Blogtable: The greater Kobe feat — winning with Shaq or without him?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Favorite Kobe moment? | Should Kobe do Rio? | Greatest Kobe feat? | Greatest Laker ever?



VIDEOThe Lakers’ dominance in the 2000s began with the Kobe-Shaq pairing

> The greater Kobe feat: Winning three in a row with Shaq, or two in a row without him?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: The two championships without Shaquille O’Neal are more impressive from a strictly-Kobe perspective. He had lots of help in 2009 and 2010 too, notably Pau Gasol and coach Phil Jackson, but those two Lakers teams also caught lightning in a bottle with the likes of Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Metta World Peace. Let’s put it this way, if Kobe hadn’t led L.A. to those titles and finished his career with two fewer rings, he wouldn’t be in any GOAT or Rushmore conversations outside Lakersland. And Shaq would forever lord it over him.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comIs it easier to run on one leg or two? No brainer. Everything is harder when you don’t have Shaq around to do the heavy lifting.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: For a Bryant feat and not necessarily a Laker achievement, it’s the two without O’Neal. As much as Bryant has established himself as a star during the three peat, Shaq was still the player in the league no opponent could straight counter. When Kobe became the unquestioned leader of the best team, on the court and in the locker room, it meant something more because everything was on his shoulders. He had changed personally. His game had changed. And Bryant delivered to earn a credibility boost whether he needed one or not.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: No doubt, the two without Shaq weigh more in my mind. Understand where Kobe was at in his career. He was blistered (and rightly so to a degree) for being a selfish gunner. He recovered from that and became a better team player and leader. In so many ways, Kobe was more important to the Lakers for those two titles than he was for the three titles.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com Shaq’s numbers…

’00-02 playoffs (58 games): 29.8 PPG, 14.2 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 55% shooting.
’00-02 Finals (15 games): 35.9 PPG, 15.2 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 60% shooting.

So yeah, the two titles without him were the greater feat.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Winning titles without Shaq is easily the most impressive feat of Kobe’s career, in my eyes. Winning back-to-back titles without Shaq seems unfathomable, even after watching Kobe do it. His confidence, will — along with Pau Gasol‘s unbelievable work and Metta World Peace‘s game-saving heroics, among other things — and the joy it gave Kobe to win without the Shaq asterisk were undeniable during those title runs. It changed Kobe’s legacy to win those two other titles without Shaq.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Two in a row without him: Because the NBA was a much more competitive league when Kobe was winning his final two championships. The Shaq-Kobe teams never faced any opponent as talented, experienced and competitive as the 2009-10 Celtics.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blogWithout. I always used to make the argument back then that Shaq should have been the MVP every season, which is no slight to Kobe — Shaq was such a unique combination of size and speed and athleticism that he was virtually unguardable. At the same time, Shaq had plenty of teammates who were not able to win titles with him. To Kobe’s credit, he figured out how to play alongside Shaq and be a potent one-two punch. 

18 Comments

  1. Louis says:

    BACK TO BACK !!! WITHOUT SHAQ!!!!!

  2. Kal says:

    his greatest achievement was getting those sorry Fakers into the playoffs in 2013.. if he gives up on that team, they go down as the worst trainwreck ever.. instead, he gave a bunch of guys who didn’t deserve it a chance to compete..

    2nd best accomplishment was the great series he played in 2006.. they didn’t lose that series because of Kobe..

    third greatest was prolly in 2000 when he saved the unproven Lakers from going a dicy 7 games with Reggie Miller when Shaq went down with injury in Indiana..

    his MVP trophy and rings were somewhat inevitable. but he had an ATG celebration with the spreadarmed angel embrace of the crowd in 2010..

  3. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Kobe was putt’n up numbers with Shaq and without Shaq on losing teams and on championships teams without Shaq, Kobe was going to be great with or without Shaq the guy is one of the greatest if not the greatest of all time, Jerry West knew it and made the trade on draft night.

  4. Nesteabonbon says:

    MWP did bail Kobe out.. remember the put back after Kobe airballed the potential game winning shot?

  5. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back down the road. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice evening!

  6. DeandreSzz says:

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thank you for providing this info.

  7. JQ says:

    What an obviously stupid question and waste of web space

  8. Just sayin says:

    Kobe’s greatest feat was not about rings at all.
    The String of 60+ point games that had me watching intently every game to see if he could keep going. No player has held my attention like that before or after.

  9. harriethehawk says:

    I think it’s impressive that he won a total of 5. Who can say that now?

  10. Van says:

    I would say the Chips without Shaq, because the wins and losses would be held for him or against him. Also for the record the facts are that Shaq never won those first three Chips without Kobe. When he fouled out I think those playoff Laker victories was because of Kobe game play, people negate those times quite a bit and shrug them off, which I think is just due to a conflict with his personality from years back.

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    Gee, Shaq’s stats in the Finals that John Schumann mentioned are extraordinary.

  12. Joe Vancil says:

    To be honest, I don’t see these two as the most impressive accomplishment; I think the 81 points in a single game were his *GREATEST* accomplishment. And keep in mind, I’m bigger on team accomplishments than personal ones, but we’re talking *81* points, the second-most in NBA history.

    And given the choice, I cannot make any argument for the three with Shaq being more impressive than the two without Shaq. This seems to me to be a fairly easy question, when framed as it is. And given that in 2000, there’s no way anyone can deny that that was Shaq’s year; he missed a unanimous MVP selection by one vote for a misguided person who went for Iverson, and that’s the most dominant I’ve ever seen a single player across a year.

  13. RickJ says:

    Here’s a thought…..How many rings did Shaq win without Kobe?????? Just one….no way really?. Kobe won two. Imagine that…and the scoring numbers are nearly identical in the playoffs of the second two championship years. But what do I know

  14. Kobe won with Shaq bc Shaq dominated and they had some of the most clutch players in NBA history in Fisher & Horry. Then Kobe won the next 2 bc of Bynum, Gasol, Odom, and bc Meta World Peace bailed him out. Kobe almost single-handedly blew the Lakers chances in multiple games against the Celtics the year they won. So honestly, neither are that impressive “kobe feats” bc he got so much help from his teammates and wasn’t close to the main factor of them ever winning.