This summer, LeBron James looked at the NBA. He saw Kobe and his five crowns, he saw the Thunder’s sun rising in the distance, he saw the Celtics, Magic, Bulls, and Heat all getting better. He looked at his roster (a roster that had been compiled to ‘win-now’, a mentality LeBron forced on the Cavs through his ridiculous contract set-ups and refusal to commit any part of his future to Cleveland) and decided he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t lead a team to an NBA title by himself. So he fled to Miami to play second fiddle to Wade.
While basketball fans across the country bemoaned LeBron’s decision, Kobe Bryant licked his lips in anticipation, because Kobe knows the opportunity that’s being presented to him now.
Let’s say the Miami Heat make it to the NBA Finals and play the Lakers. No guarantee, but there’s a good chance these two teams will lock horns in the next year to three years.
Michael Jordan never played against the likes of the 3-headed monster now lurking in Miami. For all his great accomplishments (and there are many), Kobe will finally be given an opportunity to do something that Michael Jordan never did. And he will relish it.
Say Kobe and the Lakers beat the Heat next year, and a fully rested and rejuvenated Kobe not only locks down Dwyane Wade, but also spear-heads an efficiently ruthless attack through the heart of the 3-headed monster? What will that do to his legacy?
This is all meaningless conjecture, but still, critics of Kobe Bryant, and people always desperate to compare him to Jordan are making the same mistake they made two years ago: writing Kobe’s legacy as if it’s already complete and something you can write with finality about.
Next: Beating the Heat