Kobe's ascension up the ladder of the NBA's historically elite has been anything but typical. Unlike many of the greats before him, Mr. Bryant was not assisted by the media in his conquest. Deemed another cocky wanna be Jordan before he could take his first shot, the Mamba was already doomed.
Early on in his career fate would turn its back on him also being drafted to one of the most athletically stacked teams guard wise in Lakers history. Kobe was denied what all the other great guards before was given, rights to his own team.
Even though he would come off the bench, his relentless worth ethic would not let him remain there for long. It is also worth noting that Shaq did not get is first ring until Kobe finally got a bigger role with the Lakers.
Going of Kobe's first three years in the league one would be hard pressed to guess that Kobe would be in the position he is now. At his lowest he put up consecutive air balls in a close playoff game versus the Utah Jazz, at his pinnacle he has lead the Lakers team post-Shaq to back to back finals winning Finals, MVP in both.
The road in between has been more Six Flags "Iron Wolf" then Dorthy's yellow brick road. So while he's no Michael Jordan, lets sit back and enjoy something possibly greater the first Kobe.
As far as I can remember Kobe is the first non-starter to eventually gain a starting spot,co-lead a team to 3 consecutive NBA titles and lead them to back to back titles as Finals MVP twice.
Kobe was also the youngest player to start in the All-Star game. In 1999 Kobe was the youngest ever to win defensive honors making the NBA's all defensive team. At 23 years old Bryant is the youngest player to win three rings.
I see your back to back MVP's at 25 Lebron and I raise you back to back to back chips,while being second on my team in points first in assists and first in steals. Thought so! On December 20, 2005, Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks.
Entering the fourth quarter, Bryant had outscored the entire Mavericks team 62–61, the only time a player has done this through three quarters since the advent of the 24-second shot clock. On January 22, 2006, Bryant did something even Jordan wasn't capable of doing scoring 81 points in a 122–104 victory against the Toronto Raptors.
Not only did he break the previous franchise record of 71 set by Mr.Elgin Baylor, Bryant's 81-point game was the second highest point total in NBA history, surpassed only by Wilt the Stilt.
In that same month, Bryant also became the first player since 1964 to score 45 points or more in four consecutive games, joining Chamberlain and Baylor as the only players ever to do so.Bryant was now entering a part of basketballs sanctuary that not even Michael had graced.
For the month of January, Bryant averaged 43.4 points per game,the eighth highest single month scoring average in NBA history and highest for any player other than Chamberlain.
By the end of the 2005-06 season, Bryant set Lakers single-season franchise records for most 40-point games (27) and most points scored (2,832). Not bad for a bench warmer huh? At 29 years and 122 days Bryant became the youngest player to 20,000 career points.
In a career that is far from its final chapter Kobe has amassed One league MVP, 5 NBA Championships, 2 NBA Finals MVP awards, 12 All Star Selections, 3 NBA All-Star MVP's, 2 NBA Scoring titles, 8 NBA first teams, 2 NBA second teams, 2 NBA third teams, 8 NBA defensive first teams, 2 NBA defensive second teams, Slam dunk contest winner ( Lebron were you at man).
With at least five good years left in Kobe's career he has a legitimate chance of passing Jordan up in NBA titles and surpassing the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's greatest offensive talent. So I say lets sick back and enjoy the greatest show on earth, The Mamba not becoming the next Jordan, but becoming what he was destined to be from the beginning the first Kobe.