L.A. Lakers: Top 5 Five Ways To Spot a Kobe Bryant Hater

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IMarch 3, 2011

L.A. Lakers: Top 5 Five Ways To Spot a Kobe Bryant Hater

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after making a three-point basket in the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on February 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    There is no shortage of adjectives to describe Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, as he has been called everything imaginable depending on how a person views him as an individual or as a player.

    One thing that's hard to deny is Bryant's impact on the Lakers and basketball as a whole, but there are those who will go to great lengths to highlight Bryant's flaws, even though NBA history will eventually regard him as a legendary player.

    It's one thing not to like a player but it's entirely something different to let your personal opinion skew how you view said player's performance on the court.

    For instance, I'm not a big fan of LeBron James the person, but he is one of my favorite players because he is a special talent, and I'm more a fan of what players do on the court rather than off it.

    But Bryant is not usually granted this same consideration, and when an individual's personal opinion of a player interferes with their basketball opinion, then they have usually entered the realm of hate.

    Hate is a crazy thing, but it's easily recognizable and you can usually separate a hater by using simple common sense when regarding their response to your comments.

    Bryant's detractors are easier to spot than most since their arguments usually go far beyond any rational thought. They tend to ignore the proof of evidence that exists right in their face.

    During my time as a writer for Bleacher Report, I have encountered numerous Bryant haters masquerading as rational objectors, but they are always given away by the absurd premise of their arguments.

    These next five slides are the most common ways to tell if a person doesn't like Bryant as a player or if they're just plain hating, and it's highly likely that you have heard some of these before. Please enjoy.

5. You Dismiss Bryant's 5 Championships as Simply a Team Accomplishment

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the court against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The debate as to whether or not championship rings are a good way to measure a player's legacy is an age-old argument, but this much is for sure: All players serve different purposes in the pursuit of NBA titles, and some are greater than others.

    It's not like Bryant was merely a spectator in any of the Lakers' title runs, and the fact that he averaged more than 20 points per game during each title run during the Shaq era is proof of that.

    Furthermore, O'Neal is often credited with being the driving force behind the Lakers' efforts from 2000-02. Detractors like to point to his three NBA Finals' MVP awards as evidence that Bryant rode his coattails to his first three rings.

    Conversely, these same people refuse to give Bryant credit for his two NBA Finals' MVP awards, and they usually point to Pau Gasol, not Bryant, as the true catalyst.

    There is some logic to this argument but the greater truth is you can't have it both ways.

    The hater's heart is found in the hypocrisy of the argument, and if a person can point to Shaq's Finals' MVP awards as proof, then the same can be said for Bryant.

4. You Refuse To Accept That Kobe Is a "Clutch" Player

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Kobe Brynat #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 108-95.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Many people are quick to point out that Bryant's reputation as a clutch player may be undeserved, and they use sites such as 82games.com to prove their point.

    That particular site shows that Bryant has only connected on one quarter of his shots that directly led to a Lakers victory, and he has actually missed many more game-winning shots than he has made.

    The truth is, last year Bryant's seven game-winning shots were the most by any player in the last decade, and when you consider the number of times Bryant has found himself in that situation, one-quarter made shots is not that bad.

    Bryant's performances in the postseason are another point of contention, and much ado about nothing has been made over Bryant's poor shooting performance in Game 7 of the 2011 NBA Finals.

    Bryant did have a horrid shooting night from the field, but he still led all players in scoring during that game and the series. Bryant's 15 rebounds in that Game 7 also accounted for the second-highest total in the game.

    Not to mention Bryant earned his second consecutive NBA Finals' MVP award with the victory.

    Sounds clutch to me.

3. You Don't Believe Bryant's 81-Point Game Is a Big Deal

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives around Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at Staples Center on February 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and a
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    This is one of my favorites because Bryant's 81-point outburst against the Toronto Raptors is the most points scored by a player that anyone has ever seen live, since Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point effort in Hershey, Pennsylvania was not televised.

    Just be honest: Those are PlayStation numbers.

    In a game that thrives on numbers, it's crazy to think that people would actually try to discredit one of the game's shining feats, but when Bryant's involved anything is possible.

    There are observers who go as far as to mention the competition Bryant achieved the record against, his number of shot attempts and, as Keith Van Horn famously mentioned, the number of assists Bryant collected.

    But none of that matters because 81 points is 81 points. For anyone reading this article who was not in Hershey in 1956, it amounts to the most points scored in a single NBA game that you can actually look up on YouTube.

2. If You Use Bryant's Rape Allegations in a Basketball Discussion

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers walks on the court after being shaken up in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on February 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 100-88.  NOTE
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    I don't agree with the choices Bryant made in his personal life concerning his admitted infidelities, but I also do not believe that an issue between Bryant and his wife has anything to do with me or the game of basketball.

    Far too often is this accusation used when critiquing Bryant. Furthermore, we tend to submit to our basic primal natures when we use the word "rapist" even though Bryant has never been convicted of a crime.

    There is a whole different set of ideas and principles to consider when it comes to innocent before proven guilty. Unfortunately, the verdict is usually carried out in the court of public opinion long before actual due process is served.

    And to be honest, it doesn't really matter anyway, because most of the NBA stars we idolize have their own skeletons in their closets, and it's never affected their images in NBA history.

    What Bryant does in his personal life may be deplorable. In some peoples opinions, it may even make him less of a human being.

    But it doesn't make him less of a basketball player.

1. You Will Not Acknowledge Bryant Is a Top 10 All-Time Player and Could Move Up

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds both the Larry O'Brien trophy and the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics 83-79 in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on J
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Kobe Bryant's career has defined individual and team success, and the accomplishments make a good case for a Hall of Fame ceremony right now.

    Five NBA championships, one league MVP award, eight first-team NBA All-Defense selections and two NBA Finals' MVP awards.

    By the way, the argument that Bryant is no longer a top-notch defender, and he continues to make the NBA All-Defensive squad on reputation is baseless since the coaches, and not the media or fans, choose the team.

    I would be more inclined to trust a coach's opinion who must game plan for Bryant before I would trust any of the other people who might choose to offer their two cents.

    Those accomplishments are impressive, and then you add in that he has matched such Laker greats as Magic Johnson in championships won, and passed others like Jerry West in scoring, and you get a very strong case for an all-time top 10 player.

    And Bryant's not done.

    Bryant has a chance to add more titles to his resume, as well as climb higher up the NBA's all-time scoring list.

    If Bryant is able to approach Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on that fabled list, then it will be nearly impossible not to include Bryant in the discussion of the NBA's top five players of all-time.

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