How The LeBron James Signing May Enhance the Legacy of Kobe Bryant

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IJuly 11, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 21:  Confetti thrown from the crowd falls around Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant as he holds the championship trophy while riding in the victory parade for the NBA basketball champion team on June 21, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 87-79 in 7 games for the franchise's 16 NBA title. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images

If we can all agree that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in NBA history, then he is the measuring stick by which all great players, such as Kobe Bryant, are measured against.

Speaking of Kobe Bryant (how is that for a segue?), just how should we measure his greatness as compared with His Airness ?

One way is by using statistics. But the most common argument in the NBA seems to always include the number of rings on their fingers.

By my count, Kobe currently has five championships, while MJ has six.

Of course, it is fair to assume that Jordan may have had a couple more if he hadn't retired to pursue a baseball career, and if the Bulls hadn't disbanded their team prematurely.

So, just how does an NBA fan truly compare the two?

Well, with LeBron James signing on to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach, The King may have inadvertently created the perfect scenario by which Kobe can truly outshine Mike.Β 

How so? By beating the three amigos in the NBA Finals.

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Look, if the Heat's trio make them as historically loaded as most seem to think, beating them could be the crowning achievement in Kobe's great career.

Additionally, since Bryant will be just 32 when the season starts, and the James-Wade-Bosh act will be performing for at least five years in Miami, he will have multiple opportunities to slay this dragon.

Now, Jordan's Bulls defeated some pretty stacked teams too.

His first title against the 1990-91 Los Angeles Lakers pared Jordan against Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Byron Scott. Yet that Lakers team didn't even win their division that year and Johnson announced his retirement the next season.

Jordan's next title matched the Bulls against a Blazers team that included Clyde Drexler. Still, that Portland team included just the one Hall of Famer, while we already know that both James and Wade are certain future Hall of Famers.

Jordan's Bulls went on to beat teams including Hall of Famers Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and John Stockton. But they never faced a team featuring three players with as much hype and talent as the current Miami Heat.

So, if Bryant's Lakers do end up facing the Heat in the Finals, and that is a big "if", of course, and Kobe ends up defeating LeBron and Wade, you can probably seal his title of greatest player ever.

Even if this scenario never comes to fruition, Kobe Bryant can make a solid case when his career is done that he is deserving of, if not being the greatest ever, at least being in the conversation.

But if he beats the Heat, he will be the conversation.

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