First of all.. we are talking about the Lakers. I hate the fricken Lakers. The greatest Laker of all time is Steve Nash. Why? Because he's my favourite NBA'er.
White Men Cant Jump (great movie by the way ahaha), you do bring up some good points, and while I would find it tough to argue that Kobe is as good of a leader as Michael or Magic, I think you are severely down playing how great of a force Kobe was. He does not have to be as good of a leader as Magic to be simply better than him. They are two entirely different players and people. Why compare them based on their similarities (present and not present), and not on their successes? Magic was amazing in different ways. He was a superior passer and changed the game of basketball as a big man who would run the point. With that said, I think Kobe is the best to ever do it in a Lakers jersey - the statistical and offensive dominance he had on the game is simply unmatched by many of the things Magic did (and I like Magic far more than Kobe).
Firstly, it is unfair to say Kobe was Shaq's Robin, or Wolverine, or what ever. They dominated together. Shaq allowed Kobe to be so successful, and vice versa.
Kobe's first championship with Shaq he saved the Lakers more than once in the playoffs (game 7 vs. Portland where Kobe took over late and game 4 in the finals where Kobe battled injuries and took over when Shaq fouled out). Not to mention, Kobe was an astonishing defender in his first few seasons. He was the youngest ever All-NBA Defensive team player in the year of his first ring.
The next season, his averages in the playoffs were 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists. Also All-NBA Defensive team.
The next year in the playoffs, 26.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists on 51.4% shooting. Great shooting, and great defence again.
Doesn't that look like Shaq and him dominated together? Them together was necessary for both of their successes. I do not look at the Shaq/Kobe years as an argument against Kobe as an individual basketball player.
Then, in 2009, he averaged 33.4 points and 7.4 assists in the finals, where he dismantled the Orlando team in 5 games that, themselves, beat Lebron's 66 win Cav team. Kobe dominated. Also, he was solid defensively. Pau, Fisher, and Kobe all played really good team defence if memory serves me correct. Kobe is not always a ball hog, he has under rated court vision and can be an effective passer (as history has shown).
In the years where the Lakers were not as successful post Shaq, Kobe still dominated offensively averaging crazy scoring numbers averaging 35 points a game one year.
You can talk about Magic's legacy all you want, but Kobe is going to leave quite the legacy himself.
And say what you want to say about Lebron, but he is not winning on his own. Wade and Bosh, while not as good as they may have been prior to the Big 3, both are all stars (as well as their coach, although that is a different story). Wade and Bosh were huge against the Thunder (and Pacers that first championship), and Lebron needed his team to make big plays against the Spurs (*cough* Ray Allen *cough*). Thats not a bad thing either, deferring to your team mates, and Lebron was clearly the best player on both those teams, but do not tell me he is on his own. His team is fantastic with him.
My choice is Magic. Magic could play all five positions. He could do virtually everything very well on the court and he didn't need to take lots of shots. He turned it on when it was needed, I really don't think ego played into his style of play at all. On top of that he has to be one of the most likeable, charismatic players I can think of.
Kobe has done a lot of great things and his talent is through the roof but in my opinion he's all about himself.
Kobe and Magic, it's hard to determine which one had more sheer talent in their prime so Magic wins that battle by way of the legacy he left beyond the stats. Magic did it the right way and I can't clearly say that about Kobe. Kobe pretty much killed a dynasty to serve his ego. Magic would have never went there. He would have co-existed with Shaq perfectly or virtually anybody else for that matter. Magic was a great teammate. I don't think Kobe was/is.
If the Lakers had Magic Johnson right now in his mid 30's they'd have never lost D12 because Magic would have effectively blended the guy into the fold and made him feel at home. He would have set Dwight up for success because one of Magic's greatest abilities was making everybody better, he knew his teammates and knew how to get the most out of what he had to work with. Kobe on the other hand only really seems to understand his own capabilities and expects everybody to fall in line and do their bit when it's needed from time to time.
I put Kobe on the same level as Shaq. Magic and Kareem are up one notch.
It has nothing to do with doing it alone, or whatever. Obviously people always need help to win.
The gist of my logic is this....if you can choose one guy to build your team around, who do you choose? I would not be able to put Kobe ahead of Magic or Kareem in terms of Lakers. And I would be quite happy with about 5-10 other players ahead of Kobe as centrepieces, who I think would be easier to build a team around as leaders and personalities, not necessarily as talent.
Kobe seriously benefitted from being in Lakerland, with a team with unlimited resources and a fearless approach in team-building. That would be true of any player though.
Again, I said Kobe is like a mercenary. As a hired gun type player, he's definitely among the best ever. In that type of argument, I have no problem with someone putting him ahead of Magic or Kareem. But in terms of picking one core piece that you know you'll easily be able to make things work, he'd be far from my first choice.
Put it differently, I would much rather get another guy, like Magic, Kareem, Hakeem, Duncan, etc....first, and then try to get a guy like Kobe to put beside him, rather than the other way around. Does that make sense to people?
**It wasn't my intent to downplay the kind of force Kobe can be. That is obvious. Any Raptors fan should know that if they saw that 81 point game he laid on us. Again, just about who I'd rather build around.
Last edited by white men can't jump; Mon Aug 19th, 2013 at 02:23 PM.
Beyond Bosh and Wade, the talent on Miami is pretty dreadful...comparably bad, although probably a bit better, than those Cavs teams he was on...which became the worst team in the league after LeBron left quite quickly.
And just for fun, if anyone doesn't know about George Mikan, look him up. HE INVENTED THE BIG MAN GAME IN THE NBA. Before Russell and Chamberlain. He forced them to change the rules. Because of era it's definitely hard to put him ahead of other guys who faced generally higher level of talent. But he was just as revolutionary as Magic was for the PG position at the C position. So if you don't know about this dude, take some time one day to read about him. He made the NBA a big man game which it stayed until the 90s Jordan Bulls.
And in regards to George Mikan, the one drill every kid wanting to get better at basketball should really commit to and do every day or every practice, is the Mikan drill.
Sometimes, I like to buy a book on CD and listen to it, while reading music.
magic. don't like kareem much. kobe is good but magic was incredible. like lebron could play any position. his first playoffs in the finals he was their starting 5. super super good at everything.
For The Win
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