Before all you Kobe fans start amping up the hate please read.
Kobe is arguably one of the best of all time. He plays with tenacity and a curb stomping intensity that make him a danger to opposing defenses. His slumps are measured in minutes not games. The man is the closest thing you can find in the NBA to automatic.
His reputation garnered him more MVP votes than a guy that beat him statistically in all but one category. Heck that guy had a season no other player in the NBA has ever had. Yet, Kobe beat him in MVP votes because of his status as the best player in the NBA.
Kobe's play merely intimidates the opposition, but his reputation does more than that. When a defensive game plan is to let Kobe score his 40, that is grudging respect.
I hope I have assuaged the fears that this is a Kobe bashing piece, because it is not. Kobe is not a leader because of how he plays the game—full force, unrelenting, and unashamed. He does not care about anything or anyone else. If you are in his way to getting a win he will stomp on your throat and not feel any remorse. Kobe Bryant is a monster on the court.
Kobe is the guy that will run a solo recon. He knows his mission, he has the target identified and all he needs for you to do is your job, because while he is doing his, he cannot tell you how to do yours. He is a lone assassin sent into an enemy stronghold.
He reminds me of a long distance runner with the finish line in sight, nothing will distract in his quest to win. Sure something may take him out, but he does not let it interfere with his objective. Kobe is the very definition of a baller.
What I am saying is that Kobe Bryant plays the game on pure instinct. He just knows what to do. He does not have time to explain what is his nature. You do not explain how to breathe or look over there, you just do it and that is how Kobe plays basketball.
He needs someone that can tell his teammates what to do, when to do, and why they should be doing it, because Kobe does not have the time and is not at his best when he is not playing his game. The Olympics is a great example, the guys on his team played his game. Wade, Howard, LBJ, and every member of that team played with Kobe's intensity. It is easy to lead when your team is in tune with your nature.
The Lakers are not in tune with Kobe like his fellow Olympians were. Not for 82 games and definitely not for another 28. Kobe needs a facilitator, an interpreter, a person that has the ability to settle a team down emotionally. Kobe simply does not have time to do that. It is what makes him a great basketball player.
A leader will allow himself to dominate the game without having to worry about the egos and emotional needs of his teammates, because he does not care about them, only what they can do to help him win another title. A leader will allow Kobe to do what he does best.