Los Angeles Lakers: Top 5 Ways to Spot a Kobe Bryant Fanatic

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IApril 22, 2011

Los Angeles Lakers: Top 5 Ways to Spot a Kobe Bryant Fanatic

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in Lo
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    About a month ago, I wrote an article entitled The Top Five Ways to Spot a Kobe Bryant Hater, and needless to say the topic generated quite a bit of discussion.

    Several readers suggested that I should do another piece that shows the opposite end of the spectrum, and it's only fair to acknowledge the merits of their comments.

    Just as there are people who refuse to accept the fact that Bryant is a great player under any circumstances, another faction exists who refuses to admit that Bryant's resume does include some flaws.

    These people have earned the name of "Kobe Bryant fanatics," or "fan-boys" to be more direct, and you can find this crowd dispersed through message boards across the web.

    The term has even been applied to me as well, and although I will defend Bryant's legacy to the end, there are even a few lines I will not cross.

    And those lines are the ones that separate the observers who truly appreciate Bryant's talent from those who could have a low-grade man-crush on the Lakers star.

    Chances are you have engaged one of these people in a conversation concerning Bryant, and the experience probably taught you to proceed with caution when discussing Bryant in the future.

    Because there is a certain group of people who who seem incapable of acknowledging that Bryant has any flaws at all, and I have compiled a list of the top five ways to spot them.

    Please feel free to comment and let me know if there are some other ways to spot the Kobe fan-boys that I may have missed. Enjoy! 

No. 5: Thinks Kobe Is the Lakers' Best Player at Every Position

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers catches the ball as he is guarded by Willie Green #33 of the New Orleans Hornets in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Stapl
    Harry How/Getty Images

    When news spread that Kobe Bryant had spent several weeks working with Hakeem Olajuwon to refine his post game, most people saw it as proof of Bryant's ability to evolve his game in the wake of diminishing foot speed.

    Others saw it as a warning that Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's jobs in the paint might not be safe.

    That was bad, but it grew worse when Bryant actually had an opportunity to demonstrate his new-found post abilities, because then the whispers started that Bryant could be the team's best post player.

    I appreciate the fact that Bryant is concerned enough about his game to continue adding wrinkles at this stage of his career, but that does not mean that all of a sudden he is the Lakers' most dominant post player.

    It is true that Bryant has played at least four positions during his career, but most of those instances were born out of necessity, not because Bryant was the superior player at the position.

No. 4: Insists That Bryant, Not Shaq, Really Led Lakers to Three NBA Titles

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    LOS ANGELES - MARCH 6:  Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O'Neal on his 32nd birthday opens the Team LA Superstore on Universal Studios Citywalk March 6, 2004 in Los Angeles, in California.  (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
    Mark Mainz/Getty Images

    I hate when people try to devalue Kobe's importance to the Lakers' NBA championships of 2000-02, because his presence was essential to each title the Lakers won during that period.

    It's not like Bryant was a casual bystander, as he averaged more than 25 points per game, and was the primary reason Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs failed to win a title in those three seasons.

    Bryant provided several memorable moments against the Spurs, Portland and Sacramento, but Shaquille O'Neal was the most dominant and physically imposing player of that era.

    O'Neal was also the player who Phil Jackson's triangle offense was crafted around.

    The Lakers had the luxury of having the most talented perimeter-post combination in the NBA with Bryant and O'Neal, but it all started by getting the ball into Shaq.

    The entire team reacted to what Shaq did when he got the ball in the paint, and it would be silly to assume he was anything other than the Lakers' focal point on each end of the floor.

No. 3: Pretends the Kwame Brown-Smush Parker Era Never Happened

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 30:  (L-R) Smush Parker #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with his teammate Kwame Brown #54 during the game against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on March 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    The 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons are probably the most trying of Bryant's career, yet to some of his fans that era, which included former Lakers Kwame Brown and Smush Parker, didn't even happen.

    Those were tough times for Bryant and the Lakers organization as a whole, as the 2004-05 season became only the second time the team failed to reach the postseason in the franchise's history.

    Bryant was still dealing with the backlash from Shaq's departure, and he had little faith that the Lakers could provide him with the players he needed to bring the franchise back to relevance, and he let his feelings be known in a very public manner.

    Many of Bryant's detractors point to those years when criticizing Bryant's "sterling" legacy, and instead of pretending those years didn't exist, Kobe's fans should embrace them.

    Up until that point, Bryant had never really faced any career adversity, and playing alongside Parker and Brown certainly fixed that.

    It was an important period in Bryant's growth as a player, and although the Lakers were downright awful during that time, it should help fans appreciate their recent success even more.

No. 2: Constantly Hints That Kobe May Already Be Better Than Michael Jordan

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    LOS ANGELES - MARCH 28:  Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers helps up Michael Jordan#23 of the Washington Wizards during the game between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers on March 28, 2003 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Califo
    Vince Bucci/Getty Images

    Kobe and Michael Jordan will probably never be able to escape the constant comparisons of their games, and in truth the debate does hold merit because their skill sets are so similar.

    But there are some very distinct differences between the two players that also define each player individually.

    For instance, Bryant has been a superior mid-range player for most of his career, while Jordan didn't add that aspect of his game as a major component until later in his career.

    But the biggest difference between the players was Jordan's efficiency, and that creates an obstacle that Bryant will never be able to conquer.

    Jordan shot an amazing 50 percent from the field for his career, and although Bryant is steadily creeping up the all-time scoring list, and has already competed in more NBA Finals than Jordan, the difference in career shooting percentage really stands out.

    Of course, there are other statistics that people can use to make an argument for Bryant, but none of them will prove that Bryant is a better player right now, and there is no evidence that he will ever be.

    But have faith, Kobe fans, because his legacy is not contingent on surpassing Jordan as a player, and to be fair his career has already been impressive enough to stand on its own.

No. 1: Refuses to Acknowledge the Flaws in Kobe's Game

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the third quarter while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2011 at Staples Center in
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Kobe is arguably one of the most skilled players to grace an NBA court, but his superior talent is also the source of Bryant's greatest flaw as a player.

    I feel that sometimes Bryant tends to trust his skills a little too much, and sometimes it causes him to make questionable choices that are detrimental to his team.

    How many times have you seen Bryant dribble the ball off his leg, or lose it out of bounds while he was likely thinking two or three moves ahead?

    What about the times Bryant has wasted the shot clock looking for an opening to penetrate the defense, when a pass would have been just as effective?

    Some of Kobe's fans are a little too quick to forgive and dismiss these instances because of Bryant's overall impact on the team, but it shows that Bryant is not a perfect player.

    But no one is perfect when it comes to basketball, and each great player has had flaws in their games, and it is not neccessarily hating when someone reminds you that Kobe has his own faults as well.

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