As much as Laker fans want to ignore the fact that Kobe Bryant is 32 years old, he will be retiring from the NBA before we know it. Bryant has played every minute as a Laker, and he has dazzled the Staples Center crowd from his very first game. Just like every great player, Bryant’s legacy will be judged based on his championship rings and individual statistics.
No other player has been compared to Michael Jordan more than Kobe Bryant, and it is clear that Kobe not only wants to match Jordan’s six rings — but he wants to surpass them.
Although Kobe has not retired, he is already considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Bryant has the ability to take over a game, and he can do it both on the offensive and defensive end of the court. As of right now, Bryant is averaging 25.3 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game and 4.7 assists per game.
Bryant is currently ranked number eight on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and he will most likely climb two more positions by year’s end. It is hard for Lakers fans to put into words what Bryant has meant to them and the franchise. Bryant brought the Lakers back to glory thanks to his stellar play and leadership on the court.
The young kid from Lower Merion High School has done some ill-advised things in life, but he learned from his mistakes and turned his life around. Kobe’s haters have to realize that he is one of the greatest players to every play the game, and that the NBA may never see a player like Kobe Bryant again. The “haters” constantly bring up the incidents that followed Kobe during his early years in the NBA and his selfish demeanor when discussing his legacy. However, that is no longer a creditable argument since Kobe has fixed his previous flaws. Bryant used his second chance to change his personality and avoid troubling situations; he is no longer a selfish score, but instead a valuable team player.
Perhaps the only reason why people hate on Kobe Bryant now is because he is lethal player who breaks the hearts of his opponents. The naysayers are jealous of Kobe’s skills and the fact that their favorite teams cannot stop the “Black Mamba.”
“I think that now, it has just gotten to the point, where people understand how amazing of a player he truly is, and how exceptional of a career he has had. But since he doesn’t play for their favorite team, and since they have for 14 years, been on the wrong end of his greatness, they hate that aspect about him.” Michael Goldsholl of LakersNation.com said. “So, the only way they know how to deal with that is hate on him for his clouded past – whether that be him being a ball hog for a few seasons or the sexual assault trial – because now, they have nothing of merit to hate on him for.”
Look at the countless buzzer beaters and unprecedented numbers Kobe has accomplished throughout his NBA career. Bryant has worked harder than any other player in the NBA, and he deserves to be praised for this work. Forget his troubled past, and look at what Kobe is doing right now.
Kobe has cemented himself with the NBA’s all-time greats, and it will not be very long until he is considered the greatest player to every play the game. As Sekou Smith put it, “And he should be and will be considered one of the all-time greats. If he didn’t play another second of NBA basketball, that’s already done.”