Kobe has exposed his Achilles’ heel, that is, the absence of Shaquille O’Neal, in my opinion, the best big man in the history of the game. Without a ‘Shaqalicious’ in his prime, Bryant has failed to snatch another ‘ship since the Lakers three-peat(’00 –’02). Who was the Finals MVP all three of these championship years? Not the adored Kobe Bryant, who is hyped up beyond belief. It was, in fact, ‘THE DIESEL.’
All these fans that praise Kobe and have the audacity to compare him to ‘His Airness,’ Michael Jordan, need to realize just how much of his success is due to an exceptionally dominant ‘Shaq Fu.’ To further illustrate just how dominant Shaq was (and proving this season that he still is), look at what he did for the Miami Heat.
O’Neal promised fans he would bring a championship to a dismal Miami Heat team with a promising young star in Dwayne Wade. His first year there, Shaq and Wade took the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals. The following year, ‘The Big Daddy’ stayed true to his word and delivered a title to Pat Riley’s Miami Heat.
On top of Kobe being praised too much for his team’s success, he is not given adequate responsibility for the team’s lack of success. After O’Neal’s departure to Miami in ‘04, the Lakers started sandbagging it and failed to make the playoffs. The following season, the Lakers made the playoffs, but were ousted by the Suns in the first round.
This trend followed the ensuing season, as LA was again thrown out of the playoffs by Phoenix in round one. We didn’t hear much about Kobe Bryant and his role in LA’s plunge from the top during these harsh times. Funny how things work.
Kobe and his Lakers made it back to the Finals last season for the first time since winning it in 2002, but were unable to get it done against the Boston Celtics and their ‘Big Three.’ Bryant won his first MVP last season, strengthening my claim that he is praised too much for his team’s success.
Before you get your panties or boxers in a bunch, let me explain myself. Kobe did have an excellent season; I’m not taking that away from him. But come on, look at the supporting cast.