Kobe vs Everybody
In 1996 just finishing high school, Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant would be introduced to the NBA. Being drafted 13th overall by then the Charlotte Hornets he was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. When Jerry West, who was at the time Lakers Manager, made the trade he knew that Kobe would add flair and talent to team. In the same year Lakers signed free agent Shaquille O'Neal from Orlando Magic. Shaq and Kobe would team up and lead the Lakers. However, there were questions asked when Kobe Bryant would made it to the starting five. The media would question his abilities and how he would bring his inexperience to the NBA. Not many players would make the transition from high school to the pros. Such a age young, everyone saw Kobe as a young boy who did not belong to the NBA. However, little do we know, Kobe proved everyone wrong.
Like any young rookie, you would start slow. Not Kobe. He played his games as if he was playing in the finals. Especially playing for the Lakers you would not want to disappoint nobody, not even Jack Nicholson. Plus they love the show time in Los Angeles and Kobe show offed his fancy skills with hard dunks and great ball handling, he proved to the media that this Kobe Bryant his ready to take the NBA by storm. In which case he did prove to the world by winning his first NBA championship in 2000 against the Indiana Pacers. Then again in 2001 against the Sixers and then he earned his third ring in 2002 against the Nets. It was that time the Kobe Bryant was recognized as one of the best players in the world.
However in 2003-2004 season, the Lakers would add NBA basketball legends Karl Malone and Gary Payton to help Kobe and Shaq win their fourth rings. In fact, they made it to the finals against the Pistons. With the Lakers roster filled with talent and great players they came short has the Pistons would win and become NBA World Champions. It was then that a lot of tension was being mounted into the Laker roster. It was a shocker that a great experience team like the Lakers would lose to a much inexperience team like the Pistons. Was it because of too much talent on the team that lead to their lost? Karl Malone and Gary Payton did not fit into the team? Who is to blame? Kobe not passing? Shaq getting older and fatter? As a result, the Lakers just did not play well as a team.
Eventually, Kobe Bryant would get the spot like. Karl Malone retires for the game even though he did not win an NBA championship. Gary Payton would sign for another team. As for the Shaq and Kobe partnership was just fading away. Both would criticize each others abilities on the court and then a feud had build between them. In fact in 2004, Shaq was traded to the Heat leaving Kobe in the Lakers. With no help, Kobe ran the show in LA. He lead the Lakers by myself. Kobe became a master to the basketball game. He was scoring outrageous points, 40 plus a game. 81 points against Toronto Raptors in 2006, the second highest points ever scored in one game. Kobe was unstoppable. He could not stop scoring so many points a game. He went from better, to good to the very best.
On the other hand, Kobe would lead his Lakers to the playoffs from 2004-2007 but never made it to the NBA finals. And came short again in 2008 finals where Kobe and his Lakers would lose out against the new Boston Celtics team to win their record 17th NBA championship. But Kobe being Kobe would not give up so easily, in 2009, Kobe got his fourth ring beating the Orlando Magic. Then in 2010, he would show off to Shaq that he got more rings than he does where Kobe would gather his 5th championship ring beating the mighty Boston Celtics.
From a high school basketball star, to an NBA champion, to a Olympic Gold Kobe Bryant has won the major crowns. He was just a young boy playing in the NBA who had dreams and goals for him to achieve in the future. Now he had conquered the world of basketball. In comparison to Michael Jordan, Jordan had to beat the best to be the best. For Kobe, he had to learn from the best to beat the best and he showed that in his games. Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world right now. Although, he is much older right now, Kobe just gets better and better just like a fine wine!