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Why Kobe Bryant is the Most Overrated Player in NBA History

Updated on April 18, 2016
Kobe Bryant is all time great, but is he as great as his perception?
Kobe Bryant is all time great, but is he as great as his perception? | Source
Kobe not taking the league by storm immediately hurts his legacy.
Kobe not taking the league by storm immediately hurts his legacy. | Source

Immediate Impact

What do Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Wilt Chamberlain have in common? If you guessed they all won NBA Rookie of the Year honors, you would be correct. Furthermore, what do those players and Bill Russell and Magic Johnson have in common? Magic Johnson won Finals MVP in his rookie season. Bill Russell anchored a defense that would help lead the Boston Celtics to its franchise's first NBA championship.

So the answer to that question is that all of these players had immediate impacts. Larry Bird joined a team in his rookie season that finished 29-53, and led them to a 61-21 record and the Eastern Conference Finals. Only to lose, but that very next season, they went on to win the championship. Wilt Chamberlain came into the league and immediately dominated, averaging 37 points and 27 rebounds a game while also taking a team that finished 32-40 in the season before to a 49-26 record.

Michael Jordan took the league by storm by joining a squad that finished 27-55 the season before, and leading them to a playoff appearance in his rookie season at 38-44. He averaged 28.2 points a game, 5.9 assists a game, 6.5 rebounds a game, and 2.4 steals a game.

Shaq was no different. He came into the league and averaged 23.4 points a game and 13.9 rebounds a game though they missed the playoffs.

The common trend here is that all of these players made immediate impacts on their teams. Conversely, Kobe Bryant was the complete opposite. He wasn't a factor at all in his rookie season. He wasn't a factor until his sophomore season. Overall, his numbers in his first three seasons are underwhelming. Many in favor of Kobe like to omit this portion of his career, but this is a pretty big red flag. If Kobe is one of the top 5 all time great players like so many have mentioned him as, then why couldn't he make the immediate impact like those players I mentioned?

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Shaq carried Kobe.  Literally.
Shaq carried Kobe.  Literally.
Shaq carried Kobe. Literally. | Source

The three championships with Shaq

Kobe was absolutely vital in the threepeat. He was clearly the 2nd best player. You could make the case that Kobe was the best player for the Lakers against the Kings and Spurs in 2001. He averaged 35 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists versus the Kings in the semifinals. 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists versus the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Here is where the problem lies. In that threepeat, Shaq was the best player for the Lakers. He was the straw that stirred the drink. He was the guy that was the main focus for the opposing defense. Shaq was fouled ad nauseam, drew double teams, and sometimes even triple teams. Shaq was the guy on those Laker teams. He dominated despite the defense throwing everything at him and the kitchen sink. He made Kobe's job a lot easier by drawing all the defensive focus. He dominated every Finals. No, Shaq didn't make Kobe. Kobe was great in his own right. But Shaq was the guy, and Kobe benefited by not having to see the double teams that Shaq had to. Kobe was a vital part of the Lakers success in the threepeat, but Shaq was the guy, make no mistake about it.

Kobe's 81

The years after Shaq, pre-Pau Gasol

This was a period where Kobe had a chance to establish himself as one of the greatest players to ever live. He was between the ages of 26-28. Free from the Shaq drama, and free to have the offense ran completely around him. They were great years. The 81 point game comes to mind. One of the greatest games the world has ever seen. This game contributed to a lot of the reason why Kobe is overrated. While it was an all time great game, he took a ridiculous 46 shots, and only had two assists to three turnovers. His 46 shots accounted for .527% of his team's shots. That was a problem. Kobe had great statistical seasons at the expense of his teammates.

Those teams were mediocre. One team won only 34 games, and the other teams won 45 and 42 games. Although he did make the playoffs twice in those three years with a pretty horrible supporting cast.

This wouldn't be held against him if he wasn't in the complete prime of his career. He was at the age where he should have improved his game dramatically and became a legitimate superstar. He did do just that, but it didn't translate to team success. At the end of the day, what a player does for his team is what matters most here. At the peak of Kobe's career, he never got past the first round. His teammates were bad, but is that a legitimate excuse?

LeBron James led a team to the NBA Finals with a starting line up that consisted of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Eric Snow, and Sasha Pavlovic. The East wasn't a great conference, but the Cavs beat a great Detroit team in order to reach the Finals.

In Kobe's best season of his career, he put up MVP worthy numbers. (In a year where he scored 81 points and many considered him the MVP) However, he came up short in the playoffs against the Suns in a series they had full control of 3-1. Was the West so tough that year that The Black Mamba couldn't make the Finals? The Lakers held a 3-1 series lead versus a Suns' team that had no big men to speak of, and played little-to-no-defense. Was that such a tough task? Was it such a tough task to beat the Los Angeles Clippers? Or how about the Dallas Mavericks? It was by far Kobe's best season of his career even until this day, but the way it ended left a lot to be desired. It was a season where Kobe had a legitimate shot to make the Finals even with a poor cast in the way that LeBron did in 2007.

The Pau Gasol years

These are the years where Kobe Bryant established himself in a historical sense with other all time greats. As soon as Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers, they were an immediate title contender. It would vault Kobe to MVP status. He finally won his first NBA MVP award, and eventually would win two Finals MVPs. That is all great. Here is the problem.

It took, arguably, one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history to make the Lakers a title contender again. Pau Gasol has arguably been just as good as Kobe in each season. He has more win shares than Kobe since that trade to this day. He was arguably the Finals MVP in a tough Finals versus the Boston Celtics in 2010. A series in which Kobe shot 6-24 in Game 7. No, Pau wasn't the best player on those Laker teams, but if you really wanted to, you could make the case that he was, because Kobe never really separated himself from Pau in the way that other all time greats did. Meaning, there was no question that Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, or even Shaq were the best players during most if not all of their championship seasons. Kobe was the best player on these teams, but he left it up for much debate.

Finals performances

Kobe has two Finals MVPs to his credit, and he was worthy of both of them. Before he won those Finals MVPs, it wasn't so rosy for him in the Finals. It's not that Kobe shoots just above 40% for his Finals' career, but it's the shot selection in those Finals. Many have attributed the Lakers defeat in the 2004 Finals to the Detroit Pistons because of his poor shooting and shot selection. That's not really fair to Kobe. You lose as a team. The fact of the matter is though, Kobe had a habit for not playing well in the Finals. He's had his share of great games, but they were few and far in between.

As for his Finals MVPs, he was worthy of both of them, but Pau Gasol was also worthy of one of them. This goes back to the point about Kobe not doing enough to separate himself from the rest of his teammates. Kobe didn't do that in 2010. You can make a strong case for Pau. He was just as important to that championship as Kobe was.

Overall, when stacked up against other all time greats, Kobe's performances in the Finals are underwhelming, and he doesn't have that stand out performance that will be etched in your mind until the day you close your eyes for the last time.

Stats and accolades

Kobe certainly has many accolades and great overall statistics. He is 5th all time on the NBA scoring list. He has two scoring titles. He's scored 81 points in a game which is the 2nd most all time for a single game. He has an MVP. 12 All-Defensive Teams(9 First-Teams). 14 All-NBA Teams(10 First-Teams). Two gold medals. Two Finals MVPs. 14 All-Star selections including four All-Star MVPs.

All certainly worthy of a top 10 player all time. The dilemma here is the one MVP, and the few scoring titles. You could make a case that he didn't deserve his one MVP in 2007. A year in which Chris Paul was better than Kobe in most statistics and his team finished with a record just as good as Kobe's. His second Finals MVP was also debatable.

Kobe simply needed more rings and Finals MVPs to bolster his position on all time list. Five rings is quite an impressive feat, but in three of them, he was the 2nd best player at best, and the other two, he was slightly the best player. When you consider that he has played on title contenders for almost the entirety of his career, is five rings really that impressive?

In Kobe's 16 seasons in the league, he hasn't had a team great enough to win a championship in exactly three of them. Literally every other team he has been on has had the talent around it to win a championship. That's 13 seasons, and only five rings when you consider the franchise has 16 NBA championships. Many seem to think that the Lakers weren't good enough to win a championship last year. Excuse me, but is having a defensive specialist like Artest, two top 5 big men in Pau and Bynum, and a solid bench not enough for one of the greatest players of all time? How about the year before when they got swept by the Mavs? Was Bynum, Pau, Odom, Artest not enough? How do you not threepeat with that team? How do you allow Phil Jackson to go out in a sweep like that?

Five rings is a lot, but when you compare Kobe's situation to that of MJ's, it isn't really comparable. If you had given MJ the amount of opportunities to win championships that Kobe has been afforded, more than likely, he would have won more than five. We know that for sure because MJ won six with lesser teammates. So it could have been somewhere around eight or nine for MJ in Kobe's position.

Fortune

One could argue, that there is not a single NBA player in history that has had as much support or talent around him as Kobe has. He came into the league on a loaded team with Shaquille O'Neal as the best player. Arguably the best coach of all time, Phil Jackson, has coached him for the majority of his career. To put that in perspective, Phil Jackson coached Kobe more years than he coached MJ.

After the Shaq era, it took no more than three years for the Lakers to reload and become a contender again with the acquisition of Pau Gasol. They recently just acquired the best center in the NBA, Dwight Howard. Putting Kobe in position to win his sixth championship ring

Kobe has been the most fortunate player in NBA history, yet he has just five rings to show for it. One could argue that this good fortune is the very reason why he has so many rings in the first place. More so than his play on the court.

Prime example of his perception in the clutch.  Shoots 28% for seven seasons and ESPN decides to highlight Kobe in the clutch only when Kobe is shooting well in the clutch.
Prime example of his perception in the clutch. Shoots 28% for seven seasons and ESPN decides to highlight Kobe in the clutch only when Kobe is shooting well in the clutch. | Source

In the clutch

Kobe is certainly clutch. There is no denying that. He has the ability to make big shots. Impossible shots that you don't think are earthly possible. You can't leave him one-on-one in the waning seconds of a game. But here we are with another conundrum. Though Kobe is clutch, the shot selection is not. Bypassing open teammates to shoot Hail Kobe's over two defenders is not the ideal way to try to win a basketball game in the closing seconds. So while Kobe is clutch, he takes many bad shots in the clutch. Kobe being so fearless in the clutch is a gift and a curse. His bad shot selection has led to a very minuscule shooting percentage in the clutch. Since 2001, Kobe has shot .395% in the 4th quarter or overtime with two minutes or less left in the quarter.

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Jordan vs. Kobe comparisons

From the point that Kobe was a mere 17 years old, he's been compared to Michael Jordan. He certainly had the talent and the skill set. He had all the makings of being the next Jordan. He has even come so far that he has a resume that is comparable to that of Jordan. But that is only if you look at Kobe's resume in a vacuum. Very often is Kobe's career viewed that way. Many don't identify the intricacies of Kobe's championship success. The great fortune he has had compared to other all time greats. The fact that he came to a loaded Los Angeles Lakers team and couldn't make an immediate impact like other all time greats.

Kobe just doesn't compare to Jordan when you think of his production in terms of time spent in the league, his playoff success, and his legacy. It's not just that Jordan completely blows Kobe away in scoring titles, MVPs, and Finals MVPs. It was his will to win. His memorable moments. His shot selection. How often he came through in big moments(especially in the Finals). How he did so much with less.

Pippen is one of the best players to ever put the ball in the hoop, but when you consider the Bulls' lack of interior presence, you can't help but applaud what MJ did in a Bulls uniform. He simply did more than Kobe, but without the great fortune that Kobe has had.

Frankly, Kobe just doesn't compare to Jordan from a historical standpoint. Regardless of how much he's elevated.

My thoughts exactly.
My thoughts exactly. | Source

Do you think Kobe Bryant is overrated?

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Conclusion

Kobe truly is one of the best basketball players to have ever walked the earth. But when stacked up against the likes of other all time greats from a historical standpoint; such as MJ, Magic, Kareem, Wilt, Russell, Bird, and even Shaq, he doesn't compare. He didn't have the immediate impact that they had. He wasn't the best player on most of his championship teams. When he was the best player on a championship team, it wasn't by much. He has had the greatest fortune of any player in NBA history. Even more so than Bill Russell who had so many Hall of Fame teammates. Although most of Russell's teammates wouldn't have made the Hall of Fame without him.

Kobe has the accolades and stats, but they don't tell the entire story. How he came about those accolades and stats is a subject for debate. Whether or not he legitimately deserved all of those NBA First-Teams or all those First-Team All-Defenses. His longevity which allowed him to attain so many accolades and stats. Or even his MVP in which Chris Paul probably deserved. Pau Gasol was also just as worthy of Finals MVP in 2010.

Is Kobe all time great? Certainly. But is he as good as the media and his fans say he is? Absolutely not. His historical excellence is elevated to a ridiculous degree. There is no shame in saying Kobe is one of the greatest basketball players ever. But when you start putting him in the discussion with MJ, Magic, Russell, Kareem, or even Bird from a historical standpoint, you are going too far. Kobe is great, but his impact on the Lakers hasn't been anything like that of those players on their teams. The Lakers were winning before Kobe, with Kobe, and will win after Kobe.

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      Alejandro 5 months ago

      Agree with the central argument, tho this is very poorly written.

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      IloveMJ 7 months ago

      This is the worst article I have ever read. I mean dude the only people that say Kobe isn't top 10 all time are haters.

      Also, the reason kobes stats aren't as good as the other greats is because he didn't care about scoring champions and field goal percentage and stuff. He also was coming off the bench and didn't get a lot of min in his first year which messed up his stats and so he couldn't win rookie of the year. Btw you can't say that kg Moses Malone or Lebron had an impact right away too because if they came into the league behind a fan favorite all-star at there position that had a good year the year before they arrived they wouldn't be starting and getting a lot of min. Another thing is Kobe was the 13th pick and there is no way a thirteenth pick would ever start over an all-star caliber player as an 18 year old. Also the reason Lebron was picked number one and started right away was because he was on a bad team and teams saw how good kg and Kobe were and they both came out of high school that he would be the automatic number one pick and lebron was on a bad team who didn't and didn't have an allstar player at his position, so he started. Another reason that his stats aren't as good is that he played the last few years after he tore his Achilles. If you remember before he did that he was still an all star in the league.

      Btw though he wasn't that selfish I mean he did what he had to to win the game and that was to score and he knew there was a better percentage of him making it than his teammates. I bet you if he was surrounded by shooters like Lebron, harden, steph curry, has he would pass way more and there would be more spacing which would improve his efficiency because he would have more room to opperate. Same thing with MJ. Also, the amount of defense played nowadays Kobe and mj in there prime would be dominating like crazy. They would also be racking up more dimes and a lot more rebounds because they are both better rebounders than Westbrook and guards get more rebounds then they used to.

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      Matt Day 11 months ago

      How overrated Kobe is. Every statement has a basis of - overrate. Like this. LA could've never won those titles 00-02 w/o him. He joins the likes of every #2 in history. No team can win w/o a #2. There's nothing historically irreplaceable about that. In fact, of all Title teams in history, I'd label him the least relevant #2 in history. Why?

      00-02. Games w/o Kobe and w/ Shaq. 25-6, .806 (that's 66.1 Wins/82Gms)

      In those same 31 Gms, Record w/ Shaq, no Kobe, vs teams that were eventual 50+ Win teams each season 00-02: 8-4, only 4 Home & 8 were Road Gms. That's difficult to do 12 Gms deep vs +/-.500 teams.

      How about Kobe no Shaq 00-02? 12-13, below .500

      Pau's 7'1+, dude is huge... At or near his prime what'd Kobe ever do w/o a TRUE 7-footer at 37 or more Mins? That'd be 05-07, 112-111, 1 game over .500. He did nothing.

      Now name a more desperate hiring in Pro Sports history than Phil in 05. He was 60+ yrs old, a year out of basketball, yr removed from being fired (contract not renewed)... Makes perfect sense he got BY FAR the largest contract in NBA history. The contract made NO sense from a leverage/market standpoint. And it was from the same organization who fired him 11 months earlier. Making it that much less nonsensical. Why? They realized they made an enormous mistake. Kobe went 28-38 as a Starter. They either learned or were reminded he wasn't a help-defender, and that he had no true ID offensively. And he didn't make others better. They were lost, and called on the only coach who knew what he was as a player. Phil & his agent knew this, & it's how Phil got the contract that he did (that made NO sense from a leverage/market standpoint).

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      Billy Taylor 14 months ago from NY

      Kobe might be the most UNDERRATED player of all time. His teammates say he is the hardest working person on the team. First in practice and last to leave. I think there could be a discussion abut Kobe being the BEST payer to ever play.

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      R.J. 14 months ago

      Bryant is the most over rated of all time. Imagine Lebron,or even Allen Iverson playing with a fully loaded squad like kobi had. Imagine kobi with the team that picked him,the Hornets. Absolutely Zero rings. The lack of fear of taking the last shot never makes you clutch,it just make you attention starved,until you make em,then you're clutch(sorry kobi). The article points to absolute facts backed by real numbers.

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      Garett 14 months ago

      Kobe is one of the greatest scorers of all time but it's true he doesn't make his teammates betters and he can't carry a team very far on his own.therefore he is overrated and because he plays in l.a he gets attention because he is always on the spotlight. So when he scores a lot the casual fan makes him seembetter than he is.

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      Jeff 18 months ago

      Well I just think you got bored an hate Kobe so you just thought you'd trash talk him you have good points... But last time I checked anyone I mean anyone who won 5 yes 5 championships isn't overrated.. I mean yeah you can say wow look at his team he won two without huge name guys pau was good an all an other names but they weren't like legends or hall of famers by no means. I'm a Celtic fan and I can say Kobe was great. Yes he took bad shots yes he missed a lot.. They all do Jordan did also. Yes he had games where he probably shouldn't have shot sooooo much. But at the end of the day the man can do what hardly anyone can besides Jordan is the only one ever to be better than him in clutch shots. Yes it's good to make a team around you great jus by being one person as in Lebron Magic Jordan. But like Jordan Kobe is a killer when it's time to hit the big shots an show up he was a master at closing out games that's why he will always be better than curry Lebron KD whatever you haters think. But Kobe done it best when it all was on the line I mean yeah he has a bad game he missed every shot but those last few mins he hits huge shots no one else ever could then comes down to the last second Kobe gets it an hits it.. He was so clutch so yes there is so much bad to point out on his career ? But there is many bad things to point out on Lebron to Lebron still can't to this dad close a game well he isn't very clutch an that's okay... Jus isn't him but that don't mean I call him overrated I'm not saying I don't agree with anything even tho it may have sounded that way. I just know Kobe went out as a legend an one of a kind player pound for pound one of the most clutch an best one on one scorers to ever play this game. So that all that alone is enough to be no where near overrated? Come on dude wake up.. Lol

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      u99u88 18 months ago

      If the purpose of an NBA possession is to score points then don't give the ball to Kobe, because 55% of the time he will fail. Amazing stat -- in 20 years he never has a single season shooting 47% or higher. Not one.

      He never had a post season shooting better than 47.9%. Not one.

      All NBA defense. What a joke. 1.4 steals and .5 blocks. Jordan was 2.3 steals and .8 blocks. When did Kobe ever shut someone down?

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      u99u88 18 months ago

      The problem is that HE thinks he is in the top 3.

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      Jay 20 months ago

      Wow! Finally some one put some sense in to clueless Kobe fans who think he is top 5 all time great. I been saying to a lot of moron who never understood the game, no one could of explained it better than you, with all the facts and stas, numbers don't lie! thanks. Without shaq or pau, Kobe has ZERO ring!!!

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      Brendan 20 months ago

      Had to stop reading when you brought up rookie of the year. Jordan played 3 years of college as well as every other player mentioned besides Lebron.

      If Kobe played 3 years of college like Jordan he would have won rookie of the year as well. Look where he was year 4 and that's the equivalent of Jordan

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      Scott 20 months ago

      I'll take nba legends of past and presents opinion over a kobe hating writer any day. You're and overrated writer.

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      GiancarloLorenzo is a dumb faggot 20 months ago

      " No, Pau wasn't the best player on those Laker teams, but if you really wanted to, you could make the case that he was, "

      You cant make a case, Kobe was never outscored by Gasol in playoff series while Kobe outscored Shaq bunch of times? hole in your dumbass kobe hating logic

      "Many have attributed the Lakers defeat in the 2004 Finals to the Detroit Pistons because of his poor shooting and shot selection."

      Nope, Detroit kept throwing weakside help at him and zoning on him. His shot selection and shooting was bad because of the defense on him,

      Detroit used zone defense in games 3-4-5 when Kobe torched them in Game 2.

      "A year in which Chris Paul was better than Kobe in most statistics and his team finished with a record just as good as Kobe's. His second Finals MVP was also debatable."

      Not at all. Kobe Bryant was the clear 2008 MVP. Kobe only played 27 games with Pau Gasol that year, and still led the Lakers to the best record in the West. Pau was also doing nothing in Memphis at the time, only having a 10-29 record in 2007/08 when he played in Memphis, as opposed to 22-5 playing with Kobe. Kobe was 35-20 without Gasol that year, which would be a 52-win pace for a full season. Bynum was also injured and finished for the year halfway through the season.

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      GiancarloLorenzo is a dumb faggot 20 months ago

      " Kobe Bryant was the complete opposite. He wasn't a factor at all in his rookie season. He wasn't a factor until his sophomore season. Overall, his numbers in his first three seasons are underwhelming. Many in favor of Kobe like to omit this portion of his career"

      Rookie sand sophomore season were bench warming seasons, also his third season was a lockout, shortened season so bad examples. LA got the best defense when he became a starter in a full season and he made 1st team defense. He made a impact on defense

      "Shaq was the guy on those Laker teams. He dominated despite the defense throwing everything at him and the kitchen sink. He made Kobe's job a lot easier by drawing all the defensive focus. He dominated every Finals."

      Shaq was only double teamed when he five feet away from the basket, dont pretend that Kobe wasnt double teamed when he ran to the paint. Shaq only dominated the NBA finals because he had easy competition, he got outscored by Kobe when he had tougher competition like the Spurs. Sure Kobe got one on one plays in the perimeter but he was taking long two's vs Bruce Bowen who played against Lebron in 2007, what happend there? They did double off Shaq on Kobe when Shaq didnt get a low post position

      "LeBron James led a team to the NBA Finals with a starting line up that consisted of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Eric Snow, and Sasha Pavlovic. The East wasn't a great conference, but the Cavs beat a great Detroit team in order to reach the Finals."

      Detroit team that had 52 wins and got rid of their HOF coach and 4 time DPOY center the year before wow

      "he came up short in the playoffs against the Suns in a series they had full control of 3-1. Was the West so tough that year that The Black Mamba couldn't make the Finals? The Lakers held a 3-1 series lead versus a Suns' team that had no big men to speak of, and played little-to-no-defense. Was that such a tough task?"

      He went pass mode u fuckin dumbass in the second half of G7, you obviously dont know anything about Phoenix at that time. They had the best offense of the decade and whos fault his teammates couldnt shoot and play defense.

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      Tim 20 months ago

      When you bring up Pau and then you compare Kobe to MJ it's like you are forgetting MJ had Pippen and Rodman added as well. Before then, he couldn't get over the hump to get a title. So does that make MJ inferior too?

      Look, yes Kobe had good players with him but so did the other greats in their own right and at that time. Also I'm pretty sure no other great player had anywhere near the number of coachin changes or just down right bad coaches as Kobe did.

      On a different note I would like to get your feedback on what you think of the NBA rank putting Curry at 22 at this point in his career with 3 all star games, 1 mvp, and 1 championship with the loaded roster he has around him.

      It was a well rounded and informational article, it's just that while you bring up the players Kobe had around him, MJ had a great two Hall of Famers with him too. Kobe has also been the main player a majority of the league notes having looked up to and modeled their game after so in that way he has also transcended the game. The players that can have that type of effect are typically remembered as being great. Kobe blended his game from all those before him and added his own flare to it which is why he was so great.

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      iBleedGreen 20 months ago

      Well written. Only hardcore Laker/Kobe fans will disagree with you, despite the facts. To me KB is somewhere inside the top 15 all time. KB is this generations Air Jordan, maybe that's why he is held to such a standard. If we're talking about one on one basketball, I'd put KB in the top 5 easy. But last I checked Basketball is a team sport, KB has been publicly known to be a bad teammate, doesn't make players around him better like other all time greats, and is inefficient offensively. The numbers don't lie. He might be the most selfish player in NBA history.

      Anyway, still an of the all time great there's no denying that, but overrated for sure.

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      xXx 20 months ago

      Who ever wrote this stupid article should either stop breeding or hang himself to death, along with his family. LMFAO! you went full retard here, buddy.

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      thewatcher1977 20 months ago

      it's funny how people kept stating that Kobe was only 17 when he entered the league. Actually he was 17 when drafted, 18 when he the league started.

      Guess who else was 18 when the league started... LEBRON JAMES.

      So please stop with the "how do you expect a kid to compete" nonsense.

      Other notable teenagers:

      -Moses Malone

      -Amare Stoudemire

      -Darryl Dawkins

      -Shawn Kemp

      -Kevin Garnett (the year before Kobe)

      All of them were instant impact players for their teams.

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      Spenser 20 months ago

      I think you forget just how good the western conference has been since kobe joined the league. Dipshit.

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      Ivan Ooze 2 years ago

      Jordan Fan- Don't expect this moron to give you a rebuttal. He expects a 17 year old to come in and contribute when the athleticism is at the height it was. Wilt came in averaging 35 points and 27 rebounds? What does that say about the quality of players in the league back then? Jordan played in a finals against a team that started 4 white guys with one of them being 36 years old. Lol. Kobe being on stacked teams? Look at those Lakers rosters. Derek Fisher? Horry was clutch but he wasn't an awesome 4, Rick Fox? Brian Shaw? lmao! On the second one he had an ok Lamar Odom, an on the decline Artest, and Pau was pretty good. Wow. Not to mention he called the trade for Pau lopsided although Memphis got the rights to Marc Gasol and a first rounder in 08 and 10. Jordan had one of the best wing defenders ever, one of the best non-center rebounders ever, the best player in the olympics that wasn't on the U.S. team, and continuity with absolutely no injuries to important players. I think this author grew up around power lines.

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      Jordan Fan 2 years ago

      Poorly written article with little knowledge for the intangibles of the game.

      Kobe :

      62 points in 3 quarters

      55 points in a half

      81 in a game

      Averaged nearly 44 in one month

      4 times he averaged 40 in a month

      NBA RECORD 16 straight 30 pt games

      NBA RECORD 12 -3 pointers in 1 game

      MOST NBA 1st by a guard in history

      MOST NBA DEFENSIVE 1st team in by a guard in NBA HISTORY

      ONLY PLAYER IN NBA HISTORY with 30,000 points AND 6,000 ASSISTS

      MOST ASSISTS by a SG in NBA HISTORY

      MOST CLUTCH GAME WINNERS in NBA HISTORY

      The above is just HARD FACTS, not even the intangibles.

      Basketball is ENTERTAINMENT, and for my money, KOBE was the ONLY player worth the price of admission.

      NOT DIRK, NOT LEBRON, NOT MCGRADY.

      It was KOBE that on a nightly basis put out EFFORT, played through any injury, and did something I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

      Kobe's accomplishments were HERCULIAN, BABE RUTHIAN, not even the great MJ could or did accomplish.

      KOBE played against bigger, better athletes, against more sophisticated defensive schemes, including zone defenses, often against double and triple teams, in an era where scoring averages were significantly lower than the 80's where teams were scoring 130's regularly & the best players ie Magic, Bird, McHale played no defense. Jordan's tough guy defender was Joe Dumars. Kobe's defender prototype were guys like Doug Christie, Ruben Patterson, Bruce Bowen, Tony Allen, PLUS a second and often a 3rd defender.

      Oh and if championships define a player KOBE HAS FIVE ...

      IN 2 DIFFERENT ERA'S as the COMMON DENOMINATOR, going against MUCH MORE STACKED COMPETITION THAM JORDAN EVER WENT THROUGH.

      Kobe has BY FAR the MOST WINS IN THE PLAYOFFS against TEAMS of 50 wins or more (Look it up).

      Kobe just perfected all of Jordan's moves. His footwork, his post moves, his elbow jumper etc.

      By the way Kobe is a better shooter than Jordan.

      The SCIENTIFIC way of evaluating a shooter, is by taking away ALL VARIABLES,,, ie just look at Free throw shooting, Kobe trumps Jordan there as well. In other words, a player can take all their shots from within 5 feet, or slam dunk, and falsely elevate their FG pctg, but not be shooting many 3's, end of the clock shots, etc.

      Bottom line, there are far too many intangibles that this poorly written, bias article leaves out, ironically just by merit alone Kobe is a top 5 player.

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      Slim 2 years ago

      You're clearly a writer who dislike Kobe..

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      Billy Taylor 2 years ago from NY

      Ask his teammates - Kobe is the hardest worker on the team. First in the gym and last to leave. If this is not a testament to greatness I do not know what else is. There is no better source than his own team.

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      easydrew 3 years ago

      I totally disagree. Overrated. You are a good writer who hates kobe.

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      donnie pate 3 years ago

      Kobe is not in my top 20 greatest of all time.Kobe with the talent on them Lakers teams the last 15 yrs the Lakers should have won 10 championships. he is not clutch when he plays horrible in games he blames his teammates look at the history of him choking in games then being bailed out by his tmates . I've never seen him take over in the playsoffs .look at the films of the true great ones these players was the the greatest Kareem bird Russell magic Jordan moses Malone Dr.j Hakeem shaq Duncan Oscar look at the film of these players then you will know the truth that Kobe wasn't so great after all and it really is a disgrace that Kobe would be mentioned in the same breath as michael Jordan what a joke people soon forget how great these players was if Kobe had played in the 80 and 90 he never wins a championship

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      Billburr 3 years ago

      Terrible article, Skip Bayless

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      poo 3 years ago

      wow, this is incredibly bias and its very clear in your article that you have a personal problem with kobe.

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      lesliebyars 4 years ago

      Bryant is not Jordan and there are many other players I put ahead of him as well such as Kareem, Bird,Russell, dr. J and Johnson.

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      Andrew 4 years ago

      Don't forget the Lakers barely squeaked into the playoffs with their ridiculously stacked team. LeBron over Kobe any day.

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      Ray Williams 4 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Must be a Kobe homer with all the excuses. Pau Gasol led the Lakers in win shares in his first four seasons there. If LeBron came to a stacked team he still would have started, because he's a better player than Kobe ever will be, period. Same with the other all time greats. LOL @ even trying to hype Big Z and Drew Gooden. That must be a joke. If I use stats, that just clearly makes Kobe inferior to other all time greats. Not to mention his three combined MVPs. Kobe's resume just doesn't measure up with other all time greats.

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      everett 4 years ago

      I think you missed some very key elements in your post, you say kobe didn't have an immediate impact on his team, he was a 17 year old kid coming to a playoff team. If he was given a bad team like lebron was his numbers would be much better, he was 17 and came to a team that had an all-star in Eddie Jones that played the same position as him. And you talk about the pre gasol years Kobe had to average 35 points a night just to keep them in ball games his supporting cast was the worst ever. Smush parker, Luke Walton, Kwame Brown, are you serious? Lebron took the cavs to the finals in a weak east but big Z was an all-star Drew Gooden was a top 10 pick and eric snow was the starting guard on a team that went to the finals with Allen Iverson and once Lebron got to the finals he got swept! And how dare you say that he didn't separate himself from Pau Gasol you can't be serious that's one of the dumbest things in this whole post. Check the numbers dude! i noticed you didn't back your argument up with any statistical info. And that's for a reason cause kobe's numbers are laughably better than gasols. I could go on and on about this ridiculous post but its clear this is far more opinionated than factual.

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      ruxpin810 4 years ago

      I agree with a lot of your points but how can u say that the 81 points was overrated? Ya, he took 46 shots but I was at the game, the lakers getting blown out and Kobe had to get going for them to win that game. And you mentioned he had great stats at the expense of his teammates. I know Kobe is known to be a ballhog but I bet most of you didn't know that he lead his team in assists for all 5 of his championships. And I agree with you that Kobe is nowhere near mj but do you know how many times mj lead his team in assists for his 6 rings? None, Scottie led them in assists for all 6 rings. How about 62 points in 3 qtrs? Outscoring the entire mavs team? And you say he didn't deserve his MVP and that cp3 did? Kobe deserved the MVP when nash won one season and nash only got it cuz he had a better record than the lakers so call it even with winning over cp3. Kobe is no mj but he's no overrated like you say he is. He worked hard to be the player that he is and he wasn't gifted with the size and athleticism that most of the greats that you say he shouldn't be mentioned with. You've never played basketball or don't understand much about it if you don't think he deserves to be considered one of the all time greats. Most, if not all, of the greats you mentioned have said that Kobe is one of the all time greats. I think I value their opionion a little more than yours ;-)

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      Scott 4 years ago

      In regards to your "immediate impact" section, every player you mentioned spent time in college and entered the NBA at a later age than KB. By the time Kobe was 21 years old he was averaging over 22 ppg and winning a championship.

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      jfrutis 4 years ago

      How did the Bulls do when Jordan retired? They lost only two more games than the season before when Jordan was playing! So you can also argue that Jordan was just a pawn in Phil Jacksons amazing scheme! I don't believe any of the Lakers teams post- Shaq would have even made the playoffs without Kobe like "MJs" Bulls did! Js!

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      rob 4 years ago

      basketball is a team sport and kobe has been fortunate to play on good teams that have won titles.if finals mvp award existed before 69,russell and havlicek would have more.kobe as top 15 all time great is ranking him to high.the one thing kobe does best is score.81pt game is great,but its just one game.25pg at 45% fg is not great.gervin(4 scoring titles),oscar,west,jordan are better scoring guards.kobe fg% on good teams is the result of him taking bad(double team,fade away)shots.my top 15 all time in no order wilt,jabbar,russell,hakeem,moses,duncan,bird,erving,jordan,west,gervin,oscar,magic,barkley,baylor(despite poor 43%fg was great rebounder).kobe longevity numbers won't allow him to crack this list.

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      Ray Williams 4 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      I believe Kobe is at least top 10 or 15, but I just don't believe he's on the level of MJ, Russell, Magic, Kareem, Bird, etc.. And I agree, Kobe has been a bit overrated as a defender. Overall, I pretty much agree with everything you've said.

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      rob 4 years ago

      oops!bird wasn't guard.i meant havlicek better all around player than kobe.

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      rob 4 years ago

      great article.kobe definitely overrated.not top 10 or 15 all time.basketball is a team sport and rings should not be weighed so heavy as a criteria of ones greatness.25pg 45%fg,2 scoring titles in 16 years does not make you a deadly scorer.west 27,47% jordan 30,49% oscar 25,48% gervin 26,51% are guards who were better scorers than kobe.before kobe existed,clutch meant big game performance.not last shot of game.media hype has changed the definition of clutch and great player.there are guards with better all around game also.bird,magic,frazier,drexler,wade to name few.numbers don't lie.kobe is most overrated as a defender.wade and gervin have played 400 fewer games than him and have more block shots.duncan,shaq,lebron have been better in kobes era.how is rated top 5 all time?

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      Ray Williams 4 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Thank you.

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      Ingenira 4 years ago

      Well written. You are a great writer; you wrote very engaging topic. Voted up.

    • GiancarloLorenzo profile image
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      Ray Williams 5 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Kobe is a legend. I don't hate Kobe. But when Kobe is compared to other legends, he is often overrated and put on a higher pedestal than he deserves.

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      stone 5 years ago

      kobe is a legend to the nba some people think lebron is better but wait till you see kobe and dwight howard play together.......they gone be mean to the heat

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      MundaneMondays 5 years ago

      LMAO Scottie Pippen, Harsh, but i will say it's truth

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      Ray Williams 5 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      LOL, well said.

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      Oilersmyth 5 years ago from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

      @jeolmoz2 EXACTLY!

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      Julio E Olmo Sr 5 years ago from Florida, USA

      Having the benefit of watching Jordan play his entire career and watching Lebron now, plus also also having the opportunity to watch Kobe Bryant helps me answer this question. Michael Jordan. Jordan's career reads like an Ivy League Basketball Resume. LeBron is physically stronger, but Jordan had (still has) this competitive edge border-lining on the compulsive side, which LeBron James doesn't have. Kobe Bryant? Kobe has the stats comparable to Jordan, but he's just Scottie Pippen in a Lakers uniform.

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      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree with you. But I think the reason Kobe was so elevated in basketball is because in the post-MJ era there were no other players who could really fill that position. And the media and some sports lovers appointed him as the new MJ. There's no MJ 2.0, MJ is MJ. Kobe has done some great things but not to the extent of redefining the sport like some say. Great hub!

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      MundaneMondays 5 years ago

      you think Lebron is as good as people say but not Kobe ? As much as i hate Kobe Bryant i can't say that, he has to be the best in the league right now. Lebron has no good fundamentals to me, he just has size, and "showmanship" as a matter of fact his showmanship is the key to his success, all that flopping and over acting he does for fouls is just not Basketball, he's too big to be such a wimp, he has some skill but has nothing on Wade or Kobe

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      Ray Williams 5 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      I don't think I can do one on LeBron. I think he's overrated a bit, but he's actually as good as people say he is. I don't think Kobe is.

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      MundaneMondays 5 years ago

      Great now do one on Lebron James lol ...he's oo overrated to me ..i dig low key guys like Barkley and Hakeem as well as Van Exel

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      Ray Williams 5 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      I gotta admit, ibrad, when I saw from S California, I thought you were gonna tear me a new one. MJ=GOAT

      Agree, oiler. He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but he's put on too high of a pedestal. For more proof, look no further than this video. LOL @ Kobe fans.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v27Hk5OIe-k&fea...

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      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      Wow, you really did a great job laying this hub out.

      I am not a sports fan, but I thought that Michael Jordan was the best to watch, and they he outclassed Magic.

      As you mentioned there is a comparison to be made between MJ and Kobe. I would still go with MJ.

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      Oilersmyth 5 years ago from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

      I totally agree with you. There are some aspects that are amazing about Kobe (like his performance as clutch). But he can't be compared to the all time champions. He's overrated to a certain point. Yeah, he's a great basketball player, one of the best in the NBA, but he certainly isn't a good comparison to players like MJ and Kareem.