Despite all the changes to the Lakers’ locker room and, of course, the Kobe Bryant naysayers, Bryant has been putting on a show for the entire league. Kobe scored 48 points, 40 points, 42 points in four consecutive games, the first player to drop more than 40 points this season, and the oldest player in history to score over 40 in three straight games.
So far this season, Bryant is leading the league in scoring with 32.0 ppg and he adds in 5.9 rpg and 5.4 apg. The highest points per game average for a player in his 16th season was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 23 ppg, and the highest average for a guard is Reggie Miller with 14 ppg. Some say this statistic is irrelevant because Abdul-Jabbar and Miller were older than 33 in their 16th season, but Kobe is still averaging more points than both players when they were 33.
And as for Michael Jordan, when he was at age 33, he averaged 29.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 4.3 assists.
For those who will argue that Kobe cannot keep these numbers up and that these stats are only through 14 games, Bryant is playing over 36 minutes per game, more minutes than the 2010-11 season. Now that his knees are essentially 100 percent there should be no reason to doubt that Kobe can and will keep these numbers up. Especially in this Mike Brown offense where the best player constantly has the ball in his hands. LeBron James put up amazing numbers under Brown, and Kobe is doing the exact same thing.
“I think he has exceeded everybody’s expectations. He has always played through injuries better than almost anybody else, but he has still managed to elevate his game this season,” said Daniel Buerge, editor-in-chief of LakersNation.com. “There are still things he needs to improve upon, but this is the best I’ve seen him play since he won the MVP in 2008.”
Still, people seem to forget just how historic and impressive Kobe Bryant has been this year. There seems to be a shield which blocks out all the incredible feats and accolades he has gathered up. To this day people call Kobe a ball-hog, and they believe Kobe’s shooting hurts the Lakers chances. However, no one talks about Jordan shooting the ball too much even though he averaged 22.9 field goal attempts in his career, whereas Kobe averages just 19.4. No one talks about LeBron hogging the ball despite the fact that he puts up 20.5 attempts per game.
All this can be attributed to one thing: no one wants to see Kobe overtake Jordan. We have never seen a more determined and goal-oriented player than Kobe Bryant.
Still, there are going to be pundits who will never give Kobe the credit he deserves. The media and sports shows all over television hype and admire those players who make the headlines and people like LeBron James. But what has LeBron James accomplished that Kobe Bryant hasn’t. Two MVPs okay, but do MVPs really mean you are the best player? Shaquille O’Neal has only won one MVP, so you’re telling me there was just one season where he was the best player in the league?
There may be other players who have better stats than Kobe, but have we ever seen a player this late in his career who has been through so many injuries ball like Kobe has been balling? And another thing, LeBron James’ stats could be little better in assists and rebounds, but how many rings does he have?
The best player in the league is one that helps his team win championships, and in case you aren’t aware, Kobe has more rings than any other star in the NBA right now.
Kobe has proven that no matter what happens to him off the court, no matter what injury he is facing, he will play and he will win.
If Kobe continues this streak and brings home his sixth championship, many people will back-off and will understand just how amazing this man is. However, there will always be those who say, “Well Kobe is one year older now, he can’t win his seventh ring,” and the cycle will only repeat itself.