NBA Finals 2010: The Black Mamba's Shot at Immortality

James WongCorrespondent IJune 17, 2010

To say the 2010 NBA Finals has been epic would be the understatement of the year. For the first time since 2007, the NBA Finals are going to be decided in a do-o- die contest pitting the two most successful franchises in league history against each other. This will all go down under the bright lights of Los Angeles, in front of a sellout crowd and some of the biggest celebrities in the United States. 

For a man called Kobe Bean Bryant, this is his chance to grab history by the neck and leave his mark. That vicious imagery is fitting for the man nicknamed the "black mamba" who has built his legacy on being an incredible closer and clutch performer.

If you're a Lakers fan or supporter of Bryant don't get me wrong—I believe Bryant will go down as one of the greatest players and competitors to play the game of basketball irrespective of the result of this series.

If he retired today, he would be regarded as one of the best competitors of all-time, as well as one of the games very best offensive talents and defensive guards. However despite all that he has already achieved, Bryant has had to carry the burden of being the next "Jordan" around for his whole career.

How great will he become? How many championships will he win? When will he be great enough for us to stop comparing? Is he top 10, top 15 or top 20 all-time?

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Those are only a few of the many questions that the media and fans alike have asked in regards to Bryant over the entirety of his NBA career. Currently he sits on the threshold of NBA immortality with four NBA championships to his name and a mile long list of achievements. 

However, it seems like fans and followers of the game alike have elevated expectations of Bryant beyond what he has achieved. Four rings is highly successful, but five? If Bryant can capture a fifth ring and second Finals MVP, there is no doubt in my mind that he becomes a top ten all-time player in the NBA who is pushing on the door of the top five all-time discussion. 

KB's career has been defined by continual improvement and re-mastering of his game which has rendered us expecting more, like children cheering on their favorite superhero as he achieves greater and more undeniably incredible feats. 

Despite all the other story-lines surrounding game seven in LA, the biggest and most significant has to be Bryant's strive for five. He has a chance to put his name in the history books and achieve a level of career greatness that only a handful of players have reached in the league's 64 year history.

I'm not a Lakers fan or a Boston fan, but I'm a fan of watching legacies grow. This is Bryant's chance to seize opportunity and push his own legacy into the limelight. 

Welcome to the NBA, where Kobe Bryant happens.