What does it take to be great? Some possess the physical and mental properties to propel their abilities above others at the highest level. Others lack fortitude causing a void in skill progression, thus lacking in performance. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is destined for greatness. When he retires, he’ll be in consideration as one of the best to ever step foot on the court.
Coming into the lockout shortened season, Bryant was as healthy as he’s been in years, however a major setback came in the first preseason game against the Clippers leading to a torn ligament in the wrist. Lakers looked to be a team in turmoil needing to overcome injuries, suspensions and trade rumors. Dealing with the distractions on the court and in the front office, there was only one thing for him to do, play.
Leaning on their 16 year veteran to carry the team, it appeared as if it was too much to shoulder in the early going. Talk about his age came to fruition. He may have lost a step. Or even him dominating the ball and not trusting his teammates. Each and every time critics have questioned his ability, Black Mamba has risen to the challenge and proved them wrong.
As of late, he is looking like the throwback young Kobe with his precision shooting and explosive plays. Credit Lakers Head Coach Mike Brown. Brown’s offense places Bryant in spaces on the floor with a greater chance to catch and shoot or set up teammate for a shot. Unlike the Triangle offense under Phil Jackson that entailed playing off a teammate. He is shooting 45.9% from the field on the season.
The last 10 games, LAL have won eight, including a four game winning streak. The play of Bryant is elevating the rest of the team. Scoring 40 or more in the last two games overtook LeBron James as the leading scorer in the NBA at 30.3 per game. The last six games he’s averaging 36.6 PPG.
With the astronomical numbers, it is hard to not make more of a case that he is the second coming of Michael Jordan. Two extremely athletic players were all about their flash while young. When father time caught up with them, they used their jump shots and high basketball IQ to outplay the defenders. Most notably Scottie Pippen mentioned to Slam Magazine that Kobe is starting to walk, talk, and play like Mike. Pippens comments on Bryant Everyone wanted to be like Mike, but it looks like Kobe was the only one to step up to the challenge.
I will not go on to say that Kobe is better than Mike. Quite frankly there are things that one did/does better than the other. A fierce demeanor with the drive and willingness to do whatever it takes to win is a trait shared by both and may be the best similarity.
There are many factors that can be used to shape someone’s legacy, rings, statistics, or importance of play for teammates. Mamba will never be the next Mike Jordan. He will be the only Kobe Bryant, with a chance to break Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s all time scoring record if he can maintain an average of 20 PPG for the next five years. Undoubtedly it would be Kobe in conversation for the greatest player ever. For the same reason doubters do not think he can be the best, will be the motivation to prove them wrong again.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
, Kobe Bryant
, LeBron James
, Los Angeles Clippers
, Los Angeles Lakers
, Michael Jordan
, Mike Brown
, Phil Jackson
, Scottie Pippen