Former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly one of the best players in NBA history. But because of the internet, rather than just appreciating his greatness, where exactly he ranks in the all-time pantheon is a constant matter of debate.
No matter where specifically one argues Bryant belongs among the top players in the history of the game, the other thing that can’t be argued is that he had an outsized impact on the current generation of young NBA talent.
While some of the older generation who grew up watching basketball in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s might not rank Bryant as highly as those players do, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker made it clear to Chris Broussard during an appearance on his “In The Zone” podcast where he would rank Bryant among the greats:
“That’s a tough question. It’s generation-wise for me. It’s hard to just do a top five all-time, because the game was so different in each generation. But I have him in the top five, for sure. Just the way that he impacted the game, he changed the game. People want to look at numbers, efficiency, all that. I’m throwing all that out the window. He was a dog, five titles, Kobe is the man. He had an effect on the game of basketball and my life personally, that not many people will ever have.”
For one of the league’s youngest burgeoning stars, Booker has admirable perspective on this. No one will ever come to a consensus on where Bryant ranks all time because everyone sees the game differently. Booker especially was inspired by Bryant, but some might have related to other players.
It also probably doesn’t hurt Booker’s opinion that the admiration is mutual, with Bryant once bestowing the young Suns guard with a customized pair of shoes after a game imploring him to “Be Legendary.”
No matter the criteria, “legendary” is exactly what Bryant was, no matter where exactly one has him ranked among the greats.
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