Paul Ulane

Breaking Down Kobe

  • Hoophead
  • Paul Ulane
  • May 22, 2009, 3:37 PM

Earlier this week I posted a Splog about the Lakers newest superfan Spike Lee. A few of you responded, but this one caught my eye in particular:
I think that [Spike Lee rooting for the Lakers] is very wrong and Kobe's overrated anyway...
- Alexis from Europe
Wow, Alexis, those are strong words about a three-time NBA champion and former league MVP. But then I got to thinking, is Kobe Bryant as great as we think he is? I mean, out of the league’s current superstars – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony – Bryant has by far the most talent on his roster.
In Cleveland, LeBron hits the court every night with Mo Williams by his side. That’s all well and good, but Williams would be the Lakers’ fourth best player. Carmelo has a seasoned veteran in Chauncey Billups and a host of big bodied bangers inside, but none of the skilled type of players that Kobe works with in the Triangle Offense. And Dwyane Wade? Please – he actually hurt his back carrying his squad of rookies and journeymen into the playoffs.
Just looking at the players surrounding Kobe on the Lakers roster in the last few seasons, you’d think he’d be gunning for ring number five by now. But he’s not. And that’s a problem.
Look, besides Kobe, the only other player in the NBA who can consistently get me to jump off my couch is LeBron James. That being said, there’s a lot more to winning basketball than spectacular plays. At this point in his career, Kobe has to know this (he has been in the league for 13 years!!!) Yet still, Kobe hasn’t hoisted the title trophy since Shaquille O’Neal left town (which, I might add, was because Kobe wanted to lead the team by himself).
And that’s where I lose respect for Bryant’s game. With his combination of unlimited offensive moves, basketball IQ, and skilled teammates, these Lakers could’ve won the most games in league history. Meanwhile, Kobe didn’t even lead his team to the most wins in the league this year. Whether it is fair or not, that falls on the team leader.
When you are your team’s best player, and one of the top two talents in the entire league, your teammates look to you for guidance. Unfortunately, the look Kobe gives back is usually one of disgust. It seems like Kobe has a hard time accepting some of the other Lakers’ limits. I can’t even imagine what might happen next year if Los Angeles can’t resign all of their free agents.
I still think Kobe is one of the top five players in the league. In order for him to catapult back to the top of the hill, though, he has to prove that he can win a title this year. He has too much talent on his roster to come up short. One part of being a superstar is making the spectacular play when the pressure is on. The other part is elevating the teammates around you. If Kobe can’t do that, then it’ll be one of the other young guns - LeBron, ‘Melo, even Dwight Howard - taking the title of best player in the NBA.
Sorry Kobe, winning counts just as much as scoring when it comes to greatest of all time.
What do you think: Is Kobe Bryant the best player in the NBA or is he overrated? Click E-mail the Editor and I’ll post the best responses!
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