Before I begin discussing Kobe’s legacy, lets get one thing squared away. No, his career does not measure up to Michael’s Jordan’s, at least not yet. Metaphorically speaking, he’s in same arena, but up in the nose bleed section while MJ is courtside. But hey, he’s still the only other guy in the building.
The Lakers won their franchise’s 15th title earlier this month; Kobe has had a part in 4 of them and is only 30 years old, pretty impressive. I know he wasn’t the “main guy” (though he averaged 20ppg or better in 6 seasons while playing with Shaq, 30ppg in 02-03) during the Lakers early 2000’s run, but his role on the team was critical. Many critics and NBA analysts believe, and often say, without Shaq those championships would not have been won. In my opinion, a better question is, Would the Lakers have won those championships without Kobe? I think not.
Like MJ was, Bryant is now the fiercest competitor in the league. He takes each battle personally and never backs down from a challenge. Bryant has been selected to 11 All-Star games, 7 All-NBA First and Defensive teams, he’s won 2 scoring title, voted 2008’s MVP/2009 Finals MVP and has won 4 titles. His stats and accolades support his standing as one the greatest to ever play the game. A sure fire Hall of Famer.
What is Kobe’s legacy? Right now, it’s still undecided, but he has now entered into the realm of MJ, Magic and Bird. Will he ever surpass Michael’s title total? Its not likely, but let’s not forget that MJ won 3 titles after the age of 30, so its possible.