Why Appreciate Kobe Bryant's Skills When It's Much Easier To Hate Him?
When Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant finally decides to retire it will likely be as one of the most accomplished and decorated players of our time, and one of the greatest of this generation.
But really, who cares?
Lakers' fans spend too much time praising Bryant when it's much easier, not to mention more fun, poking holes in his questionable legacy.
For instance, Kobe's fan club love to point to his 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors as proof of his greatness, but why waste the time when it's not even a record?
If memory serves me correctly Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game was 19 more points than Bryant's 81. It doesn't really matter that I can probably count the number of people who actually witnessed Wilt's performance on one hand since it wasn't televised.
We all know it happened because it's in the NBA record books.
And was I the only one who got tired of watching ESPN replay Bryant-the-ballhog's ridiculous shooting night over and over?
All Bryant's performance really proved is that he shoots the ball way to much, as former Dallas Mavericks' player Keith Horne pointed out when he questioned Bryant's number of assists that night.
Besides, scoring 81 points is not that hard. In fact I've done it several times, with multiple players on PlayStation.
The one NBA record Bryant holds is his 12-16 shooting performance from three point range, which is immediately diminished since he shares it with journeyman forward Donyell Marshall.
I mean really, how important can a record like that be if it's shared with a player whose whole career can be summed up by that achievement?
The fact that Bryant has never come close to equaling that number should prove to Kobe's fan-boys that it was just another lucky shooting night in a career that has been defined by luck.
I also love when Lakers' fans point out Bryant's 42 point first half against Michael Jordan's Washington Wizards, which was supposedly an un-official passing of the proverbial torch.
Great shooting night Kobe. Too bad Jordan was so old he needed a cane to prop him up at halftime.
It's a good thing that Phil Jackson decided to sit Bryant in the second half of that game, because everyone knew Jordan would take the challenge personally, and probably drop 50 on Bryant in the third and fourth quarters.
Lakers' fans love to anoint Bryant as the game's best shooting guard since Jordan retired, but considering the lack of quality talent at the position, exactly how hard was that?
Bryant may have been the game's best shooting guard for a brief period, but his short reign ended as soon as Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade entered the league.
Wade won his first championship in less time than Bryant, as well as as a Finals' MVP award on a team where he was un-questionably the team's No. 1 option.
Need I remind you that Bryant's first three titles were a direct result of Shaquille O'Neal's talents, and anyone who thinks differently is obviously delusional.
Bryant has accumulated numerous individual awards which are used as evidence of his great legacy, but as far as I can tell, the majority of them are un-deserved.
Bryant has been named to the NBA's All-Defensive first team eight times, and for five consecutive years, but everyone knows he is no longer one of the league's top defenders.
Besides, coaches pick the NBA's All-Defensive teams, and it's a well known fact that most of them really don't know much about basketball.
I would place more faith in the award if it was picked by the media and fans, who proved their understanding of the game by rightfully choosing Bryant for the only league MVP award in his 14 year career in 2008.
Sure, Bryant could have been picked in either 2006 or 2007, but what person in their right mind would choose Bryant over lovable, two-time winner Steve Nash?
Bryant stands a good chance to be recognized as the greatest player in the history of the Lakers' franchise, and if he does reach that goal he should promptly thank O'Neal and Pau Gasol.
Bryant's five championships have little to do with his talent, since it has been proved over and over that he was incapable of winning a title without a dominant big man.
His consecutive Finals' MVP Awards? Another instance of Bryant receiving credit where none is due.
Derek Fisher's clutch performances were the real reason the Lakers won the title in 2009, and even though Bryant averaged 30 points per game last postseason, how do you explain his 6-24 shooting performance in Game Seven of the Finals?
Sure, Bryant did grab 15 rebounds, but most of them were probably a result of him following up his own horrible shots.
Anyway, all of that stuff is ancient history, and everyone knows that Lakers' fans have a tendency to dwell on the success of the past, no matter how recent it may be.
We live in a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, and under that context Bryant's accomplishments really mean nothing anyway.
Who cares if Bryant has scored 25,000 career points, amassed numerous individual accolades, and hit seven game winning shots last season?
It may have been the most of the past decade, but the only reason Bryant had the opportunity is because his poor play put the Lakers in a position to need his heroics to bail them out.
Bryant did win his fifth championship last season, but that may as well be years ago considering how much better the rest of the NBA is now, especially the team down in Miami, who I personally guarantee will prevent Bryant from winning his sixth title.
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