Kobe Bryant: A Misconception Finally Explained

Sammy SucuSenior Analyst IMay 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on while taking on the Utah Jazz during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


Kobe Bryant..the black Mamba, arguably the greatest shooting guard to play in the NBA.Kobe has been on the All NBA-First Team 8 times, All NBA-First Defensive Team 5 years in a row, he has won countless Pacific Division Titles, 1 MVP, 3 All-Star Game MVP's, 1 Final's MVP's, 6 Finals Appearances, and don't forget 4 championship rings..and he is still 31 years old. Now the Jordan Fanclub, and the "We Hate Kobe Bryant Fan Club" around the world say one thing about Kobe..he wasn't the best player on the first 3 Laker Championships from 99-2002. Today I will kill this misconception for all of you who are reading this. I will say that Shaq was clearly more dominant than Kobe was in 1999-2000, and he had a better shot at winning without Kobe that year, than any other year. 

As you read this keep in mind the triangle is mostly based around the Center, meaning if the Center is as dominate as Shaq was, the offense would go through him. Longley wasn't talented enough, and that is why the triangle was based around Jordan. So with the offense going through Shaq these were the numbers of both Kobe and Shaq throughout 2000-2002. 

2000-2001 Regular Season 
Kobe 28.5 points 5.9 rebounds 5 assists 85% ft's 46.5% fg 
Shaq 28.7 points 12.1 rebounds 3 assists 51% ft's 57% fg


I wouldn't say Kobe played sidekick here, it's obvious that Kobe had a great season, arguably better than Shaq. Lakers won the championship that year. Although Shaq won the finals MVP, he did have an easier defender guarding him(Yes I know Mutombo was the Defensive Player of the Year, but he never locked down Shaq, he wasn't physical enough, and he could not keep up with him, Kobe had to be defended by AI, Eric Snow, Raja Bell who are three great defenders). Kobe made up for the rebounds in clutch shots, and Shaq made up for the poor FT% with a great fg%

Regular Season Kobe 25.2 points 5.5 assists 5.5 rebounds 47% fg 83% ft worse than the year before 
Shaq 27.2 3.0 assists, 10.7 rebounds 58% fg, 55% ft.

Shaq's and Kobe's numbers fell off, but they both stayed consistent with percentages, and Kobe had more assists.

Now, it seems like they were on par this season also. Keep in mind Kobe's clutch moments this playoffs. SA rebound, and all the moments against the Kings where Kobe would just take the game over and dominate for the Lakers.

Kobe was definitely a sidekick for the first ring, although he was clutch and his presence was missed in the Finals when he got hurt for a little while, Shaq was the man that year. Kobe deserved and earned 3 rings to his name, and without Kobe, Shaq would not have won. Kobe was not a sidekick, but another evil. Remember they are two completely different positions, Shaq opened up for Kobe, and vice versa. Pippen and Jordan were similar positions, Pippen was clearly the sidekick there. 

Jordan and Kobe have one thing in common, they won rings with two of the top 50 greatest players of all time. Kobe has won 1 ring without one of the top 50 greatest of all time in a tougher NBA. While Rasheed and Sabonis were guarding Shaq, Pippen was guarding Kobe, Bruce Bowen was guarding Kobe, while Duncan was guarding Shaq. Kobe had harder match-ups then Shaq, yet he still put up outstanding numbers, thus leading me to my conclusion.

Basketball fans have no right to say Kobe was a sidekick and didn't do much to win those rings. It wasn't all Shaq, without Kobe, Shaq could not have done it. Yes Shaq won with Wade, but Kobe won with Gasol. In the NBA you always need a sidekick or a stronger evil to back you. Duncan/Robinson were two evils, Pippen was Jordan's sidekick, Drexler and Hakeem's case was a bit different, I believe Hakeem was the man, and Drexler was the sidekick, but Kobe was not Shaq's sidekick, he was another evil. 

The misconception of Kobe being a sidekick has now been opened up for discussion, please place your votes and comments.