Friday Fire: Where Does Kobe Bryant Sit in Sports History?

Yeah, Julius Erving’s basketball grandson is in town tonight (will he get 50 against one of his top career competitors in Allen Iverson? I say yeah).  Gonna try and pick his brain on some legacy points…time permitting of course.

As he climbs the Lakers all time scoring list (He’s second with 25121behind Jerry West’s 25192) and looks to defend another Lakers title, where do you think he belongs not only in the NBA, but sports in general historically? Who is his peer outside of the game? Why does Steve Nash have more MVP trophies? See how history is forever distorted for those not yet born?

Will we ever get an answer to that? Naaaah, but the award is now tainted and has been for a while.

In my opinion, he’s definitely NBA top ten all time and if we’re playing pick up, he’s the second shooting guard I’m rockin’ with. If he wins another ring this year, he heads into the top 5 sling shottin’ shoot the gift strong over Magic and Bird.

What athlete is having or has had a similar career?

Yeah, these are all subjective and there’s no right answer, but it’s time to get the NBA juices flowing and why not start with that Philly boy Kobe “don’t do it to ’em Beans!” Bryant?

24 Responses to “Friday Fire: Where Does Kobe Bryant Sit in Sports History?”

  1. Okori says:

    If we mean in NBA History (since there is WAY too much of an apples and oranges comparison between the NBA and other sports) I’d say he’s in the lower bowl of the top 10. Like maybe 8 or 9. But i personally don’t judge a guy historically until his career is over. It seems way too much like we’re WAITING for something to happen instead of just letting it organically.

  2. Mizzo says:

    Okori talking about it advances the thoughts of history. There isn’t way too much of an apples and oranges comparison. Kobe, by his own volition and somewhat negative fan perception of him as well, is entering the realm of sports royalty nevertheless…especially if the Lakers win another one. I’m not looking through a current lens, but how he will be perceived down the road.

    Thinking outside the box fam. I don’t try to limit how my mind works by going with the status quo.

  3. Okori says:

    yeah but how do you compare what Kobe does to previous eras. Like I think Kobe is more physically talented than Elgin Baylor, but Elgin started what Kobe perfected. I’ll just say he’s the best 2-guard of this era and leave it at that.

    But again…. lower bowl of the top 10.

  4. Mizzo says:

    If you’re not first, you’re last.

    We can’t simply stop talking about where athletes stand because of the past. It’s gonna happen anyway. Why not here?

  5. Temple3 says:

    I’ll say that KB’s place among the greats in basketball is secure. With that said, I’ll he’s obviously among the elite.

    Couple of things:

    1) Sidekick Factor: Kobe has 3 championships with Shaq; 1 without. If Kobe wins multiple championships without Shaq, it would go a long way toward elevating his status. One is nice without Shaq, but it was against a perimeter shooting Orlando Magic team with an infant center.

    Magic never won without Kareem, but Kareem went years without sniffing the Finals before Magic came to LA. And Magic won 5 rings pulling the sled (and lost 3x with injured teammates). Bird won 3 pulling the Celtic sled. And then there’s Mike with 6.

    2) For me, Bill Russell, Kareem, Wilt and Jordan (how ever you choose to rank them) are the top guys. To get into that group, you have to thoroughly dominate the regular and post-season for several years.

    To get the 5 spot, you’ve got to be THAT DUDE. Kobe can get in the conversation with 5 rings. Without 5, I don’t really want to hear it.

    You can count on one hand the number of elite 2-way players with 5 rings in basketball. So, the Sidekick Factor looms largest for me.

    3) In other sports, I’d take Gretzky and Lemieux. In football, I’d take Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice, and Jim Brown. (Barry Sanders!?!) In baseball, I’d take Barry Bonds and I’d have to think about Albert Pujols. Willie Mays is in there.

    That’s my list…on the quick.

  6. Temple3 says:

    By the way, if Shaq wins with Cleveland this season, especially in a series over the Lakers, the Sidekick Factor will increase even more…and it would, for me, effectively remove KB from the conversation and likely cement Shaq’s place in that #5 spot.

  7. Okori says:

    Bigger Question: Where does a guy like Duncan go? See to me….. he’s a little bit closer to the middle bowl of the top 10 than Kobe is. But maybe that’s just because I like his game more and he has multiple championships, all of them where he was indisputably the best player. Kobe can’t say this with the exception of last year’s ‘chip.

  8. Temple3 says:

    I thought of Duncan while I was writing what I was writing. To me, the fact that the Lakers routinely bounced the Spurs from the playoffs and kept them from repeating elevates Shaq over Duncan.

    Duncan should be in this conversation as well…but I don’t know that I’d rank him ahead of someone like Olajuwon. That first championship was won with David Robinson against a Knick team that played with Marcus Camby in the middle — no Patrick Ewing. So…

  9. Mizzo says:

    Duncan was the de facto MVP default. Kobe fought for his. When the kids look back and judge who is this and that by the number of MVP’s like we’ve all done as children, that one might be glaring. Think about it, that Doc has one award and one NBA ring has pushed him away from the table.

    Definitely true about Kobe having to win number 5…that’s why I mentioned it in the piece. Without that, I don’t want to hear it either.

    I hope this is the year LA and Cleveland get it in. History will be served if so that happens.

  10. Okori says:

    Question: Is Kobe the best Laker ever? I mean…. there is a lot of competition for that.

  11. Mizzo says:

    That’s a great question. I’d say not yet.

  12. Ron Glover says:

    Another ring and 5,000 points and he might be in the top 3 or four.

  13. Temple3 says:

    I’d say Hell Fu#$$!!! No…but that’s just me.

  14. Okori says:

    I’d also say no. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that he’s not on the starting five for that team.

  15. Temple3 says:

    I’d start him at the 2 ahead of Jerry West.

  16. Okori says:

    I wouldn’t. West went to more finals and was prevented from winning more chips only by the presence of one of the greatest dynasties the sport has ever known. Also, off-the-court. West built 2 distinct Laker dynasties.

  17. Temple3 says:


    Why you wanna play a GM card? It’s too early for that. LOL.

    I’ll take that 6’7″ two guard with lights out defense every time. Can you imagine Jerry West trying to guard Dwyane Wade? Me neither.

    At the 3, I’ll take the guy who saved the franchise from bankruptcy in the 50’s…

    And I’ll move Kareem to the 4, a la Tim Duncan, with Wilt at the 5.

  18. Okori Wadsworth says:

    God that Lakers all-time starting five would be fantastic. Lakers all-time 5 vs Celtics starting 5 best of 7. I want that yesterday.

  19. Tariq says:

    I’d take Pele over Kobe. LOL.

  20. Tariq says:

    Y’all need to watch some soccer. I’m tellin’ ya. I love sports that incorporate fat people, but come on…

  21. KevDog says:

    I’m a Kobe Homer so I know I’m not going to be taken seriously. Still, I have my opinion.

    As of today, Kobe should be a consensus top 10 player of all time. I think it’ll take 6 rings to be consensus Greatest Laker of all time. and 7 rings and the all time scoring record presently held by KAJ to be considered Jordan’s equal or better.

    Personally, I think he’s the best player to ever play the game and I fully expect him to get 7 rings and the all time scoring record.

    He, along with Ali, are to me, the most beautiful athletes to watch. Period.

  22. KevDog says:

    Tariq. I never could get into Soccer. But I’m unusual for an American Male because I’d rather watch Tennis than NFL any day of the week.

  23. Tariq says:


    Yeah, I don’t blame you for not getting into soccer. This summer the World Cup will be played in South Africa. I’m in Virginia right now, but I’ll be back home in Saudi Arabia, God-willing, during the World Cup. I can’t describe to you the atmosphere of a World Cup, even on TV. All your boys arguing about the intricacies of whether Spain’s superior squad can be enough to overcome Brazil, whether Diego Maradona’s mad-scientist-type coaching can bring the best out of Lionel Messi…that’s where sports’ true enjoyment comes from: the communal aspect of it. But here, yeah I watch soccer games, but it’s so damn LONELY. I still get pleasure out of watching Barcelona’s complex passing game or Ibrahimovic’s outrageous flicks and backheels, but it’s not nearly as enjoyable as back home. Imagine watching the NBA Playoffs every year in a vacuum.

    As for Kobe, my status on Facebook right now is “By the way, this may be a bit late, but that’s why he’s Kobe Bryant” in reference to his game-winning shot against Boston. I agree that he should be a consensus Top 10 all-time, but I don’t think he’s the best ever. That’s a bit much in my opinion. Although you seem to say that this would depend on future accomplishments, so you never know…

    As for the “most beautiful to watch” thing, I guess “beauty” is a term which is hard to argue with because it’s entirely subjective.