Kobe Bryant: Best of the Era, but Is He the Best Ever?

Curtis Finchum@CRose24Correspondent IMay 31, 2009

DENVER - MAY 25:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on in the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 25, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant, a man whose resume is enormous. Three NBA Championships, an MVP Award, and an Olympic Gold Medal.

Bryant is known as one of the best players of the era, and considered the one of the best players in the NBA, and the World. His company for that honor is astounding: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett.  

Bryant is known as the games best closer, he's hated and loved by so many people across the country. But now, in the 2008-2009 Playoffs the debate has begun, who is the best player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?

LeBron James is without a doubt a great player, however, people forget the controversy that Kobe Bryant has had to go through and still excels. Bryant is in a class of his own, a class that can only be compared to one player, Michael Jordan. 

A comparison of the two is really hard to do, both were the best players in their era, both far more skilled than all the rest. Jordan and his six rings make him by far the best player to ever play the game of basketball. 

Bryant though, has made a name of himself, since starting his career for the Lakers at the young age of 17, his game has evolved far beyond all those who have attempted to compete with him. 

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Bryant has proved to be an elite player since he entered the league. As a thirteen year veteran, the 30 year old Bryant has seen a little bit of everything. From not making the playoffs, to winning the NBA Title, to being an NBA All-Star, to winning the MVP Award, there is very little that he hasn't done. 

But here and now, Bryant has elevated his game as well as his status as the games best closer. He has returned to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive time, after falling to the Celtics last season.

Bryant and his talented teammates had nothing else on their mind but to remove the terrible taste in their mouths. After a rough five game series against the Utah Jazz, a ridiculously physical seven game series against the Houston Rockets, and an erratically high scoring six game series against the Denver Nuggets, Bryant now can seek redemption. 

As people across the world attempt to compare the likes of James and Bryant, it is truly impossible to do so fairly. Both are the best at their positions and both at their strengths.

James is a outstanding finisher around the bucket, probably the best in the NBA at it. Then Bryant, is the leagues best closer, if not the worlds best closer. 

James though, can not be compared to Bryant. Yes, James is without a doubt the future of the NBA, and at 25 he has made great strides to becoming the best player in the league.

But as long as the 30 year old Bryant stays in the league, the title of the worlds best player belongs to him.

Then there is those who wonder is Bryant the best who ever played the game? The answer...no, Bryant is not. Jordan is by far, bar none, the best player whose ever stepped foot on the basketball court. 

However, since the tender age of 17, when he had to have his parents sign his first ever contract, to winning a gold medal, Bryant has every skill necessary to become the best player whose ever played. 

The question is, will his swagger, his passion, his hunger, and his heart last long enough for him to be able to do so? He's already done so much in 13 NBA Seasons. Now it's time to find out what he has left in the tank. 

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