Let me start this off by saying I have the utmost respect for Michael Jordan and (even though I feel the media pushes him on us) LeBron James. But, Kobe “Bean” Bryant is the true GOAT of basketball.
He’s often the most disrespected by the media (let’s be honest early in his career he did not have a good relationship with the media). In several recent rankings he has been placed outside of the top 10! I repeat Kobe Bryant outside of the top 10! ESPN/12 Bleacher Report/14.
Now let’s get to the real reasons Kobe Bryant is the true GOAT
- Michael Jordan admitted Kobe would beat him 1 on 1
Here, Michael Jordan admits on video that he would beat LeBron James 1 on 1 but NOT beat Kobe. He did say “because he steals all my moves.” The question I have for people saying this is, if “copying” MJ is so easy, then why is Kobe the only person to ever do it? Not only did Kobe get moves from MJ, but he got moves from Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Jerry West.
2. The Myth that Shaq carried Kobe
This is a narrative that the media has created (in my opinion in order to protect the legacies of both Lebron James and Michael Jordan), that Shaq carried Kobe during their championship years.
- 1999-2000 I will give you this one, Shaq did his thing he averaged 30.7 points, 15.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game to Kobe’s 21.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game over the entire playoffs.
- 2000-2001 This is where Kobe started to come into his own and become a star. What people fail to realize during these times is that the East had NO dominant centers. So, the question should be, what got the Lakers over the hump with dominant centers in the west? The answer is Kobe Bryant. You can’t get carried when your numbers are 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Those numbers don’t look like a guy that got carried. To add some perspective on things, LeBron’s finals MVP numbers were 29.7 / 11.3 / 8.9 which are identical to Kobe’s. Considering Kobe had to share the spotlight with a prime Shaq, there’s no way he got carried.
- 2001-2002 Kobe’s 26.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game he also led the team in scoring in 10 playoff games vs Shaq’s 9.
When the two separated Shaq won only ONE more championship while Kobe went to another 3 championships which resulted in 2 titles and finals MVPs.
LeBron may have better stats but look at their one on one matchups and clearly you can see who got the better of who. The same can be applied to Kobe and MJ which their last duel resulted in Kobe dropping 55 on Jordan sending him back into retirement.
Who else could score 81 points in a game in such a poetic fashion? Who could get the stubborn MJ to open up and share his knowledge of the game? Who was the bridge between MJ and LeBron? Who was like a bigger brother to so many currently NBA stars? The answers to these questions are Kobe Bryant.
To the Stephen A Smith’s of the world, Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe, and Nick Wright, you all revere both LeBron James and Michael Jordan, but I’m here to tell you, Kobe Bryant was all that and a bag of chips and has dominated both.
Rest in Peace to the GOAT Kobe Bryant.