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2010 NBA Finals: Kobe's Performance in Suns Clincher Shows Why He's Still No. 1

PHOENIX - MAY 29:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks at head coach Alvin Gentry of the Phoenix Suns after a play in the fourth quarter of Game Six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 29, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Laker defeated the Suns 111-103 to advance to the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Jason BrynsvoldCorrespondent IJune 1, 2010

If there was any doubt in anyone's mind on who the best player in the NBA is, the final two minutes of Game Six of the Western Conference Finals should have erased that doubt. Kobe Bryant's usual closing ability was on center stage while his team's back was against the wall in Phoenix.

The nine points that Kobe Bryant scored in those final two minutes were the toughest nine points of the night. Everyone in the arena knew that Kobe was getting the ball in those clutch situations, but it didn't matter one bit. Kobe nailed jumper after jumper in the face of multiple defenders, even making Suns coach Alvin Gentry look foolish late in the game (see picture).

The argument for LeBron James being the best player in the NBA is losing credibility with each passing day of the playoffs. Sure, LeBron is probably more physically talented than Kobe and puts up more impressive stats than the face of the Lakers franchise, but those facts do not make him a better overall basketball player than Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant has four NBA championships and is about to go to his seventh NBA Finals in his 14th season in the league. In LeBron's seven years in the league, he has only made one NBA Final (a four game beating from the Spurs).

LeBron James may put up great numbers in the playoffs, but why do his teams keep getting bounced out way earlier than they should? No matter what his stat line, Kobe Bryant's playoff teams find ways to win the big games, which is a credit to his leadership and ability.

Some may argue that James has less talent to work with than Kobe does, but over the past few years, I don't believe that is the case. The Cavs put together an impressive roster over the past few seasons that has included Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and others.

Starting next season when he signs with a new team, he will have no more excuses about having inferior teammates because his new teammates will be his choice. Yes, you can also say that LeBron has a lot more time to win championships, but his playoff career certainly is not off to a good start and he must correct that in the near future.

With all of that said, Kobe keeps on finding ways to win, even with Andrew Bynum disappointing, lack of production from point guard, inconsistent performances from Lamar Odom, etc.

Kobe Bryant is a winner and a true gamer, and if he keeps this pace up, he will have a solid case for being the best player in the history of the NBA.

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