Every now and then there comes a basketball player who takes the entire league by storm. These special players are what we called superstars and there have been several of them throughout NBA history. The original superstar was Mr. Basketball, former Minneapolis Laker George Mikan. Mikan formed the NBA’s first dynasty, and he helped pave the way for a future of great players and athletes.
As the years passed, the NBA was fortunate enough to showcase players such as Jerry West, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird; however, many fans and analysts believe the NBA’s ultimate superstar was Michael Jordan. Jordan dazzled fans with his unforgettable moves and his offensive arsenal. MJ left the game with a remarkable six NBA championships, five regular season MVPs, six Finals MVPs and a career scoring average of 30.1 points per game.
When Jordan decided to retire from the NBA, people were ready to name him the greatest of all-time. Jordan changed the entire landscape of the NBA and no other player could compete with his breathtaking statistics.
“No one can beat Jordan! No one can come close to matching what Jordan did in his career!” These were the words Jordan’s fans murmured over-and-over again. However, on June 26th, 1996 a young teenager from Lower Merion High School was preparing himself for his NBA journey.
The young man by the name of Kobe Bryant ended that epic day wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey, and he would be paired with the giant Shaquille O’Neal. There was not much hype around the Philadelphia native, but in his mind Bryant knew he could shine amongst the league’s best.
And Bryant did just that. Kobe became one of the league’s best players in a very short time, and he developed the reputation of a high-energy shooting guard. Bryant is currently in his fifteenth NBA season, he has won five NBA championships and two Finals MVPs. However, despite his unprecedented numbers and individual accolades Bryant is still hated by many NBA fans. However, those naysayers have to open their eyes and realize that Kobe Bryant is perhaps the greatest player of this generation and the closest thing that the NBA has ever seen to Michael Jordan.
Next: The Reasons for the Hate