There are some interesting things to consider when deciding who is the best basketball player of all time. Adeyemi Adediran, a Bleacher Report contributor wrote an article stating that Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is the best player ever. In fact, it is very hard for anyone to dispute that.
The article mentioned Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem. It didn’t mention Magic or Larry Bird by name, but the author clearly implied that they too are included in the group of former basketball Greats who don’t make the cut as best player ever lived. And again, we cannot disagree that Kobe is the best. Here is why Kobe is the best basketball player ever…
First, we will consider the great Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls basketball team. Well, although Michael Air Jordan was clutch and won six championships in the 1990s, he had Scottie Pippen at his side. Without Scottie Pippen, Jordan would not have won any of his championships. Anyone following basketball during the Jordan-Pippen era in Chicago can attest to that fact.
Kobe had Shaquille O’neal for a while when he won his first 3 championships in the years 1999 to 2002. However, Kobe has shown that he can do it all without any other superstar player helping him. Kobe substantiated that notion by winning the 2009 NBA Title with nothing but role players, no superstars.
Bryant made his mark in NBA history by winning the 2009 NBA championship with the likes of Trevor Ariza, a young inexperience role player who played for the New York Knicks during the Larry Brown era. In fact, Ariza was a bench player while with the Knicks; he wasn’t even a starter. Moreover, the Knicks weren’t any good then either. Kobe had other role players other than Ariza of course, but none with the talent of Scottie Pippen, like Jordan had.
Another very important fact during the Michael Jordan Era in Chicago was that Jordan got all the calls from the referees. Many times playing against the New York Knicks Jordan got the benefit of cheap foul calls against the Knicks. If the Knicks breathed too hard on him, the refs would blow their whistles. We are not taking anything away from Jordan. He was brilliant. However, he is not better than Kobe.
Do we remember when Jordan was a terrible outside jump shooter before he became very good, later in his career? Case close! Jordan in his first few years in the NBA was a poor outside jump shooter as compared to Kobe who was a very good shooter right from the start of his NBA career.
Secondly, we will consider Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yes, Lebron is good, but not has skillful as Kobe. Why is Lebron not as good? For one thing, Lebron is not a great jump shooter. Sure, he is getting better, but that is as far as it goes. It is difficult for many to acknowledge that, but the man is really good. One has to give credit where credit is due.
We shouldn’t even be comparing Lebron James with Kobe Bryant because Lebron has not won anything as yet. Maybe he will; who knows? In fact, he would have a better chance of winning a championship if he joins the New York Knicks. Why? The Knicks have millions of dollars in salary cap room to acquire two maximum free agent superstar players in the upcoming 2010-2011 season. This was made possible by a recent cap-clearing avalanche invoked by current Knicks GM, Donnie Walsh in late February, 2010, when he traded practically the entire team.
Thirdly, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain were definitely the best in their time, but they certainly are not the best ever lived. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had their personal on-court battles ever since college, which they brought to the NBA.
With Bird playing for the Boston Celtics and Johnson playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, their NBA rivalry was legendary. If the question was, which two opposing players had the greatest impact on the NBA, in terms of revitalizing it during its dark days, the names Magic and Bird would be front and center. However, when it comes to who the best individual player is ever, Kobe is the answer, without a doubt!
Finally, Kobe Bryant is better than the rest because he has more skills. He is not good simply because he is bigger than anyone else like Wilt Chamberlain was. He is not better because he is 6 feet, 9 inches like Lebron, Magic, or Bird. He is better because he has the grace and charisma to play the game the way it is supposed to be played. This is why he scored 81 points in a NBA game a few years ago (2006) against the Toronto Raptors, a team with all star players such as Chris Bosh, Jalen Rose to name a few.
No one thought such feat could have been achieved in today’s NBA game, which consists of very big, strong, fast, and talented players, but Kobe did it—something that Jordan couldn’t do, no matter how hard he tried. Jordan’s best was a 69-point barrage against the Cleveland Cavaliers, March 28, 1990.
Kobe should definitely be considered the best basketball player ever lived. This guy scored 81 points against modern NBA players, not just players who couldn't play. When Wilt Chamberlain scored his 100 points, he did so against players much smaller than he was; he also did so against players with inferior skills when compared to the skills he possessed at the time. Not only that the players he played against in those days cannot be compared with today’s NBA players, skill-wise.
The bottom line is there is no comparison between Kobe’s basketball skills and the skills of those who have played before him and those who are currently playing the game today. Therefore, Kobe is hands down, the best NBA player to ever set foot on the hardwood floor. Mr. Adeyemi Adediran is therefore, correct in his claim of who he thinks the best basketball player of all time ultimately is.
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