Pivot Points: Kobe Bryant and the Attack of the Flat-Earthers

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IFebruary 20, 2010

BOSTON - JANUARY 31:  Kobe Bryant  #24 the Los Angeles Lakers beats Rasheed Wallace #30 of the Boston Celtics to a loose ball in the second half at the TD Garden on January 31, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  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 Jim Rogash /Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Before Ferdinand Magellan's crew completed their historic journey around the globe in 1522, there was a large contingent of society who believed the world was flat, and if one sailed to the ends of the ocean, they would simply fall off the map into oblivion.

Magellan's voyage coupled with other historical journeys ended talks of a flat world for the majority of people but there was still a group who refused to believe the presented evidence and these people came to be known as "flat-earthers."

"Flat-Earthers" exist on various levels in our society today, only the issues they represent separate them from the people in the 1500s, and they are similar in their confusing denial to the facts of a matter.

President Barack Obama's struggles with the "birthers," and "truthers" is one example, and in the NBA Kobe Bryant's battle to receive the proper respect for his accomplishments is another.

Never has a player produced on the level which Bryant has and simultaneously had his achievements diminished by a portion of the public which simply refuses to see the truth in his legacy.

Bryant's four championships eclipse the total number won by many of the players for whom there is little to no discussion regarding their place in history, yet this seems inconsequential when discussing Bryant.

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Jerry West who was supplanted by Bryant as the leading scorer in the history of the Los Angeles Laker franchise is loved and revered by many and seen as one of the greatest to play in the NBA.

In terms of numbers and career accomplishments, Bryant has surpassed West in nearly every category, yet there are still those unwilling to include him as one of the three greatest Lakers in history?

As Kobe's career has progressed it has become more and more difficult to denigrate his legacy so people have started resorting to desperate and amusing measures to make their point, to no avail.

Every single facet of Bryant's game has been dissected and laid under a microscope in a fruitless effort to discover some flaw which would prevent him from being recognized as one of the game's best.

The championships won with Shaquille O'Neal have been trivialized because Bryant was not the focus of the offensive strategy, but in reality it took Bryant coming into his own for the Lakers to win those championships.

By no means was he a casual spectator and his play had as much of an impact and counted just as much to the Lakers' success as O'Neal, as Shaq his intimated on several occasions.

But like so many who would deny Bryant his rightful place, I digress, because the facts in the case far out-weigh the speculation. Bryant has four rings and no matter how hard you may try it won't tarnish their shine.

His 25,000 points leave him in rare company no matter what you may have to say about his shot-selection, the number of shots he takes, or if he should have given the ball up instead.

Who cares that some websites have statistics which say Bryant doesn't hit the big shots when they count? I trust my own eyes as evidence, and so far they have witnessed several moments which counter that argument.

Bryant started his career in Los Angeles and has remained there, and in these days of free-agency that is a rare accomplishment itself, but in his time there he has become one of the most decorated players in the franchise's history.

He has all of the awards a player could win, multiple championships, legendary moments, the second highest scoring game in NBA history, and he is the all-time leading scorer for one of the league's most storied franchises.

Bryant will never be Michael Jordan, but he doesn't have to because his achievements don't need Jordan's approval to stand on their own, and those who would exalt Jordan often look at Bryant in disgust.

It's as if Bryant's game has in some way intruded on Jordan's legacy, and admitting the similarity in both player's games would be doing his "Airness" a grave dis-service.

Well, sorry but their games are similar and Bryant does have a chance to at least draw even with Jordan as far as legacy goes before his career ends and judging by Bryant's age, that's a fair assumption.

Sadly, even if the numbers bear me out and the evidence is displayed for all to see, there are still those who will refuse to believe the truth, our own NBA "Flat-Earthers."


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