The news came in on Kobe Bryant retiring after the season is over. Now the conversation is where does he rank on the NBA Greats in history? People see him in the top 10 or even at 10 with Lebron, who hasn’t finished his career yet at ninth. But some can argue on him possibly being in the top five. Here are four reasons why he should be mention in the top five.
1. He’s third all-time in scoring
Bryant is ranked third all-time in scoring at 32,683. He has 125 4o point games, 26 50 point games, five 60 point games and one 8o point game. A bulk of this scoring came from his prime years from 2006-2010. He was on another level that in January he still has the record averaging 40 points. Although Bryant has taken the most shoots of all time, his greatness is taking tough shots on most nights. The other two Lakers great, Wilt Chamberlan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also put up more than 30,000 points. Both of them also could be in the top five with their other awards, why not Bryant?
2. He’s made 36 game winners
Clutch is in Bryant’s DNA regardless of the circumstance. His work ethic and desire to win is one makes him one of the best players in these situations. Like Michael Jordan, Bryant has a lethal jumpshot over anyone even past his prime. Although he’s not the same, he can bury a shot to win the game. If people are going to remember him as one of the best, they need to know his confidence, obsession and determination on taking shot even over three people.
3. He’s a five time champion
Kobe has won numerous awards including an MVP. But his five titles out of seven isn’t something to sneeze about. People may argue on him playing with Shaquille O’Neal for those first three titles, however he played at a high level in those years. In the three years winning titles, O’Neal averaged 29.8 points and Bryant had 25.7. They needed each other to accomplish a three peat. Bryant without O’Neal still got two titles and was arguably the best player in the game. If people see championships as a way of dictating greatness, then Bryant is in that conversation.
4. He’s been on one franchise all his career
Not that many play for one franchise. Jordan after the Bulls played for the Wizards, Chamberlan was first in Philadelphia before LA and LeBron James won his titles with Miami. Bryant won all his titles with the Lakers and played over 20 seasons. He went from a skinny kid to a man playing big boy basketball. His defense in his prime was underrated and is a good passer. Bryant mention in the same breath as Magic Johnson on being the greatest Laker of all time can happen after this season. Laker fans appreciate the hustle, pain, and will in a player that no one will ever try to be.