Culture of Hoops

Kobe Bryant’s Place in Lakers’ History

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

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When it comes to the total points made in the NBA history, Kobe Bryant, officially ranks at number three. Just recently, he surpassed Michael Jordan and is now chasing Karl Malone for the number two spot on the NBA all-time scoring list. For many experts and analysts, that achievement alone places the Black Mamba in the company of some of the greatest players to ever grace the NBA hardwood. But where does Kobe rank among the all-time Lakers’ greats?

Magic Johnson must be on the top of this list. Although his career was cut short due to health and medical issues, he made a big impact while wearing Los Angeles Lakers uniform. Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a five-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time season MVP, and a 12-time NBA All-Star. At his height of 6-foot-9, Johnson played the point guard position and was regarded as one of the greatest to ever play the position.

Magic Johnson was a versatile athlete who could play almost all positions at a moments notice. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t able to play due to injury in the Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, Johnson filled in at center, leading the Lakers in scoring with 42-points, and to an NBA championship, while becoming the first ever, and only rookie to win the NBA Finals MVP Award.

Next to Johnson is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem is a six-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, six-time NBA MVP, and 19-time NBA All-Star. Aside from being one of the Laker’s greatest players, he is also one of the all-time NBA greats by any measure. Oh, and he is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Next in line is no other than Shaquille O’Neal. Some might say that Kobe gave Shaq multiple championships, but I think it’s the other way around. Shaq during his prime was a dominant force. Nobody could stop him and it seems like that the Lakers are unbeatable whenever he was on the court. Shaq is a four-time NBA champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and a one-time NBA MVP. More than the stats and awards, Shaq’s mere presence gave the Lakers the greatest edge over their counterparts.

This brings us to Kobe on my list of greatest Lakers of all time. Kobe is an amazing once-in-a-generation type athlete and the kind of player that was fused in the flame of hard work and dedication, and he deserves to be remembered for that. Not to mention, the the championships and countless accolades. But he isn’t the greatest player to ever pick up a basketball, so how can we compare him to Michael Jordan when he is not even the greatest Laker to play the game? This may be a harsh standard to judge by, but no one ever said being better than the greatest basketball player ever was easy. Remember Kobe for what he is, a great NBA player who left it all on the court and succeeded in making it to the pinnacle of his profession more than once.


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