With 1:16 left in the second quarter, Kobe Bryant accomplished what only 4 other players in NBA history have been able to do: Score over 30,000 points over their careers.
And yet, he’s still not good enough.
Whether it’s on television, radio or even at work, the topic of KB24 making history has not only drawn praises from those of us in Laker Land, but also criticism from around the basketball world. Of course, the criticism is nothing new. Kobe has felt the venom of many sports columnists and commentators.
They remind us of how, with all the accolades and accomplishments, Kobe Bryant still cannot fill the Nike branded shoes that once were laced by the player that with no doubt has fueled his desire to be the absolute best…His Airness, Michael Jordan.
To say that watching Michael Jordan play was breathtaking and mesmerizing wouldn’t do him justice. It was much, much, more than that. Jordan changed how the game is played. He even changed the business of basketball, making it a global phenomenon. David Stern and the NBA would not be enjoying the wealth of world-wide dominance if it wasn’t for Jordan. Who’s to say that Bryant could have or would have done the same to the game?
What we do know is that both of them have a burning, unyielding desire to be the best at what they do. They both have an insane work ethic. And the argument over who is greater will always make for an interesting debate since each one’s resume is decorated with MVP awards, Finals MVP awards, scoring titles, and other great accolades. You could even make campaigns for other greats such as Magic, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. But there is one argument that seems to be rearing its head that just makes me scratch my head in bewilderment.
It seems that there are some people in the sports world that feel that a certain basketball player from South Beach, Florida, not only is a better player than Kobe Bryant, but will also de-throne MJ as the all-time great.
Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But we all know what opinions are like and some people’s opinions stink just as bad. What makes this argument interesting is because, more often than not, the criteria in which those people who make the argument on why Kobe isn’t greater than Jordan seem to dismiss those exact same points when arguing the case for LeBron James.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t much of a Bryant fan when he first entered the league. I felt he had this false sense of entitlement without ever having to prove himself. But over the course of time, and having the privilege to be able to watch as his career evolved, my view on him also evolved. Yet, it’s utter hypocrisy to say Jordan is greater than Bryant because of titles won, MVP awards, and so forth and completely dismiss these facts for a case in favor of James over Bryant.
Only in Kobe Bryant’s world would having 5 titles, 2 Finals MVP award, 1 league MVP award, 4 All-Star MVP awards, 2 NBA scoring titles, 14 All-Star appearances, along with multiple All-NBA team nominations and scoring 81 points in a single game pales in comparison to a player, who is no doubt a phenomenal talent, but still comes up short in those categories. Unbelievable.
And that’s just the beginning. Others also have argued on whether or not he should even be considered one of the greats of the game. There are also arguments on whether or not he is considered the “Greatest Laker of All Time”. Can’t we let Kobe enjoy his accomplishment in peace?
The “Greatest of All Time” argument will probably go on long after my unborn great-grandchildren’s grandchildren are born. But until then, I will continue to watch Kobe with great anticipation to see what feat he will accomplish next. I will continue to be amazed at the desire, drive, and passion that he plays with and the level he performs at given he is no spring chicken. You can love him. You can hate him. He is still going to be Kobe Bryant. And he’s a 30,000 point scorer. Let’s just enjoy this rare milestone. No one knows when we will see another player do that.
Congrats, Black Mamba! I’ve got nothing but love for ya.