Where does Kobe Bryant rank among the most accomplished basketball players of all time? Is he in the top 10, or maybe even the top 5? What do you value when ranking individual basketball accomplishments?
This article is not attempting to list the greatest players of all time, i want to make that clear. It is attempting to list the most accomplished, in other words... it is not about the most talented players in NBA history, but about the players that made the most out of their talents.
To me personally, the most important thing is championships. The more championships the more accomplished. However i feel it is important to recognize how important a player was to the championship. Was the player a role player? Was he a vital piece to the championship puzzle? Was he an MJ, Pippen, Shaq, or Duncan type? Or a Robert Horry,Derek Fisher, or Steve Kerr type?
Other things to consider when talking about a players all-time status is individual accomplishments such as MVPs, DPOY awards, ROY awards, all NBA selections, all star selections etc.
Lets discuss where the mamba ranks with the all time greats.
The first thing to consider when compiling this list is to rank all the players by championships won, then determine if they were role players and as a main contributer, alpha dog type of player for their team.
The all-time list of players with the most titles goes as follows:
Bill Russell-(11) Being at the top of this list automatically guarantees you a spot in the top 10 list of most accomplished players in NBA history. Russell was a 5 time MVP, a 12 time all star, a 3 time all NBA 1st team selection, and 8 time second team selection, and an ASG MVP in 1963.
Sam Jones-(10) Jones averaged 18, 5 and 3, for his career, and was a 5 time all star, a 3 time all NBA 2nd team selection, and had his #24 jersey retired by the boston celtics. Jones was not a career role player, and his accomplishments should put him on the short list of greatest of all time.
Tom Heinsohn-(8) Heinsohn averaged 18, 9, and 2 for his career, and was a 6 time all star and rookie of the year in 1957. He was named to the all NBA 2nd team 4 times, and had his #15 jersey retired by the Boston Celtics. Heinsohn was not a career role player, but he should not be considered on the short list of greatest of all time.
KC Jones-(8) Jones averaged 7, 4, and 4, for his career and his only major individual accomplishment was having his #25 jersey retired by the Boston Celtics. Jones should not be considered as one of the GOAT as he was a career role player.
Satch Sanders-(8) Sanders averages 10, 6 and 1, for his NBA career, and was named to the all defensive second team once. Sanders should not be considered as one of the GOAT as he was a career role player.
John Havlicek-(8) Havlicek averaged 21, 6, and 5 for his NBA career. He was named the 74 finals MVP and also named to 13 all star teams. He was named to the all NBA first team 4 times and the 2nd team 7 times. He was named to the all defensive team 5 times and the 2nd team 3 times. he also has his #17 retired by the Boston Celtics. With this resume i believe he has earned a place on the short list of GOAT.
Jim Loscutoff-(7) Loscutoff averaged 6, 6, and 1 for his NBA career and was honored by the Celtics with his last name on the back of a jersey hanging from the rafters. However, with stats like those he cannot be considered one of the greatest of all time.
Frank Ramsey-(7) Ramsey averaged 13, 5, and 2 during his NBA career and had his #23 retired by the Boston Celtics. However, he was never named to an all star team and therefor should not be considered one of the greatest players of all time.
Robert Horry-(7) Horry was known for his clutch shot making ability in crunch time of big games, especially during the playoffs. During his career and earned the nickname "Big Shot Bob". His most famous shot came during game 4 of the 2002 WCF against Sacramento. Horry drained a game-winning 3 as time expired which helped propel LA to 3-peat about two weeks later. However, Horry never had big numbers during his career and never appeared in an ASG. Therefore he should not be considered one of the greatest of all time as he was a career role player.
Bob Cousy-(6) Cousy was one of the leagues elite point guards during the 50's and 60's, and lead the league in assist for 8 straight years. He was a 10 time all NBA first team selection, a 2 time all NBA second team selection, a 13 time all star, and even won an MVP award in 1957. With this resume, Cousy has earned a spot on my short list of greatest NBA players of all time.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-(6) Kareem was one of the best of the best, his resume speaks for its self. He wa the all time leading scorer in NBA history. He was a 6 time champ, a 6 time MVP, a 19 time all-star, a 2-time finals mvp, a 10 time all NBA first teamer, a 5 time all NBA second teamer, a 5 time all defensive 1st teamer, and a 6 time all defensive 2nd teamer. He won the rookie of the year in 1970 and had his #33 jersey retired by the Bucks and Lakers.
Michael Jordan-(6) What really needs to be said. MJ is without question the greatest player of all time. He was a 6 time champion, a 5 time MVP, a 6 time finals MVP, a 10 time scoring champion, a 14 time all star, the defensive player of the year in '88, he was named to the all NBA first team 10 times, and the 2nd team once, he was named to the all defensive 1st team 9 times, he won the rookie of the year in '85, and had his #23 retired by the Chicago Bulls.
Scottie Pippen-(6) Pippen played the role of sidekick to Michael Jordan during the bulls dynasty of the 90's, although he didn't take much of a back seat to Jordan in terms of importance to his team. Pippen was a 7 time all star (even taking home the '94 ASG MVP), a 3 time all-NBA 1st team selection, a 2 time 2nd team All-NBA selection, and a 2 time all-NBA 3rd team selection, an 8 time 1st team all-Defensive selection, and a 2 time 2nd team all-Defensive selection. He was arguably the greatest perimeter defender of all time. He even had his #33 jersey retired by the Chicago Bulls. However his career averages were only 16, 6 and 5 and although he was not a career role player by any means, he should not be considered for the short list as one of the greatest of all time.
George Mikan-(5) Mikan was a 4 time all star and named the '53 ASG MVP. He also was named a 1st team all-NBAer 6 times. He was not by any means a career role player, and was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, but he is not in the elite of the elite in terms of all time basketball greatness.
Jim Pollard-(5) Pollard averaged 13, 8, and 2 for his career and was a career role player although he was a 4 time all star, a 2 time All-NBA First Team, and a 2 time All-NBA Second Team selection.
Slater Martin-(5) Slater was a 7 time all star and a 5 time all NBA 2nd team. He averaged 10, 3 and 4, for his career and is considered a career role player.
Don Nelson-(5) Nelson averaged 10, 5, and 1 for the celtics in the 60's and 70's, however he never made an ASG and is considered a career role player.
Michael Cooper-(5) Cooper came off the bench for the "showtime" lakers in the 80's and played a fairly big role for his championship teams. However he was at best the third best player on those teams, playing along side Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He earn the DPOY award in 1987, and was a 5 time all defensive first team selection, and a 3 time all defensive second team selection. Because he did come off the bench and played with two of the greatest players of all time, Cooper should not be considered on of the greatest players of all time.
Magic Johnson-(5) Wow, where to start? Magic was a 5 time champ, 3 time MVP, 12 time all star, 3 time finals MVP, a 9 time all NBA first team selection, a one time all NBA 2nd team selection, a 2 time ASG MVP, an NCAA champion, and had his #32 jersey retired by the Lakers. He averaged 20, 7, and 11 for his career, and holds the record for most assist per game in NBA history. He also holds the record for most points scored a single game by a rookie with 42.
Dennis Rodman-(5) Rodman was a fantastic player off the bench and is arguably the greatest rebounder of all time, as he is the leagues all time leader in rebounds per game. He was known for his outstanding defense, hustle, and exceptional rebounding ability. Rodman was a 2 time DPOY, and 8 time All-defensive selection, and a two time all NBA third team selection. However Rodman was only a 2 time all star. All things considered, he is a career role player, but he has a case for most accomplished defensive player of all time, and because of this he has earned a spot on my short list.
Ron Harper-(5) Harper's only individual accomplishment during his NBA career was being named to the '87 all rookie team. He averaged 14, 4, and 4 during his career and was a career role player.
Steve Kerr-(5) Kerr was a career reserve player for the 2nd bulls dynasty of the late 90's and was best known for his championship clinching shot against the Utah Jazz in the '97 NBA finals. Being a career bench player, Kerr should not be considered one of the greatest of all time.
Derek Fisher-(5) Fisher has been known for his defense and big time shot making ability during his NBA career, especially during the playoffs. For example his shot with .4 seconds remaining on the clock during game 5 of the 2004 WCF against San Antonio. However Fisher has never appeared in a ASG or received any other type of major individual award during his career, therefor he is a career role player, and should not be considered one of the greatest of all time.
Kobe Bryant-(5) At last the subject of the article. Kobe Bryant has had one of the most accomplished careers in the history of the NBA. The Mamba is a 5 time champion, a 2 time finals MVP, the 2008 regular season MVP, a 13 time all star, a 2 time scoring champion, a 9 time all NBA first team selection, a 2 time 2nd and 3rd team all NBA selection, and a 9 time all defensive first team selection, a 2 time all defensive 2nd team selection, and he holds the record for most all star game MVP awards with 4 (tied with Bob Pettit). He has scored the 2nd most points in a game in league history with 81, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to score more the 73 points in a game. He also is the highest scoring Laker in history, one of american sports greatest franchises.
I feel the top 5 players in NBA history in terms of career accomplishments go as follows:
1. Michael Jordan
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Bill Russell
4. Kobe Bryant
5. Magic Johnson
Where do you feel Kobe ranks among the most accomplished players in nba history?
What is your top 5?
Remember where not talking about the greatest players of all time here, that subject is far more opinion-based than this one.