Kobe Bryant's Career in Perspective

rob caldwellCorrespondent IApril 15, 2008

It’s all but official now. Kobe has at last secured the elusive MVP that has rightly been his many times before.

The Lakers will finish with their conference’s best record, and the voters will have no excuse for not giving it to KB24.

But at this point, it will not be like a rush of adrenaline for his fans as much as like popping a joint back in place and getting some morphine to kill the pain.

So where does his legacy stand now? He is a sure bet Hall of Famer, and even his haters would agree he's top 20 all-time.

If he does indeed win the '07-'08 MVP, he will join some very elite company. How elite?

Players to collect at least one scoring title, MVP, and Championship: Jordan, Shaq, Wilt, Kareem, Dr. J (ABA scoring title), David Robinson, Bob McAdoo, and Kobe.

Players to collect all three aforementioned awards and be selected to an All-Defensive First Team:   Jordan, Wilt, Kareem, Robinson, and Kobe.

Not too shabby. I could play this game all day.

"Assuming" (you can bet your left nut on it) Kobe gets selected to both the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team for the third straight year...

Players to be selected to at least six All-NBA and All-Defensive First Teams: Tim Duncan, Jordan, and Kobe.

Players to have an MVP, a Scoring Title, a Championship, and at least six All-Defensive First Teams: Jordan and Kobe.

Now these awards are nice, but what kind of "How awesome is Kobe" game would this be without stats?

Now as many of you know, Kobe's career averages are hindered by his jumping straight from high school.

It's an especially tough transition for guards, as the game is more complicated for them than for big men.  The physical differences between young guards and 25-20 year old guards is greater than the physical differences between young big men and 25-30 year old big men.

(LeBron's a freak of nature, and somewhere between guard and big man anyway.)

So let's knock off his first four years for "college" and see what comes out, shall we?

Kobe's Career Stats: A PPG of 28.98, or 29 with standard rounding.  Third best all-time behind Jordan and Wilt at 30.1, and far ahead of fourth place Allen Iverson at 27.7 and falling.

Think that's cool? Watch this.

In Jordan's highest scoring season, 1987-88, the median PPG of all NBA teams was 108.0 on the dot.

In Chamberlain's highest scoring year, 1961-62, it was 118.9.  

In Kobe's highest scoring year, 2005-06, it was only 97.4!

The pace of the game has slowed so far in recent years, Kobe's PPG is even more amazing relative to the past. To adjust his scoring to the pace of the games when Jordan played, his career average would be 32.6. In Chamberlain's time it would've been 35.4!

So if Kobe had gone to college for four years, he would have the highest relative career scoring average ever.

I'm tired of research, but I hoped you had fun reading this. It's not Harvard grade analysis, but it's pretty darn cool.