If he amasses his fifth ring in an infatuating postseason, the franchise that turned Kobe Bryant famous may want to dedicate and unveil a bronze statue of either the admirable or scorned superstar.
If so, the self-proclaimed Black Mamba will stand tall accompanied by the late Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, hockey great Wayne Gretzky, former guard Magic Johnson and legendary boxer Oscar De La Hoya outside of Staples Center.
A couple of months ago, he became the greatest scorer in Lakers history, surpassing Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with his unstoppable and fierce scoring as the most dominant finisher in the game.
Ever since capturing 25,193 points in his remarkable career, he surpassed (Mr. Clutch) Jerry West, the former architect of the Lakers during two dynasties, who traded for Bryant in 1996 and revamped a prominent franchise around currently the most competitive shooting guard in the league.
He is a rare guard and clutch performer in a competitive game, when an influx of NBA stars has emerged within a fascinating league, to eschew an uneventful and inert era.
Now, he’s en route of accumulating his fifth championship, all in a town where he’s declared the renowned icon as opposed to the despised villain, derided and condemned for his arrogance and self-centered psyche.
But he has matured over the years, becoming a charismatic leader and a MVP-type player for his unselfishness and ability to control the leadership role. He’s a tougher player and more focused on winning championships, rather than being awarded individual accomplishments and conducts himself as a mentor, grooming the younger players as he passes his prime.
In a society that either loves or loathes the heroics of Bryant, we are persisting an endless debate on whether he’s more savvy or greater than Michael Jordan, who he is compared to frequently for the parallels with his pump-fake jumpers or turnaround jump shots. It’s simple to assume that he’s examined in contrast to MJ for owning four rings and leading a mini-dynasty in the prelude of a new decade.
For all those critics who dislike a special player, arguably in a generation when competition is steeper and engrosses the viewers minds, why would Kobe pay any mind to the negativity after rekindling and monopolizing the league by his captivating buzzer-beaters and non-stop thrilling shots? In comparison, he’s not similar to Jordan, but very close.
Honestly, there will never be another MJ. But if Kobe wins another ring, it would cement his legacy and place him in the company of Jordan.
With four rings, he needs two more to tie Jordan in the ring category and only three shy in owning seven rings. And a palatable explanation as to why critics hate Kobe so much is because the average critic is envious or detects arrogant vibes from a star player once in trouble for unlawful issues when he was accused of rape in Colorado.
Shortly after, he reclaimed popularity, managing to intrigue the game of basketball with his awe-inspiring finishes and unbelievable achievements. Relatively speaking, he has the No. 1 selling jersey in the league among all NBA players and at nearly every venue he receives mixed emotions from a hostile or compassionate crowd, overshadowing the talented and emerging stars in pro basketball.
Since he’s an impact player and considered as an elite guard because of his high performance level, he’s credited as one of the most unique guards to ever play the game. Kobe’s presence alone makes the NBA unique, defined as the game’s best finisher and unstoppable competitor, selling out a capacity crowd at Staples Center, a mum site unless he hijacks the final desperation moments with his successive shot making in an extravaganza known as the Kobe Show.
And if there’s one celebrity to witness the wildest event happening on Figueroa, it’s Jack Nicholson, the famous celeb who has a personalized seat on the sideline and scolds at officials whenever there’s a no-call or a bad call. While Bryant is the star and maestro of the Lakers, Nicholson is the team mascot and inspires the speechless crowd to cheer on L.A.
Nicholson loves L.A. and so does Kobe, who truly aims for a win every time he takes the court and buoys his teammates to have a prevailing mindset and play with toughness.
It’s acceptable to give the nod to Kobe, but just not on the same scale as MJ, until No. 24 wins seven or eight rings. Keep in mind, he’s on pace to win multiple titles in the next few years as long as the Lakers have a functional nucleus to remain championship destined.
Earlier in his career, he won three championships with Shaquille O’Neal as the most dynamic tandem in sports, until his feud with Shaq engendered a controversy and impaired an eternal dynasty in sports history, as well as his heated disputes with 10-time champ head coach Phil Jackson
When he walked away from the Lakers to take a hiatus, he wrote a book and ripped Kobe by stating that he was “uncoachable” and also mentioned that he tried to coax the egomaniacal Buss Family to trade the problematic guard.
As he’s on the verge of adding to his incredible ring collection, he’s amazingly revered for bringing in much revenue and triumph to a city that prides itself on basketball. Is he the most dominant ever? Who exactly knows?
Throughout his prosperous career, Jackson has been fortunate to coach a pair of the greatest players of all time. It’s suitable to describe Bryant as a G.O.A.T—the greatest of all time, given his 40 and 50-point games, his 81-point spectacle, becoming the youngest player to average a certain amount in points scored, and lastly surpassing West in the most points scored as a Laker.
If he never wins a championship again, what more is there to accomplished?
He’s already the most accomplished athlete, and should be focused on avenging an embarrassing 39-point loss to his archenemies and hated rivals the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. More than ever, he’s still furious and disgusted over the way it ended so painfully, ready to secure revenge against Boston in the best-of-seven series with Game One beginning Thursday night in Los Angeles.
If he was to write a journal on his agenda amid an unbridled quest, he’ll be strictly focused on returning the favor to the Celtics, wearing his brutal game face by scowling and grinding his teeth. What’s more appealing about Kobe "Bean" Bryant is that he played the last few seasons with fractured index fingers, banged up knees and ankles, but still managed to score and average an outrageous amount in the point ratio.
He’s playing with insulting negligence, fueling the overlooked Kobe to endure incredible performances by capping an incomparable scoring average.
That alone justifies that he’s the greatest playing in the game during a generation when an abundance of players are ignored as marketers airing silly commercial ads of Kobe as a puppet or photos of him embarrassingly wearing a top hat and bow tie. Even if his teammates are flaky and enigmatic on numerous occasions, Bryant will have that frightening stare, the scariest and evilest facial expression in sports.
After all, the Black Mamba is the equivalent of the fiercest scorer on earth.