Photo by Harry How - Getty Images

By Ahmed Sedam

It’s the middle of April, the frost is beginning to melt (hopefully), weather is heating up and the Black Mamba is sharpening his fangs.

Through 82 grueling games: 2,078 points, 388 assists, and 419 rebounds, adds to another season in the legendary career of Kobe Bryant. However, when you think about it at the end of the day, it means nothing. Not to Lakers, not to the fans, and especially not to him. All that matters is one thing: holding the trophy at the end of the year, and having that parade in Downtown Los Angeles that we are all so accustomed to.

This is the obsession of Kobe Bryant. This drive and determination is what makes him that good.

If you listen to sports talk shows, you will hear the notion that Kobe is on his last leg, or that this is his last real chance to win 6 Championships. You Hear things such as, “The Heat are just supremely talented with 2 of the 5 best players in the game,” or “The Thunder can and will derail this team. The Lakers just don’t have enough firepower to three-peat,” “Kobe can’t carrying them that far anymore.” Need I remind you of what Charles Barkley said last season during the playoffs? “The days of him going out and scoring 30 points every game are over,” exclaimed Barkley on a TNT telecast. Kobe then went on to average over 30 points per game versus the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns, as well as average almost 29 points per game versus the Celtics in the Finals, capturing his second straight NBA Finals MVP, and his 5th NBA Championship.

Bottom Line: If you really want to beat the Lakers, don’t add motivation to the Black Mamba. So much for those days being over, eh Chuck?

There has also been a lot of negative talk about Bryant and his career. “Kobe shoots to much,” “Kobe is all about himself,” “Kobe isn’t Jordan,” my personal favorite, “Kobe can’t win it by himself,” and recently, “Kobe is homophobic”. Reality Check Time: No one in the history of this great game of basketball has ever won a Championship by himself, not Jordan, not Magic, not Bird, not Shaq, not Russell, not West, not Duncan.

Why is it that Kobe is held to a higher standard than any player in the NBA? Isn’t it funny, that some people are so emotional when talking about the Jordan/Kobe comparison? I whole-heartedly accept that Kobe is not Jordan. Jordan can do things that Kobe never could. However, I also whole-heartedly believe, Jordan is not Kobe, as Kobe has been able to do things that Jordan was never able to do, and if you need proof of that, check out Kobe’s game versus the Raptors at Staples Center in 2006.

With that being said, why do they get so angry when talking about talking about the two in the same sentence? Maybe it bothers them so much, because they know in depths of their souls that at the end of the day Kobe just might be BETTER. Bottom line, haters hate, and Kobe keeps on winning, and look for that to continue.

Yes, Kobe might drive some crazy with his erratic play at times. But it’s that attitude, that aggression, and that swagger that makes Kobe Bean Bryant who he is. He is daring, he is clutch, he is tough, and he has drive. Some even say Kobe is nothing but an overrated player and an ego. However, I say he is the not only the greatest player of this generation, but the most underrated. Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, LeBron James all have won more MVP’s than the Mamba, but all it seems to do is add fuel to the fire. Scary huh?

The Playoffs are here, NBA be on alert. Despite recent struggles, the Lakers will be ready to go when New Orleans comes to town. This is Kobe’s time to enhance his legacy even more. Haters will undoubtedly continue to hate, just as Kobe will continue to win. This time: Kobe shuts the critics up, hopefully this time for good.