So he may end up with a top-10 career of all-time, but he will never be a top-10 player.
That just smacks of hate and bias. It actually reflects the pompous and vitriolic commentary leveled at Kobe from self-righteous stats heads a la wages of wins, etc.
Shaq was dominant because he was an athletic 7'2" center that allowed him to physically destroy less active and athletic big men. Does this make him a better player? My little cousin is 12 and can dribble, shoot, and generally play basketball better than me. Guess what, I kick his ass because I’m a foot taller and 150 pounds bigger. Shaq-attack son!
Shaq, Duncan, hell, LBJ, play a game that is skewed statistically to valuing the contributions of a big man over a guard; less ball handling = fewer turnovers, more assisted shots, more chances to get a block or rebound, and closer shots = better efficiency. In a game which requires you to score in order to win (duh), Kobe has been maligned because he tries to do just that; win by scoring.
Let’s look at Championships over the last ten years or so, shall we?
1999-2002, the Lakers reign supreme. Shaq is dominant, but plays with all star guard Kobe Bryant. You think the Lakes would have done as well playing, say, Bimbo Coles as a guard?
Spurs, 03, 05, 06, Duncan plays with All Stars Ginobli and Parker. Oh yeah, Parker actually picks up the finals MVP in 2007. I know that the Admiral was there as well, and the fact that having TWO all star big-men played a huge part in their victories. Again, how would this have gone with scrubs as guards? Not as well, I’m thinking.
Detroit 04. Dominant big man where are you? A pair of Wallaces (Walli?) helped, but absent Billups (finals MVP), this team would not have beaten the Lakers. Also, Richard Hamilton goes on to become, yes, an all star.
Miami 06. Wade and Shaq. They beat the Mavericks in a season I admit that I mostly didn't pay attention to outside of the Lakers. However, Wade is the finals MVP, not Mr. Diesel.
Boston, 2008. Yuck, typing that actually hurt. Physically. Garnett the big man. MVP of the NBA. Perennial loser for years in Minnesota finally pairs with all stars Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and wins a championship. He does not win finals MVP.
Lakers 2009-20infinity. The Lakers, with a multitude of talent, including all stars Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, better all comers. Was it the shoes, Kobe? Ask MJ, I don't know. All I do know is that Kobe takes both finals MVPs.
Actually, let’s consider something else. Since 1980, guards have won the finals MVP 15 times, centers 10 times, and forwards 5 times. It appears that the true key to a winning season in the "modern era" is a star back court, not the opposite.
Kobe’s hands are smaller than MJs? He can’t finish around the rim like Dwight? He is getting older? Okay, how exactly does this detract from what Kobe is accomplishing in his 15th NBA campaign? Not much, really. In fact, Kobe’s PER is the highest it’s been since 2007, and it’s his second best year out of the last five in shooting at the rim and under 10 feet, where, according to your opinion, his lack of MJ sized hands and Dwight height should hinder him. What’s really scary, though, is that Kobe is hitting at over 50% from the mid-range area of the court. That’s the best he’s shot in the last 5 years!
What’s important to remember is that there’s a huge difference between ranking a player’s career and ranking his talent. If the Lakers win another championship, Kobe will have two more rings than Tim Duncan. But are we really going to act like he was a better player or he had more of an impact on a game?
Really, you’re going to say that Duncan is a more talented player than Kobe? That his play has had more of an impact? I think you’ve got it backwards, my friend. Nobody is as talented a player as Kobe. Nobody. Show me one player that has the same jumper, the same footwork. You’re going to rank the plodding game of a Tim Duncan against the amazingly skilled Kobe Bryant? Check please!
I think instead of jumping on the "Kobe is flawed" train, we should take a moment to enjoy the ride while it lasts. As fans, it's okay defending our favorite team, and our favorite players. It's what makes watching our favorite sports teams so enjoyable, and painful. We've invested. So take that Kobe-hatin' somewhere else.
As far as we're concerned, case Klosed...