Los Angeles Lakers: Why Kobe Bryant Will Win Another NBA Title

Sam Richmond@srichmond93Correspondent IMay 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts late in the fourth quarter while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has had one of the most illustrious careers in NBA history.

He's been selected to 14 consecutive All-Star games, 13 All-NBA teams, 11 All-Defensive teams and his 29,484 career points rank fifth all-time.

But from watching and hearing Kobe, it's clear that he's most proud of the five NBA championships he's won. And Bryant is far from complacent: He's on a mission, willing to do all it takes, to win a sixth title.

Kobe spoke to the L.A. Times about that elusive championship in February.

I'm obsessed about it. I've got to get it. It's just one of those things. I can think of nothing else.

As a kid growing up, that's all I saw. I watched [Larry] Bird, I watched Magic [Johnson] and I watched [Michael] Jordan win multiple titles. You just kind of grow up saying this is how it should be. This is what I must do. I want another one.

With that kind of mentality, Kobe will leave this game with at least one more championship.

Just look at what he's done this year.

In the regular season, Bryant averaged 38.5 minutes per game, which was the fourth-best in the NBA. It is truly remarkable that Bryant, at age 33 and in his 16th year in the league, having already played 48,310 minutes (including playoffs) before the season, was able to play that much. And it's not as if Bryant was completely healthy all year, it's just that he'll do anything to help the Lakers win.

DENVER, CO - MAY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Kenneth Faried #35 of the Denver Nuggets and Danilo Gallinari #8 as Pau Gasol #16 looks for a pass in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Furthermore, he also shot a lot, leading the league with 23 attempts per game and finishing with 27.9 points per game (second in NBA). 

Some could deduce from those numbers that Bryant is too selfish. Truthfully, his high number of shot attempts are due to him understanding the lack of scorers on the Lakers, and the need for him to take over offensively. 

And Bryant's will to win and the team's dependence on him was clear in Game 6 of the Lakers' first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. Bryant was suffering from the stomach flu on game day, and reports began to surface that Bryant might not be able to play.

But Kobe being Kobe, of course he would suit up come game time—and not only play, but also be great. He logged a game-high 37 minutes and led the Lakers in scoring with 31 points, while shooting 56.5 percent from the field.

As we all know, the Lakers lost the game, but you couldn't blame Kobe. He poured his guts out on that court, and delivered the type of performance where you just know that Bryant will hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy again. 

On Saturday night in Game 7, Bryant delivered a different type of performance than in Game 6, but again demonstrated that at this point in his career, all he cares about is winning.

Surprisingly, his supporting cast played great, and Lakers such as Steve Blake were actually hitting their perimeter shots. So Bryant, doing what's best for the team, kept feeding them when double-teamed.  He recognized the attention he commanded, rather than relying on his shot as the biggest weapon the Lakers had. 

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers falls into the front row after making a basket in the fourth quarter while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on
Harry How/Getty Images

Still, in regular Kobe fashion, he came up clutch and hit a dagger three-pointer with a little more than a minute left to clinch the game.

But things took a turn for the worse for Bryant's championship quest on Monday night, as the Lakers were manhandled by the Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, losing 119-90.

While it's admittedly not looking great for the Lake Show, the series is far from over. And even though the Lakers might not have the depth of a championship team this season, they have Kobe.  He's just too good, and wants it so badly that when he releases his classic baseline fade-away jumper, it feels almost possible.

Kobe will win a sixth championship. Can he do it with this supporting cast is the question.


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