The all-time greatest NBA player debate is back in full swing after ESPN recently released its list of the top 74 players of all-time.
There is plenty to discuss up and down the list, but one that has gotten some attention is the placement of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant whose place on all-time lists seems to fluctuate more than most.
Kobe was one of six current or former Lakers to be ranked in the top-10, but some have taken umbrage with him coming in at No. 9. Of course, ESPN’s list has spawned many others in the immediate aftermath, and while everyones ranking is different, some former players believe that not enough love is being given to the Lakers legend.
Veteran Jamal Crawford is one of those who is dumbfounded with Kobe’s rankings and took to his Twitter to say that he can’t honor any list that has Kobe outside of the top-5. Kobe’s former Lakers teammate, Caron Butler, wholeheartedly agreed with Crawford:
Thank You https://t.co/qB00kz8bYy
— Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice) May 13, 2020
It is always interesting to see how lists differ based on who is putting them together. When it comes to the media and analytics, it seems that Bryant almost always tends to slip towards the bottom part of the top 10.
When it comes to the players however, especially those that played against Kobe, he is almost always in the top-5 if not even higher. The respect and admiration Kobe has from his peers is unparalleled.
While statistics and accomplishments tell a good chunk of the story, certain players transcend those numbers and Kobe Bryant is one of those guys. Anyone who had to face him regularly simply has a different view on him and what he brought to the floor with his unrivaled passion and unrelenting ability to win at all costs.
These types of lists are meant to spark debate and very few players in the history of the league have been debated more than Kobe Bryant. Simply put the Lakers legend is one of the most polarizing players ever and his placement on lists like these reflect that. One thing that never changes however is the respect he has from those who were on the floor with him.
You could argue that no one can give a better assessment of a player than those who faced him most and when it comes to that, Kobe is always at or near the top of the list.