The lack of live sports has left plenty of room for other debates and one that always gets brought up is ranking the greatest NBA players of all-time. ESPN recently came out with a list of the top 74 players of all-time and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant came in at No. 9.
This would lead CBS Sports to come up with their own list of the top-15 players ever and their consensus ranking had Kobe at No. 10. This did not sit well with CBS Sports analyst and one of Kobe’s most fierce rivals, Rip Hamilton.
Hamilton appeared on a CBS Sports HQ broadcast and spoke about the disrespect he believed was being shown to Kobe Bryant with his placement on these lists, and even admitted to being a little intimidated whenever he faced off with the Lakers legend:
“He’s probably the only guy — and Raja (Bell) can probably attest to this — the only guy that I competed against in my 14-year NBA career that when I would come into the game, I was low-key scared. I wasn’t scared of anybody. The reason why is, Kobe was the type of player that was gonna try to kill you when the first minute of play started, all the way until the final buzzer went off. You couldn’t allow him get 10-12 points in the first quarter, because he was gonna try to give you 50. He scored 81 points in a game, he was probably one of the most complete players that we have ever seen in our game of basketball.”
Hamilton’s list was different than the consensus as he had Kobe and LeBron James in a tie for second place behind Michael Jordan followed by two more Lakers legends in Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
One thing all these lists seem to have in common is that they are littered with Lakers greats as Kobe, LeBron, Magic, Kareem, Wilt Chamberlain, and Shaquille O’Neal are basically locks to be in everyone’s top-10 list.
Hamilton’s feelings towards Kobe Bryant are undoubtedly more personal as he faced him many times throughout his career and even in high school as the two were both stars in the Philadelphia area. As Hamilton noted, Kobe’s complete game is something that very few players can match.
In the end, lists like these are meant to be debated and regardless of what order players are ranked, there is sure to be a ton of debate over whether it was right or wrong.