    Peace to all, brethren.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Thanks for reading, everyone. This has been a very fun top 50. The real thing starts Tuesday!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ A YES YES YA’LL! FINALLY!

  • Chris

    Great job, Jason. Best piece of the entire top 50

  • KB8toSG8

    Damn……to think I missed all of this….and to a select person who thinks MJ finished better at the rim than a 27 year old Kobe…..dude, get a life and stop spewing BS all around. And you don’t seem to consider the fact that MJ had BIGGER hands. He could PALM the ball like DWade now can. Having bigger hands enables you to have more control while in the air with the ball in your hands. That makes adjusting the flight of the ball and its course waaay more easier. KB wasn’t blessed with jaw dropping physical attributes or a ridiculous ability to jump out of the gym. This becomes clear once you watch DWade, MJ and KB driving into the lane side by side. To think you couldn’t notice such an important thing is……..

  • emperor rob

    so who wants chips

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    NO ONE wants to see the spurs in the playoffs

  • feez22

    kobe more advanced offensive skillset than jordan? LOL. LOL. LOL. LOL. k after i got those LOL’s out of the way lets clarify something and lets do that right now. if you have even watched jordan play you would know that kobe’s game especially his perimeter game is almost an imitation of jordan’s. the ONLY thing that kobe is better offensively at than jordan was is the 3 point shot. Thats it. Other than that… its not even close. Jordan finished at the rim much better, scored better from the midrange, had an array of offensive moves that were actually EFFICIENT… he scored more, passed more, was more athletic offensively (and defensively), was more clutch, is probably the best Post up guard of ALL TIME… seriously MJ won 8 SCORING CHAMPIONSHIPS and shot 50% in 6 of them. Kobe hasn’t shot 50% in a single damn season. see you guys get caught up in kobe’s flash. guess what? look at his fg percentage. he has shot over 46% ONCE in his 14 year career. Not to mention that jordan did most of his work in an era of handchecking. so really… how is kobe a better offensive player than jordan again? answer= he’s NOT. so stop pushing that seriously this is why i HATE kobe fans. you overrate the guy to depths he doesn’t even want to be overrated to.

  • feez22

    @IHaveADream … i think you are wrong on that. I’m sure they all got toghether bc in wades/bosh’s perspective their teams were way too inferior. In lebron’s perspective i think he was tired of seeing his teammates play really well in season and dissapear in the playoffs. I dont see how any of them could fear the lakers when they didn’t even get to face the lakers in the playoffs… I think lebron feared the rondo/pierce/allen/garnett celtics or the dwight/rashard/vince/jameer magic more than the lakers cuz those 2 teams are who eliminated him the past 3 yrs. Everyone doesn’t fear the damn lakers. western conference playoff teams do… again unlike popular belief not everyone fears the dang lakers wade/bosh/lebron in season on their respective teams combined for a 4-2 record against them last yr. its about the celtics.

  • Jay

    Didn’t Kobe have that little hissy fit and basically quit when they were playing the suns a few years ago? Kobe’s great but he’s too much of a Prima-donna. So it doesn’t matter what he does, his pr is a big pile of crap. So he’ll never be mj. I’d guess Jordan’s still selling more shoes.

  • david

    Amen.
    thanks SLAM for giving Kobe motivation on not having him in front lebron. You just woke up a sleeping dragon, it’s over. Tell Lebron no chips this year.

  • KB8toSG8

    @Jay…..who the hell cares about who’s PR is better and who sells more shoes?!?! And KB atleast quit (according to you….) in the last game when every freaking pathetic starters (Luke,Vlad,Kwame,Smush) were already stinking the joint. They were down by halftime. You can’t expect KB to outscore the run and gun Suns right?! That would be the height of insanity. What good can Kb do when his team lets in an easy basket on the D just as soon as he scores?!And some guys here are getting confused about efficiency and skill. KB is more skilled than MJ. MJ is more effective within his own skill set because he posted up more. You guys can see why I defended KB’s FG% in a few other threads.

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  • rand33p

    this is clearly a regular season award… weak slam, weak… back to back and still lightin it up.. yah prolly number one for kobe

  • EJ

    That’s the real king! Lebron is still Kobe’s little brother. And JTaylos, I don’t think MJ really shoots better than Kobe, they are about even in shooting, cause Kobe’s better from deep, MJ only had like 3 good seasons from 3. And Kobe handles the ball better. They turn the ball over at about the same rate, but Kobe’s moves are better. Also Kobe’s foot work is a bit better I think. I’m pretty sure MJ himself would agree that Kobe belongs to the top spot. Lebron is the fantasy buff’s number 1.

  • Scully

    Who would win a 1-on-1?
    Kobe: me
    lebron: him
    conclusive proof Kobe is the better player!!!!
    (lebron should be number 1 as he’s waaaayyy more diplomatic than Kobe)
    and before anyone wants to argue any of this, turn on your sarcasm detectors.
    They’re both great players. Accept this.

  • JD

    I must say Kobe has come a long way in the last few years,he was a prima donna but now he fine. However, i dont really agree with how people compare him to Jordan, sure Kobe has 5 rings, but in 14 seasons(still pretty good) whilst Jordan had 6 rings in 13 seasons including the season when he only a few games he played when he came back from baseball.Furthermore, Mikes ego wasnt such a big factor and he was the guy the whole time. He always kept the Bulls in contention whilst Kobe spent three seasons in the wilderness with his Laker team. And Mike won the tree rings coming off of a comeback from Baseball.

  • scott

    I had the chance to watch both Kobe and Jordan in their prime years. So, i will shed some light for you all. Kobe is the more superior offensive player. Why? because he has stolen all the the previous greats bread and butter moves. He has a counter for everything you throw at him. So, a guy that has master all of Jordan’s moves plus other greats has less offensive skill set than Jordan? Stop smoking green stuff and go back to school.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    I agree with the argument in this article, but the writer is arguing the right point at the wrong place. If you are arguing for Kobe Bryant being number one under a heading that says Kobe Bryant, no. 2, then you’re wrong.

  • jc

    The fact that people have to debate whether Bryant is even the best player in his own generation says it all. No-one, including the players of the time, could say anyone other than Jordan was the best player. Lets not forget who Jordan beat to stay at the top – Barkley, Drexler, Malone, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing to name but a few. All you kids out there who think you can argue based on stats please go and check Jordans again. He absolutely cleaned up year after year. Oh, and when Bryant wins a chip with Bill Wennington/Will Perdue/Luc Longley/Bill Cartwright as his center instead of Shaquille O Neal or Pau Gasol and uses his ‘superior’ offensive skill set to actually make 50% of his shots year after year come back and let us all know.

  • IHaveADream

    @feez22
    I’m not wrong at all. They got together because they want to take the championship away from the Lakers. Just because the Lakers are in the Western Conference..uh, eventually a team from the East has to play a team from the West to win a championship, don’t know if you were aware of that or not. You’ve proven yourself to be a Kobe hater long before this post. You’re clearly unable to be objective. You lack knowledge of basketball matters just like the others on here who are in love with a guy who has no intention of being a leader on a great team which is why he’s now playing with Dwyane Wade in Dwyane Wade’s city. Wade could have gotten Bosh and some shooters and he would have been ready to challenge the Magic and Celtics without LeBron.

  • KB8toSG8

    @JD…..he lost the first season he came back. MJ also never had to play with Shaq……and MJ’s ego was never a big factor?!?! Hell, he punched a team-mate in the face and is known widely for bad-mouthing his team in press-conferences LOL.

  • AT33

    Kobe is what MJ said: A top 10 player in his position. That means, out of all guards to ever play, Kobe ranks 10th in history. I think that statement is accurate.

  • IHaveADream

    @AT33
    Give it up. MJ said that because his ego won’t allow him to give Kobe that number two spot behind him.
    I like the picture of Kobe that is on here…he’s laughing with his trophies while more are to come…and LeBron can get all the regular season accolades he wants.

  • Overtime

    Personally one of my favourite write ups of this year. Straight to the point but with passion. Doesnt need to be gimmicky, just talk about the player you love, well done Jason

  • AT33

    @IHaveADream
    I think to value a great player you have to be a great player and MJ is the best to ever play. What he says speaks values. He sees things from the above. I don’t think Kobe is the best Laker ever, Magic is the best Laker ever. Let’s not forget, Kobe has six rings but on three championships he was not the reason why they won, he was just a role player. I even think Shaq is the 2nd best Laker ever. We all saw how far Kobe can take his team after Shaq left and before Gasol came in. Kobe is not a team player, he is a gifted selfish athlete. Kobe will never be in the conversation the best Laker ever let alone in his position or the whole NBA.

  • The Philosopher

    Shaq is better than Kareem?
    o.k.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Great write up, way better than the years passed. For those who are not giving Kobe his credit for his first three rings, need to go watch all the games before the NBA Finals each year. Shaq always dominated the East in the NBA Finals, because he never had anyone that could guard him. The EAST centers were weak during that time playing the PACERS, SIXERS, NETS centers is not anything for Shaq to handle. Plus people need to understand against the Spurs which was the real NBA finals each year, Shaq would get in foul trouble and Timmy used to kill him. Kobe would step up always to get them to the NBA finals. Spurs coach would always say Kobe was the key to the Lakers, so for those who think Kobe just walked around and hit 4th qtr shots need to watch before NBA Finals. Also Kobe led the comeback in the Blazers game down by 15, saved the LAkers plenty of times in 4th qtrs when Shaq was in foul trouble or you knew he would miss free throws. Kobe has proven himself to be a KING with 5 rings. So anybody that thinks Kobe does not deserve to be consider one of the greats need to realize this kid worked himself from the bench behind a good player in Eddie Jones, with a dominate teammate in Shaq who had issues–ask his former teams, and a coach who had a problem with him. Kobe then had to go through a court trail, playing with Smush, Kwame and Walton in a starting lineup, to calling out Lakers management to becoming an all time great. Actions speak louder than words and Kobe actions on the court this year and years past prove that winning at all cost is a major thing for him. Kobe has proven everyone wrong for years, so Haters hate, but KOBE is going to BALL. BOOK IT!!

  • IHaveADream

    @AT33
    You are not taking into consideration the fact that MJ doesn’t want anyone to be mentioned in the same sentence with him especially the player who comes as close to him as anyone has or ever will. Kobe wasn’t a role player, as I have stated too many times, on those Laker teams. Get over it. Let the hate go. LeBron would have sucked with Smush Parker as his point guard and Kwame Brown as his center too. You just dislike Kobe so your comments about him are clearly just plain BS as is everything else you say on here.

  • Marvin

    Lovin’ the attitude and swag from this write-up that embodies Kobe as player. I don’t care what people say; Kobe is the best player in the world and the one I look up to.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Uncle05Sam Earl

    YOU IDIOTS!!!

  • Ragib

    The constant references to Jordan is a large part of why this piece lost all its credibility to me, as it shows the writer is really just crackers and is probably a teenager or in his young 20′s, because he definitely didn’t watch Jordan’s career, enough though he takes it upon himself to decide Kobe’s achievements make Jordan’s look “insignificant”. For example, he implies Kobe’s 81 point regular season game against the Raptors (back then, a mediocre team), or his 62 in 3 quarters against the Mavs, also regular season, are somehow more impressive than Jordan’s 63 in Boston Garden. Context is important. Jordan was only a sophomore, who was the sole talent on his team at the time. Pippen wasn’t drafted yet, and no big man to hold down the post like Kobe has had for all his rings. And Jordan’s 63 dropped in the PLAYOFFS. Playoffs and regular season are very very different, we all know that. The level of play gets higher, the opponents defend you tighter, they go all out. And Jordan still dropped 63. And the opponent? Raptors or Mavs? No, the 1986 Celtics, widely agreed to be the best year of Larry Birds career (Finals MVP and League MVP on ridiculous shooting percentages)and the best Celtics team since the Bill Russell era, 67-15 reg season record and eventual championships. So yes, Jordans 63 is somewhat a more difficult feat than dropped 81 against some Raptors club.

  • wtf

    Kobe > LeBron

  • bill breedley

    Lebron will never be number 1 in the real world. Only in paid media will be ever be considered even better than Kobe. To everyone else not in the Nike and lebron marketing team’s pockets, he remains a loser sidekick who has never even gotten close to even winning a championship game. A ring was out if his grasp no matter if a winnable team was built for him (or was it by him in Cleve), hence the sidekick needed to piggyback on dwade. Now how can someone still be considered number 1? Money. Media hacks need to feed their family.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Every time LeBron has been ranked #1 he has won the MVP award…and Kobe has won Finals MVP and a ring. WIN-WIN!

  • AT33

    @IHaveADream
    the fact that you think somehow Kobe comes close to MJ just tells me that you don’t know anything about basketball. Kobe doesn’t even come close to the best player in a Laker uniform and you’re talking about close to MJ. I get the sense that you somehow wish you had been in that Colorado Hotel room with Kobe taking you from behind.

  • http://Trukingiii@aim.com Truking

    @Jason Rowley do you watch games or just highlights & stat lines??? I remember all that the 81 on the raptors the 62 on the mavs in 3qrts. the 5 titles, the air ball in utah I even remember the all star game mvp in philly he got booed he cried in his home city… Look bro Kobe’s a joke he got game but he’s a clown… A.I. was better then Kobe. Just like Lebron until this year niether had the surporting cast. Kobe got those first 3 championship on Shaq back and when it was he’s time to step up in the ’04 finals he couldn’t do it… the ’08 finals he couldn’t do it… & these last titles Kobe won only by good luck & by injury… Meaning ’09 if the celtics had Garnett Boston would have won back to back titles… & last year ’10 if Perkins was healthy for that game seven the Celtics would of had a three peat… please don’t fail to mention kobe’s poor shooting night in that game seven!!! Finally kobe could never be jordan!!! Kobe Finals appearances 7 Won 5. Jordan has 6 apearances and 6 wins in 15 seasons So you tell me how kobe can be better then mike when this is his 15 seasons and mike never lost a finals and has six MVP’s and kobe has 2… I might respect him as a great if the lakers beat the heat this year or boston again…

  • mock&awe

    Kobe is a better player than James. That he is greater is another matter. But why all the references to MJ? Can we appreciate KB without you young writers humping on Jordan’s leg all the time?
    I happened to catch game 6, ’92 Bulls-’Blazers last night. Couldn’t help comparing Jordan’s game to Kobe’s in the Game 7 this year. Same age about. The differences were telling. That Kobe is not MJ seems to tick some off; it’s sad because he is such a wonderful talent. I have this debate on another site with some guy who likes to try to diminish Mike and calls the ’80′s the “dead-ball defensive era”. Once I pointed out to him that averaging 37 in an overwhelmingly defensive period is pretty impressive, he stopped using that term. I don’t think Jordan ever went into a game looking to score at much as he possibly could with an eye on his “legacy” like Kobe has done (still, 81 POINTS..my God). And as far as Rings, it’s more relevant to go 6 for 6 and be the dominant (MVP) force in each than to win 7 but lose a couple AND be a secondary (not necessarily a demeaning term: see Doc in ’83) contributer in two or three.
    Did I mention that Kobe is better than LBJ?

  • Cheers

    Damn, Kobe, like the picture on this post. Keep holding them trophies and laughing your gluteus maximus off at them haters.

  • Victor

    how can you put Kobe (5 rings) under Lebron (0 rings). I know he is younger and maybe one day might pass Kobe but NOT YET!!! This list is GARBAGE!!!

  • Ifry38

    If this ranking system was based on best player in the last 10 years or few seasons whatever… it would be 1Kobe2Wade3Lebron and whatever is next but since its based on performance in10’11′ season its right. Lebron should be the best this year because of his new team and in his prime then kobe because he still is reallly good and awesome team…

  • Ifry38

    ….and Wade should be next over Kd but Kd is “supposed” to have a better player performance season. Wade is gonna have a better season on both player and team=above kd. Wade is a veteran player over Kd more experience and in his prime, one playoff serious doesnt mean anything for Kd, still needs to grow up the rest is fine though

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Looking at the scoring numbers and determining who was more important between Shaq and Kobe is bad business.
    Shaq, as a post player, created more havoc, scored more efficiently and created more scoring opportunities for his teammates. It’s not just about ppg in determining impact on offense.

  • BBaller

    The same people that argued Wade( 1 rings ) was better than KD ( 0 rings) are the same people who are arguing Lebron( o rings ) is better than Kobe( 5 rings).The same logic must be applied.

  • KB8toSG8

    @BBaller

    WORD.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mansonovic Mansonovic

    Did this guy really say that MJ’s 63 at the Garden was “almost insignificant”? I stopped reading at that point. Might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read.

  • IHaveADream

    @AT33
    The fact that you can’t keep it about basketball is all I need to see to know that you truly do not know basketball and can’t articulate well when it comes to the subject. Like many others, you simply don’t like him personally. Which is alright if that’s how you feel. But if you had any good sense and you actually watched him play since he came into the league, if there is a player who comes anywhere near MJ, it’s Kobe whether you like him or not. LeBron must have you on his payroll or something. Maybe you work for LRMR.
    @Truking
    AI is my favorite player of all time…but he wasn’t better than Kobe. He was a better scorer, but overall, Kobe had more in his game. Kobe didn’t ride Shaq to those 3 rings…they were in the same car together..Shaq was driving but Kobe was definitely in the passenger seat. You saying that Kobe’s a clown just shows that you don’t like him so your analysis on him and his game is really a joke after that point. Your thinking is clouded by your dislike for him. Let’s keep it about basketball because no one really cares about whether one likes a player or not. It’s about the game. I may take LeBron for 3 quarters at this point because Kobe has a lot of miles on him…but in the fourth quarter, I’ll take Kobe. And saying that Kobe will never be Jordan is funny…because no one else will be either. But no one will ever be Kobe also.

  • http://big11mel@yahoo.com Big Mel

    Man the writer should have said pause,or no homo at the end of that article,but Kobe and Lebron argument usually brings that out of folks

  • Kani

    I like that someone brought it up. I almost forgot that Kobe scored 62 in 3 quarters…”The best player…offensively.”–at least. Everyone’s been hating on Kobe since Colorado…Its about time people start seeing the flaws in LBJ. No doubt about his talents…but he lacks leadership and responsibility…Losing builds character and character builds CHAMPIONS–KOBE>Lebron

  • Jason Rowley

    Thanks for all the comments!

    @crnac Often my sarcasm gets in the way of what I am trying to say. I appreciate you reminding me of that. No need to knock one player each time he loses and the other wins.

    So – let me try this – I am not knocking Lebron I am just pointing out that last night Kobe had one turnover—not 8—and he shot 11-12 from the line (not 8-12). And his team won. Shocking, I know.

    We are all witnesses.

  • Avery

    well man i hate the lakers but it’s impossible to think kobe is not number one…just crzy

  • http://gdchild24@gmail.com gdchild

    The best player ranks #2? This makes no sense.

  • Jay Reyes

    if you guys were to hire someone, would you hire someone with experience and credentials or someone whom you think has potential but has already left a company since he cant do what he promised to do there? that should have been the case in choosing the number one spot… imho…

  • David

    4-0 Manu ginobili #1

  • ShowMeTheStats

    Kobe is the most overrated player in the history of the league. I applaud Kobe for his offensive skills because he definitely has them. He is a great shooter especially in close games. However, even his offensive game has glaring weaknesses when compared to other great players like MJ. The first issue is field goal percentage. MJ was much more accurate. In his prime, MJ would average 53% over an entire year!!! Kobe has never nor will never do that. Also as far as offensive skills Kobe doesn’t pass very well. Again, MJ averaged 8 assists per game one year. Kobe is not even close in that department. Both Wade and Lebron are much better passers as well as MJ.

  • Basketball is LIFE

    Broke Wilt’s HS record in P.A.
    won the SLAM dunk
    Youngest AllStar ever
    5Rings
    All NBA 1st Team
    All NBA Defensive Team
    62points MSG
    81points against Dinosaurs
    5Rings
    1MVP
    2Finals MVP
    …what else can u ask for?

  • http://Msn Joe vande vrede

    Thank you I agree what can you ask more from Kobe. He is a god already. Every bodie knows that kobe is the best to ever step on a court. What would NBA look like if there is no Kobe. I know it will be this watse of tome in my life. so kobe fans lets cheer kobe all the way

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