There are those who believe Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is no longer an elite player in the NBA. The buzz goes that Kobe is old and has slipped back to only All-Star status, no longer mentioned in the same breath as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant.
Is there truth to this belief? And, if Kobe is still an elite player, how much longer will he remain at that level?
Recently, Laker Legend and the NBA Logo himself, Jerry West, questioned how much longer Kobe and his Lakers have to be considered champion contenders. West specially stated that “you can’t change player’s tires like you can on a car.”
What wasn’t said from West was that he was referring to Kobe Bryant. Whether this was merely an observation or a veiled attempt to motivate Kobe (like that is even necessary), only West knows the truth.
But the questioning of Kobe continues.
TNT Analyst and Mr. Mouth, Charles Barkley, constantly says that Kobe has “lost it” and is no longer an elite player.
But the reality is this: Kobe’s game continues to change and evolve as he ages. That’s the only truth to any of the recent comments. Although Kobe no longer dunks with reckless abandon or hangs in mid-air, it doesn’t mean Kobe has fallen from elite status. In fact, expect Kobe to remain at the top for at least another three years. There's no reason preventing him from excelling until at least age 35.
So, let’s throw out all the rumors and look at real facts. Ready?
There are five main areas to consider how much longer Kobe will remain an elite player.