2010 NBA Finals: Kobe Continues To Ascend to NBA Pantheon Of Legends

Brennan NettContributor IJune 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates as the Lakers defeat the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Even though Kobe Bryant didn't have the biggest of games in his career last night, what he offered was just enough for the Los Angeles Lakers to hoist their 16th NBA Championship. 

Kobe notched a game-high 23 points, on 6-24 shooting, 15 rebounds, and 2 assists. Overall, not the best shooting night for Kobe, but his crucial shot making down the stretch really helped the Lakers edge Boston 83-79.

With the win in the decisive Game 7 last night, Kobe also notched his 5th NBA Championship. His fifth ring places him one behind Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan, legendary Lakers center Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, three rings behind Celtics great John Havlicek, and six rings behind Celtic great Bill Russell.

Kobe's play has gotten better as he as gotten older, at age 31, his window is starting to close. With speculation of Phil Jackson to retire or leave L.A. during the off-season.

Kobe's high level of play has lead him to continually ascend the ladder of greatness. Arguably the best player in the NBA, Kobe has pulled the best out of every player on the roster since the 2007-2008 season.

Arguments have sprung since the day that Kobe came into the league that he was the next Michael Jordan. His level of play has pulled him within one ring of Jordan, but the arguments will still pour in about where Kobe ranks all-time.

Overall, Kobe is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, he will end his career as arguably the best player to come directly into the NBA from high school and he will also go down as one of the best Lakers of all-time.  

Predictions for next year are looking good for the Lakers, this coming off-season will tell a lot on how willing the Lakers front office is about continually being a major player in the West.

Look for the Lakers to again finish near the top of the Western Conference and to be playing around this time next year.