It is fantastic to be back on the keyboard and we are coming back with an explosive, condense and controversial write up. This article is NOT intended to be edgy nor unconventional for the sake off it, it is to keep narratives in check and objectivity to thrive. Now, do I hate Kobe? I use to, what made me change my mind was appreciation. The greatness off him as a player and looking at different point of views of other people. There will be plenty of mentions about LeBron James in this article, I love LeBron as a player and a person but I am not going to stand for biased and subjective point of views where if you say anything wrong about him, you are considered a “hater”. This is what is wrong with the world at the moment, we never attempt to look at another individuals perspective without instant judgement or distaste and pick apart the flaws and positives to their argument or point. Before I get into this article, I would like to give one of my favourite YouTubers, RBTheBreakThrough a shout out for the inspiration to create this article. I will ensure to link his YouTube channel down below in the references as I would feel bad about myself for believing I fully copied him or made his exact same points, which is not my intentions whatsoever. The points will be created down below as a list and will have a breakdown to elaborate why each one is either false or misinterpreted by fans.
Kobe Bryant was “INEFFICIENT”
Mmmmmm…. This is an extremely poor argument against Kobe Bryant. This is a player who is known to favour the mid range jump shot as his bread and butter, knowing that Kobe statistically shoots at an average of 45.1% of his FGA and 43.35 FG% at a distance of 10-23ft during his considered prime (2007-2010). Would that not make the overall FG% more impressive knowing that Kobe shot a majority of his attempts from the most inefficient shooting area on the court? He was extremely efficient at the worst shot in the NBA. That is impressive, and not only considering the other points that make this argument flawed is Kobe shot the majority of his 2 pointers off the dribble, which makes the shot more complex to execute and requires excellent hand to eye and spatial awareness. Once again, stats to back this up shows that 34.7% of his 2 pointers were assisted, that is not much at all and experience as a basketball player can further be practical evidence as to why Kobe’s shot selection can NEVER be undisputed by fans or analysts who have never touched a basketball or played. Could you argue that Kobe was inefficient with his shot selection? Absolutely not, because Kobe understood this was his game, the bread and butter being the mid range jumpshot with counter dribble moves that allow for Bryant to attack the basket as defenders closed in. My final point, Kobe was not being guarded by scrubs during his play days and zone defense was viable option for teams back then as well. Context matters when it comes to statistics and this is something that analysts of modern era television do not understand.
Kobe has not carried a team like LeBron James has
First off, let me give enourmous recognition to LeBron for his incredible run in this recent postseason. It was remarkabale and a treat as a fan of basketball to watch such dominance by one player occur. Fans though do not realise had a rough time returning to true dominance and the teammates he had during 2005-2007 were absolutely horrendous. Players like Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Devean George and Chris Mihm like do you consider these guys to be better than LeBron James’s teammates on paper? Of course not, these players were bad. Yet Kobe made the playoffs with these players. Not only that, he almost pulled one of the biggest upsets in NBA history in 2006 against the powerhouse 62-20 Phoenix Suns with an MVP Steve Nash and Amare Stoudimire but they blew a 3-1 lead. To be up 3-1 to the best team in basketball with the supporting cast Bryant had, is remarkably impressive. 2008 is Kobe’s MVP season, people will always argue for CP3 to win this MVP which I disagree. Let’s provide context to this argument, Kobe had NO all stars, Kobe’s team had a better winning record by one more win, Kobe was more impact on both ends off the floor, played all 82 games, played on a torn pinky finger, lead his squad in PPG, APG, SPG, MPG and Games Played. Pau Gasol was NOT an all star that season, David West this season specifically was superior to Gasol. Averaging 20.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.3 BPG on 48.2 FG%. The Western Conference in 2008 was insane, where the 10th seed Portland Trail Blazers had a 41-41 record with Brandon Roy, young LaMarcus Aldridge and an excellent bench with Outlaw, Jack, Frye and James Jones. It was competition at it’s peak, and Kobe lead this squad to the NBA Finals averaging 30.1 PPG/5.7 RPG/5.6 APG/1.7 SPG on 47.9 FG% in the postseason. Those are phenomenal numbers for a shooting guard. All this context behind Bryant’s MVP season makes his efforts so incredible and impressive, the squad from 2006-07 did not change much either coming into this season. So yes, Kobe has taken a squad to the NBA Finals with not so much talent but people will say he had the right system around him, which is true. LeBron had a system that is specified to him as well, so why knock back Kobe for that?
Shaq carried Kobe to win 3 titles
No he did not. That’s an attempt for fans to nullify Kobe’s legacy in order to increase another player’s legacy. Let’s take a lot at some stats during 2000-2003:
Kobe Bryant 1999-2000:
22.5 PPG/6.3 RPG/4.9 APG/1.6 SPG on 46.8 FG%
21.1 PPG/4.5 RPG/4.4 APG/1.45 BPG/1.45 SPG on 44.2 FG%
28.5 PPG/5.9 RPG/5.0 APG/1.68 SPG on 46.4 FG%
29.4 PPG/7.3 RPG/6.1 APG/1.56 SPG on 46.9 FG%
25.2 PPG/5.5 RPG/5.5 APG/1.48 SPG on 46.9 FG%
26.6 PPG/5.8 RPG/4.6 APG/1.42 SPG on 43.4 FG%
30.0 PPG/6.9 RPG/5.9 APG/2.2 SPG on 45.1 FG%
32.1 PPG/5.1 RPG/5.2 APG/1.42 SPG on 43.2 FG%
Yeah Kobe no doubt with 32 PPG at 24 years old was carried by Shaq…….The fact that still people believe this is concerning and tell us what type of generation we are bringing up. Evidence is shown in the 2000 NBA Finals Game 4, Shaq fouled out early in overtime and Kobe took over the game to help get a 3-1 lead over the Pacers ended the game of with 28 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Kobe Bryant had a below average impact in the 2000 NBA Finals due to having an ankle injury. Another thing to know is Kobe won 2 titles without Shaq, this was in 2009 and 2010 and an NBA Finals appearance n 2008. Shaq and Kobe were like the principles of yin and yang, it is opposite forces in play styles that complement one another and it is a balance of the two players. At this time, Shaq can not win without Kobe and Kobe can not win without Shaq.
Kobe Bryant was a ballhog
Yeah sure, Kobe had his moments as a player where he failed badly in big moments like in the 2004 NBA Finals, 1997 Postseason against Utah Jazz with the airballs he attempted and the 2008 NBA Finals. But didn’t Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird have these moments. Kobe has been quoted to be a ballhog by fans for years and to call him anything else, you would be called a “Kobestan”. For someone that was such a ballhog, his squads were always among the best in assists per game for multiple seasons. More team stats!
2005-06: 9th in Assists Per Game: 21.1
2006-07: 6th in Assists Per Game: 22.6
2007-08: 4th in Assists Per Game: 24.4
2008-09: 2nd in Assists Per Game: 23.3
The triangle offense allows for an equal opportunity of shots and people must remember, Bryant is a shooting guard. Objectively speaking, a shooting guard’s goal is to score points for his squad not to be an all time great facilitator that people have expectations for him to be. That is the issue with LeBron, Kobe, Jordan, Bird, Magic, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq, each athlete had different purpose, play styles, role and contributions on a championship team that it makes it difficult to differentiate the all time greats and their impact. Different eras, different defensive matchups depending on their strengths and weaknesses, different mindsets on both sides off the floor, different context behind statistics, coaches and even teammates. It is too difficult, so why are we critiquing Kobe for something his team required for him to do. Which was be the all out scorer and be a facilitator when it was necessary. Through 1999-2013 regular season, Kobe averaged 5.2 assists per game and Jordan throughout the 1986-1998 regular season, averaged 5.4 assists per game yet there is no individuals calling MJ a “ballhog”.
Kobe Bryant is not as clutch as people say he is
Playoff game on the line shot attempts:
Kobe Bryant: 7-25 for 28% shooting
LeBron James: 5-12 for 41.7% shooting
Regular season game on the line shot attempts:
LeBron James: 23-69 for 33.3% shooting
Kobe Bryant: 36-115 for 31.3% shooting
People don’t want to show these statistics….. Observe
Once again, the anti-Kobe agenda rises to the occasion! Provided with the better statistics, it displays that Bryant is a more superior athlete in the clutch. Now, this is NOT to say LeBron isn’t clutch cause after the 2018 Playoffs, that myth has been exposed for sure and this source is from 2017, so it may need a proper update on these statistics. What should really surprise people is the assist numbers for Kobe! LeBron is an all time great passer there is no questioning that, so to see Kobe really be a better and more efficient facilitator is surprising. Statistics do not actually present an individual’s willingness to take a shot and killer instinct defines itself to being fearless into taking the tough shots in the closest and more nerve racking moments.
Kobe completely replicated MJ’s game!
I really do not understand how this can be a knock on Kobe, people complain no one uses the skyhook in today’s game. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Kobe seemed to have more complex footwork to Jordan, more in favour off utilising the jab step, attempts much more difficult shots to Jordan and created a more devastating separation off the dribble. It is just these very small things that really do differentiate Jordan and Kobe’s scoring arsenal and how they did it. This was something I tended to agree with people on but it really took an INCREDIBLE focus on minuscule tendencies in game to finally conclude with this opinion.