Its now the cusp of game 5, NBA finals. The Lake Show is up 3-1. They’ll close out and Kobe wins a title without Shaq. The NBA and it’s fans are going to be subjugated to the largest purple and gold PR in history. Its going to top Kings/Blazers. It will stymie the Isiah injury pooh pooh. It will dwarf the 2006 MVP injustice outcry.
I don’t want to enter the hate zone. I don’t have an agenda against him that prevents me from being fair. I’m a bigger fan of other players but if the guy does well, I’ll say it. He’s played great in the finals and at the end of the Denver series. He did so why deny it? His fans are going to go off the deep end in full force. Know what? After sticking with the guy and defending all the criticism they deserve a day in the sun and Kobe deserves this ring. Congratulations Kobe Klan, talk it up. Examples?
Every claim will be amplified and expounded on Ad Nauseam and doubters silenced. Kobe is the greatest of all time, top 3 or top 10. The bestperimeter/mid-range shooter ever.
Shaq/Kobe history will be rewritten with such vigor that time will fold on itself and reverse. Shaq needed Kobe. They shared the team. Kobe was the better player and Shaq rode his coat tails. The best scorer, offensive player and leader since Jordan. Maybe better. Much better! Jordan just had a better team, Right? You ARE going to hear it if you’re a fan.
I say: no so fast. Kudos… but titles count for too much to me. Kobe’s career is top 3 because he wins 4 games and top 30 if he loses 4 games depending on who is talking. Both love/hate statements are misguided. I’ve got enough self-confidence that I won’t be swayed by 4 out of 1000 games no matter what the stage.
In my opinion during those other games he inflates his scoring numbers by not passing. He wanted to be all time and thought scoring was his ticket. This I saw with my eyes. I was informed this is merely my subjective bias fueled by my hatred of all things Bean (though I love Jellybean(s)?!?!). To respond I made a simple stat that effectively removed a great deal of personal bias in evaluating the trend.
I took special care to not look at Kobe’s numbers until the moment I crunched his data. No accusations of proving bias opinions ‘with stats’ as is so commonly suggested. I did not expect the results to be as significant as they were. I expected the same trends expressed volumetricly across all players.
The only stat I considered was one I knew. In 2006 Kobe let his dimes drop from 6.0 to 4.5 and scored 35 PPG. 1.5 dimes for ~10 PPG. Good trade, right? My opinion: padding scoring by not passing. Instead of great games at a higher level he stops passing and focuses himself on overwhelming the most visible category. Result: a perception of elite play disguising imbalanced offense generating increased sportscenter highlights and attention for MVPs. That’s the premise. It seems logical but a 1.5 drop is weak evidence I was informed, and I agreed. So I made…
Take +40 point games over a given period, subtract the average assists and from the average assists of games scoring X or more points. This gives us play making trends with respect to scoring output. The result we can call scoring/assist differential. So…
scoring/assis diff= average assists (all games) – average assists (scoring > x) and took data at 5 point increments.
Like a scoring average this stat indicates the highs and lows of play making at different levels of scoring giving general relative output. A very simple comparison of a player scoring X points to their average play.
Without further adieu, lets examine Kobe and players who are prolific enough as scorers to compare him to.
|Kobe: The Man|
Okay, so lets compare Kobe to his peers
|>40 FG%; 57%|
|MJ, 23 Ways To Make You Pay|
|>40 FG%; 58%|
|Gilbert Arenas In Washington|
|AI In Philly|
|Dominique Wilkins In Atlanta|
* (This is a very small sample size, more on this later)
Again, I did not even take a cursory look at people’s stats beforehand. I’ve seen Kobe play and thought he wouldn’t look great in them, but still shocked to see the disparity. I figured everyone’s stats would decrease when they scored more points.
Based on these stats, I think its fair to say:
1. Kobe has a crap load of high scoring games in only a few seasons. He can really put it in the hoop at high volumes.
2. His scoring gets over-rated: shares the lowest shooting percentage with Iverson for > 40 point games and by far raises his shooting % at the lowest rate, almost half that of everyone else including Iverson.
3. Kobe seem to be the most selfish. Of all time? No hate, but maybe. He’s a great scorer but appears to pad his stats by ignoring his teammates as his dimes continuously drop as points increase. I have two ideas about how he goes off on scoring binges based on watching.
- Kobe pre-meditates big nights and intentionally focuses his energy on scoring. Such a game is his 61 with 3 dimes and 0 boards vs NYK. Before Shaq: 31 40+ point games. 4 50+. The next season he had 10 40+ point games, a third of his 8 year output despite missing almost 20 games coupled with an 8 year assist low (after career), and a 9 year rebounding low. The only season he blocked less shots was his rookie year.
- By the 05/06 season Kobe realized W stats would be harder to get and went after the record books instead to vindicate Shaq’s departure. Nearly tripled his previous season’s 40+ games, took 7 more shots per and produced nearly the same # of 40 point nights as his first 8 seasons did. (I think he pushed too hard and wore himself out because since he’s never attacked the rim the same way at all, but I digress)
- When Kobe hits shots early it appears he thinks of sports center and forgets his team exists
For Younger Fans Questioning ‘Nique’s Inclusion On This List, Click The Triangle Shaped ‘Answer Button’ Above This Caption
- beyond facilitating his scoring. In his famous Dallas game he hit all 7 first quarter shots, then jacked a much lower percentage for two quarters getting 0 assists for the game. With Dallas having an off night and his team up 30 Kobe put up 14 shots in the last 5 minutes of the third quarter to further pad his stats.
4. Kobe’s got more 40 point games then everyone on this list except Jordan, Iverson and ‘Nique. Sensible: the others have only been pros for that many seasons. Kobe had 69 40 point games after Shaq and 27 with Shaq in half the seasons.
He tries to score, more then anyone listed and possibly ever. Kobe is known for and considered the best scorer for his large number of 40/50/60 point games. Arenas only has one 60 point game. Wade 0. Lebron 0. Kobe has 5? Why? They don’t alter play to focus on individual scoring. Wade gets his points by approaching a 10 point increase in field goal percentage and gets even more dimes then normal.
They elevate play across all categories. Kobe zones in on one highly visible category while sacrificing others. When scoring 45 points, Wade averages 1.48 assists more then normal. At 8 APG, Assuming 50% pass/assist completion (very high) you have to pass to a teammate in a position to score more then 14 times for those assists; likely its more. Lebron averages a full 2 assists more when scoring 50 points. In contrast, when Kobe’s hot and passes you the ball, to have multiple 0 assist games… he expects it back. If Lebron or Wade were forcing those extra shots their points would be higher. So….
5. How many more 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90+ point games would these other guys on this list have if they played Kobe ball? I’m going to say that if Jordan had 0 dimes instead of 6, and 3 boards, not 18 when he scored 69 points it would only be a questions of how close he sat to Wilt.
The other guys go way up too. Wade’s 48/12 pushes 60 as does 50/9, 48/11 and even 46/10. So does Iverson’s 58/6, 60/6 goes up, maybe to 70, and 51/6. Arenas 60/8 pushes 70 for sure, and 51/5, 47/8 and 54/4 all push 60.
Lebron is the best scorer of this decade if he played this way. 56/5, 55/9, 52/11, 52/7/, 51/9, 51/9, 51/8, 50/9 and 50/10 all go upwards of 60 points. Consider 2009 is the first time he’s even come close to his prime. Its not even close.
6. The only similar progression on the list is MJ. He also only passes kobe’s differential for all 40+ games (1.22) when scoring over 55 points, ie: 9 of his 158 40 points games. In those 9 games he has a 10 dimes at 57 pts, 6 at 59 pts and 6 at 69 pts (not to mention 18 herculean rebounds!). From 50-55 he breaks 5 dimes 9 times out of 20.
Kobe has 1 8 dime game at 53. 1 8 dime game at 50. A 5 and 6 at 46. And 10 at 45. That’s all his +5 dime games when scoring 45 or more. I don’t have to get into the slower pace, tougher defenses or the rule changes softening perimeter defenses either. All things being equal, and they were not, its still not close.
To be fair, MJ was selfish himself. Very granted. By virtue of shooting 60% in 158 40+ point games and being Michael Freaking Jordan, unquestioned GOAT, he gets a deserved pass for most games. Him attacking a defense was often a better shot then a teammate’s open jumper… while he chucked up his own 45 attempt losses he still was not nearly as selfish as Bryant.
The irony: Kobe was trying to pass him. He told Tracey McGrady when he was 19 that he was already a better player then Michael. Once Shaq left he made it his mission to try and get as close to Jordan as possible and unfortunately he, like so many others, over valued scoring and that’s what will probably keep him from the truly rarified air.
A reader brought up the point that the triangle kills assist stats. Its seen in Jordan’s stats as well proving it. Lebron/Wade et al look better because their team’s offenses provide them better passing opportunities.
Its not really an assist stat though. By using average assists as a basis of comparison the sample size accounts for random fluctuation of an offense. By comparing a player in high scoring games to themselves on average we are no longer considering assists: just the change in assists. Kobe averaging 1 could kill Arenas averaging 50 in this stat. ‘Nique fares great despite averaging the lowest assists of everyone as its the same offense/teammates at 30 points as 50.
I think its a question of maturity. MJ’s early years were famously his selfish years. After losing to the pistons repeatedly he realized it hurt his team and changed his game to win. The change was learning how to use his scoring to help make his teammates better. Observe (with a little credit where Zen credit is due 🙂 ):
* Note: only a .2 assist drop in the triangle
Dimes drop a bit at 45, then bounce back to 8 time’s kobe’s differential. Better decisions feed a superior FG%. I’m not Smushing (so to speak) it in Kobe’s face about MJ. He’s the only comparison for the triangle. In any offense, good decisions create easy baskets for all, keep FG%’s high. If it is maturity, it does make sense. Jordan had to play years figuring out how to balance his game. Kobe realized how hard carrying a club was once Shaq left and had to start his learning process over.
Explainable, yet one of the following has to be true.
1. After playing for years in the triangle, Kobe did not understand the offense or how to use it to play well as an individual and teammate simultaneously.
2. Kobe’s career is that of a selfish player who ignores his teammates when playing his best to maximize his scoring visibility.
Is this fair? I can’t come up with other explanations. If anyone would like to make a better one I’ll gladly add it to the list (comment below).
An aptly labeled ball hog, Allen Iverson, kills him with a negligible differential at all levels of scoring. Lebron and Wade got it it in year 1, probably from watching Jordan/Kobe’s struggles the same way Magic/Bird watched Chamberlain.
Use the attention to break the defense. Then score from the mismatch, whoever has it, before they recover. Its team basketball. When you play it, good things happen. Try to win yourself and a better team beats you. Russell beat Wilt. Isiah beat Jordan. And KG beat Kobe. Lebron/Wade/et al simply play team basketball (in a team sport ) at a much higher level.
I earlier claimed Kobe pre-meditated big scoring nights contradicting the Laker truth that high Kobe scoring was the only way they could win. Challenging this is sure to draw the scorn of Kobe’s legions of fans. You’ll get a response something like this: (an actual response… actually)
Bryant has scored 40 or more points in 96 regular season games, third on the all-time career list behind Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan (173). The Lakers posted a 65-31 record in those games, a .677 winning percentage that is better than their overall winning percentage (.656) during Bryant’s career. Bryant had 27 of those 40 point games in 2005-06, when he led the NBA in scoring with a 35.4 ppg average that ranks eighth on the single season scoring list; the Lakers went 45-37 overall that year (.549) but they went 18-9 (.667) in his 40 point games.
Bryant has scored at least 50 points in a game 23 times; he ranks third on that all-time career list as well, again trailing only Chamberlain (118) and Jordan (31). The Lakers went 16-7 in Bryant’s 50 point games, which is an even better winning percentage (.696) than they posted in the games in which he scored 40-49 points. Bryant’s only 50 point game this season happened when he set a Madison Square Garden record with 61 points in a 126-117 victory.
Sounds convincing…. look closer.
Who are these high totals against? If you believe this scoring to win theory, you may be surprised. I’m going to call it the 27, 32, 60, 32, 22, 33, 23, 37, 22, 52 club. Those are the opponent season win totals of Kobe’s top 10 scoring games. 1.5 quality wins vs Dallas and Houston… the only .450+ teams. 1.5 as Vs. Houston he scored 53 twice in the same season going 1-1. LA was supposed to win the others. Its really a revision to say Kobe was shooting
“because its the only way they could win” instead of padding his stats.
Quality wins, top 10 scoring. 1.5 W’s .5 L.
- Win 1: 62 vs Dallas they won because Dallas shot 37% and 13% from 3. Kobe’s 10 3 attempts are 3 more then anyone’s regular attempts with 0 assists. He reportedly told teammates he was going for 50 before the game regardless. Kobe jacked up 14 shots (almost half of his 31) with his team up 30 in the 3’rd quarter. They apparently didn’t need 62 to win at all.
- Win .5: 53 vs Houston HOU just started the season without T-Mac still depended on him for everything. The game still went to OT. Credit Kobe 8 dimes and 10 boards however he still took 38 shots on 44% though the other starters shot 43%, 46%, 50% and 57%.
- Loss .5: 53 vs Houston now with a full lineup. Despite only 2 assists from Kobe, Smush Parker shot 58%, Kwame Brown 63% and Vladimir Radmonovic 50%. Odom shot 33% but had 17 rebounds. Kobe shot 43% and 33% from 3, on 44 shots, the sixth highest shot total in 25 years by any player. Kobe’s 9 3’s were more then any players FGA’s in the whole game.
Now, if Kobe is shooting to win, lets look at losses in the top 10 too.
- Loss 1: Kobe’s 6’th highest scoring game the Lakers lose to the 33 win Bobcats. Kobe took 45 shots, the 5’th highest attempts in 25 years to beat a team featuring Adam Morrison shooting 1-15 (6.7%) and Raymond Felton shooting 7/24 (29%).
- Loss 2: In Kobe’s 7’th highest scoring game the Lakers posted a loss to the the 22 win Grizzles. Granted the Lakers didn’t have Kwame Brown, but it was because the Grizzles played without Pau Gasol due to the ironic most lopsided trade ever for Kwame. Their second option was Darko Milicic and it gets worse from there.
Why do the Lakers need Kobe to take record shots to lose to craptacular teams? I argue the losses are due to the shooting and the wins due to the average 33 games won between the teams. I argue Kobe should get credit for big scoring sometimes, but poor offense when he plays like this.
Losing to a 33 win expansion team that’s given 15/29 shots to guys shooting 6.7%/29% and named Adam Morrison/Raymond Felton respectively has to go down as shameful when you are supposedly the L’s best player. My head spins. 6 players on his team shot 50% or better? Kobe took more 3’s then any player on his team took shots. Is that worse then losing a major pride game, at home, to a team who’s best player you just stole and switched with a role player. I’m not sure, but I think I know how it happened.
From 05-09, Kobe had a solitary triple double. Plenty when Shaq was there. With 08’s stacked team he got 0 and only got one before the playoffs in 09. 05-09. Lebron. 25 triple doubles. Crappy teammates, check. This is why Bron is considered better. The GM who traded a great center in his prime for Kobe said as much. Wade has 3 even though he spent 2/4 seasons injured or playing hurt.
The oft cited reason for Kobe’s team suckage. Was it his teammates who damaged his career? Or was it a failed opportunity to silence critics.
If Kobe led Kwame to 55 wins he gets back to back MVPs. Maybe a West finals appearance? I, and every basketball fan, accept that he’s the best since Jordan because it would be obvious as that team has no business winning that much. Kobe: the only other scoring guard to win without a dominant center. Athletically? Way beyond Steve Nash. But he played losing ball over 3 seasons, people saw through the high scoring and Nash, not KB24, got two MVP awards.
Kobe’s help follow a trend. They get there. They peak. Then decline in their primes. If your uber-talented star didn’t have 1 triple double in 4 years of play while you took all the blame for every loss and the star took all the glory for wins wouldn’t you get discouraged? Lets take a look at his talent and their career arcs. They supposedly have 0 talent, however:
Jordan Farmar – Played huge in college where he was absolutely a good player, then he had a solid rookie season. Solid playoffs. I know he was good from watching in college. Made strides last year. Before the last finals and this season Farmar a stated reason the Lakers would win. Fisher out, Farmar in. Instead all his per 36 numbers dropped and he’s gone from shooting over 70% from the line to shooting in the 50’s.
Vladimir Radmonovic – shot 44% from 3 before they traded him. 44% is more then acceptable for a shooter role player type. He had value to the team too. 13/6.6/44% per 36 is very decent production for 20 minutes. He’s averaging a career high in scoring per 36 minutes on 2 more shots/game with Charlotte now. His frustration was evident upon his arrival in Charlotte when he said:
“it was also frustrating not knowing when and how I’d play… Phil’s system, great as it is, doesn’t give a role player much opportunity… for Kobe Bryant, it’s great.”
Ronny Turiaf – good enough to get GSW’s mid-level exception and continually improve. Often named one of the most under rated players in the NBA. 12/8.6/54% is awesome production for a guy getting 15-20 MPG and brought mad energy. His production declined after that peak though and they let him go. On GSW his FG% is back over 50% now.
Brian Cook – Good enough to be the key piece in a deal that got them Ariza, who’s a great player. He was also good enough as a rookie to get rotation minutes on the HOF filled laker team that went to the finals. Then his game declined each year till they traded him. He was not able to settle into the Magic before Nelson went down and he was included in the trade for Rafer Alston before the deadline.
Sasha Vujacic – What more do you want? In 07-08 he shot 45%, 44% from 3, scored 17 ppg per 36 minutes and is positively a very above average defender. A full court pest if you will. Improved every year till the finals. Maybe if Kobe wasn’t calling him She She ‘The Machine’ to the national media, calling him his little brother (which he hated himself viaShaq) and glaring at him every 3’rd play he would not have lost his confidence? You know he shot 92% from the line, right? As a role player, Vujacic was very good.
Luke Walton – Great, above average passer. Always has been. Can change a game without taking a shot. 12/5.5/5.5 45% per 36 minutes are very, very good numbers for a guy coming off your bench 20-25 minutes a game. Good enough to be rotation player on championship team (tomorrow).
Andrew Bynum – Raw out of high school but always had potential. His stats/36 minutes have always been great. He got derailed by injuries but I’m sure his star player hating on him didn’t help start his career or his second dispirited come back great starts and it was seen in the results. When your star injures your knee and gets up with a pissed off look on his face, says nothing, and walks away its not exactly encouragnig either, but perhaps that looked worse then it was. Kobe did say Bynum was why they lost to Boston and the key to their title, that he changed their identidy as a team, with Pau Gasol. That alone indicates he’s good, if quite raw.
Lamar Odom – I don’t think needs to be said. He’s a top tier player and one of the most versatile years. All-star calibre who didn’t make it in due to a loaded west at his position. Match up nightmare and a top complementary glue guy. Odom as #2 or #3 can win games by himself with or without scoring points. He fills in any gap your team has on a given night. What more do you want?
Caron Butler – All star caliber player. LA fans don’t mention that Odom/Butler were on Kobe’s team at the same time. The previous year Dwayne Wade, as a rookie, and with Caron/Lamar as his second/third best players almost got them to the east finals. I repeat, he was a rookie. Kobe’s team won 33 games. There’s a variety of reasons but one of them has got to be Kobe and his change in style. None of them excuse 34 wins with 3 all star caliber players.
And now a special note on Kwame Brown and Smush Parker. The two guys who get the most heat for Kobe not winning more.
Kwame Brown – In Washington he had a 11/7.5/46% year. In 06 he improved playing less minutes, shot 52% overall, > 60% in 11 of his last 20 games, averaged 8 boards and had a large string of +10 board games. He’s a big reason they took PHX to 7 and carried them in multiple games. One game he had a 19/6/2 blk 60% FG game that was full of potential. Overall 13 pts, 6.5 brds. 56% FG. 70% if you exclude two bad games you expect from raw players. One bad game they won and the other was the game 7 team collapse, including Kobe. Even in 07 he put up 11/8 per 36 minutes on 59% shooting. No Shaq but he wasn’t giving you nothing. Its a myth.
The point is, you’re not supposed to be given all-star teams. As the best player you and your coach are supposed to build those teams around you. Kobe’s player’s seem to fall off in the same pattern. The difference could hae made is instead of being a malcontent demeaning those without your talent on the radio, blaming them for losses and demanding trades you take those lemon players and make lemonade. Were they real lemons?
Can’t help but say it… Jordan had this kid. Crazy athletic. Weak skills. Points all off dunks. His name was Scotti Pippen. Jordan turned him into the best all around player ever. With Sam Vincent as his #2, Pippen/Grant/Paxon playing 15-22 mpg, and Charles Oakley as his #3, Jordan won 50 games. They were contenders for the title and went out 4-1 to the champion Pistons. He didn’t blame his teammates or destroy their confidence but pushed them to improve every year.
They made the east finals the next year. Went out 4-2 to the pistons. Got back the next year. Went out 4-3 to the Pistons. Then came back better and went on to win 3 straight. All with the same core of players who were not really good just a few years before. The similarities are striking. I think blaming Smush and Kwame for the team’s failures is slightly valid but mostly weak. The fact that Kobe did it publicly and demand a trade is just cowardly. You’re the star, accept the pressure or it will crack the lesser player’s confidence. It did.
Why? Everyone has scrubs. Jordan had Scott Williams, Stacy King, Luc Longly, Brad Sellers, Will Purdue, Sam Vincent and others. Bron, Wade, Arenas and Iverson all played with crappy players. They all had a few scrubs who kept improving and none of them blamed the worst players on the team for losses. I won’t say Smush could have been Scotti Pippen, but he could have been more then he became. He showed potential to be much more.
Something happened. Its a footnote now. LA fans will say I’m hate driven to suggest these players were anything but college scrub level. They will neglect to mention this. After a botched trade with Chicago Kobe realized his value was so high any trade for him would land him on the same kind of crappy team. Kobe realized this was his team, could not handle the scrutiny of another .500 season and played to win. His scoring went back down under 30. Assists and boards went back up. Kobe played team ball and these no talents were 15 games over .500 before Pau Gasol even arrived.
Kobe’s fans will refuse to admit that his help was anythign but terrible. I think its a perception they can’t help though. The NBA culture in LA is lucky. Their city is incredibly attractive to players, talent wants to play there so they got used to being stacked long ago. In their eyes a normal team appears unfair to their stars. I didn’t say star, because LA has had 2-3 or more legitimate stars for nearly it’s entire history. Kobe has always had at least one or two other top tier players and solid role players around him.
Kobe Bryant – You’ve got to add Kobe. Love or hate him, he’s a fantastic talent and has to count as more then one guy. Kobe can win any game all by himself. Subtle difference: I think he tries to win every game by himself. Result: 33, 45 and 42 win seasons. He had good complementary players, championship level role players, the best coach in history. 3 games under .500 over 3 seasons result.
Miami started a rookie poin and a sleepwalking Marion so bad they traded him for Jermaine O’Neal’s corpse AND worse contract before a playoff run. Their next best player was Michael Beasley who they could only justify giving 24 MPG. Even Shaun Livingston attempting a come back got 10 MPG on that team. The previous year they won 15 games still with Shaq and a host of decentish players. Wade took them to the playoffs in a single handed 28 game win improvement.
When they were down he stated “A Lebron James Team Is Never Desperate.” That’s building a winner because the process ultimately starts from losing with who you have. To make omelets you have to break eggs. To build teams you’ve got to got to lose some games on the backs of your teammates while taking heat on your shoulders.
I don’t buy the no help card. Not all-stars or championship help, but not no-stars or losing team over 3 seasons help by any means. Not when you’re as talented as Kobe Bryant.
What Could Have Been
Wade just had career highs in scoring, assists, blocks and steals and was .7 behind in boards on a far worse team. Everyone on Miami improved. Watch out for next year. With developed players LA wins that title vs rival Boston. They win this year. They probably beat PHX one year, maybe even beat the clippers in a historic LA only series and make the conference finals. That one guy totally carrying his team performance is whats sorely lacking from Kobe’s resume. Its not winning without Shaq thats eluded him, its winning like MJ. While he’s won, and will win again, he’s never been able to elevate a team above par for that team’s ability.
This is what could have been. 5 or 6 titles with Shaq if he waited to be handed the team a la TD/Robinson. LA then has a few years to build players around a winning program and Kobe probably ends with 6-8 titles, half of them finals MVPs. Instead he’s got an 81 point game to hang his hat on. One of the greatest individual performances. And I’ll rank it with Wilts. But both guys were intentionally setting records. Wilt did it vs 6.5 foot front line players. Kobe did it jacking shots up 20 with 43 seconds left vs the 6′(no D)” Mo Pete of the last place Raptors. I think both games go down as one of the most displays of selfishness over prowess.
I feel bad for Kobe honestly. He wanted to pass Jordan, a daunting task. It motivated his training but mostly his scoring. At 19 Kobe told t-mac that he was already better than Jordan, he was going to crush him. Jordan was a scorer. It had to be done. His obsession with scoring that’s going to hurt his comparison. People will always say he’s a truly spectacular scorer, but… that’s it!
Even with Shaqless rings there are buts. But he was best as a side kick. But he shot his favored team out of the finals on a 39 point losing effort. But nothin. There are no buts for Jordan. Magic. Bird. Isiah. Kareem. West. Soon enough, Lebron. They dominated to win and lose. They accomplished everything they set out to do and carried mediocre players to success and successful players to greatness… but they always carried them and were never ‘held back’ by them if you get my drift.
I truly relate and feel for the guy. No one actually enjoys seeing people who clearly put in effort lose, or I don’t. The guy is kind of alone because no one else is like him. Kobe set out to be the best ever and win by totally carrying a team on his back like all those others he felt challenged by… wait for it… but, 09 title or not… he failed.