Is Kobe Bryant the Greatest Laker of All-Time?

NBA playoff time, so I’ve got to take a quick break from tech and talk hoops. Quick question for you.

Is Kobe Bryant the Greatest Laker of All-Time?

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise is one of the greatest organizations in NBA history, and arguably in all of sports. Some of the best players in basketball have worn the purple, gold, and white. Such legends include Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, and Gail Goodrich. To even be associated with these Hall-of-Famers is an honor in itself. But how does Kobe Bryant’s legacy compare?

Magic was a three-time MVP and led the Lakers to five championships. Bryant also has five rings, two MVP awards and is, “still playing his best basketball I’ve ever seen him play”, according to West. May I remind you, he’s only 31-years-old. Kareem is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history with 38,387pts. Kobe is currently twelfth with 25,790 pts. But it’s not unconceivable that he could bypass Kareem if he maintains his ~2,200 pts/season average from the last four years (and stays healthy). Let’s go back to Jerry West’s legacy. His image inspired the league’s logo, and was also the franchise’s all-time scoring leader. I emphasize was because Kobe surpassed West this season on his path to bring the Lakers their sixteenth championship. In addition, West has served as the Lakers’ general manager during the careers of Magic, Kareem Shaquille O’Neal, and Bryant. When Kobe was asked the who he thought was the greatest Laker, he responded, “In my opinion it’s Jerry West because in terms of everything that he’s done, as a player and then as a general manager,” Bryant said. “He’s responsible for managing here, he’s responsible for Shaq, he’s responsible for myself. He put the whole picture together and everything that he’s done, to me he’s the greatest”.

I don’t believe that Kobe Bryant is the greatest Laker of All-Time. Yet.

The Lakers latest championship over the Boston Celtics cements Kobe’s legacy with the Greats. But the title of “Greatest” should be given to the player who delivers the best quantifiable results. And a prestigious organization like the Los Angeles Lakers measures its success in championships, MVP awards, and points. Kobe is rapidly approaching that title, but doesn’t quite have every single qualification. He has a healthy resume that’s still growing. Before Kobe retires, we can expect this winner to add at least a few more rings, a couple MVP awards, and 15,000-20,000 pts to his name. Accomplishing this feat will make him the all-time scoring leader. And he has the best supporting cast in the league to make this happen. My prediction is that when Kobe leaves the game, his jersey will not only be hanging in the Staples Center as the best Laker in history, but his legacy will join the debate for the greatest player in NBA history.

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