Blogtable: What will Kobe’s legacy be?

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: Kobe’s place in Top 5 Lakers hierarchy? | What will Kobe’s legacy be? | What was Kobe’s defining moment? | Do you see coaching in Kobe’s future?



VIDEORelive Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan’s career showdowns

> When it’s all said and done, what will the legacy of Kobe Bryant be?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comAt a time when the NBA was wondering “who’s got next?” as it pertained to Michael Jordan, with some such as Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady falling short for various reasons, Kobe Bryant was the real deal. Almost eerily so, in fact, with certain mannerisms, priorities and speech patterns that seemed to mimic Jordan’s a bit too closely. But that’s what the league wanted, that’s what we wanted, and that’s what Bryant gave us, hitting his target like no others. He didn’t surpass the original, but he barged into the conversation, kept Jordan alive through the ongoing comparisons and bridged the gap till LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry came along.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: A single-minded, ferocious competitor with a penchant for the dramatic and a fearlessness in the face of any situation. For all the talent and the breathtaking exploits, he’ll also be remembered as a virtuoso talent who could never truly enjoy playing with the rest of the kids.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The rings. Within that, though, as the guy who did it his way no matter what. No matter how many teammates it turned off. No matter how many extra hours of preparation it took. No matter how unpopular he became for a time in Los Angeles. Determination was what made him and what hurt him, but either way it set him apart.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: That he tried very, very hard to be like Michael Jordan and almost pulled it off. By “almost” I mean in terms of scoring and flair and titles. There’s a clear distinction with regard to greatness and icon status, which Michael has over everybody. Kobe won 5 titles, 2 without Shaq, and was fun to watch. That’s his legacy.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com:  In general, it’s positive. He’s the third leading scorer in NBA history and he has five championships, 17 All-Star selections (and counting), and two gold medals. He had a relentless work ethic and an incredible competitive spirit. But I’ll always wonder if he could have won another championship or two if he had the willingness to trust his teammates and the desire to make them better. Sometimes, that competitive spirit got in his own way.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Kobe’s legacy is a mix of defiance (I’m old enough to remember the reaction of many when he donned those shades and announced he was skipping college for the Draft), rip-your-heart-out competitiveness (roll any of his highlights) and, ultimately, triumph (see all five of his championships) and inspiration (see his millions of fans). For an iconic star whose path to stardom was paved in a most unconventional way, Kobe exceeded all expectations. Spending his formative years away from the U.S. always made his story something totally different from his contemporaries. It’s also what gave him the global appeal that has marked his time in the spotlight. He inspired the next generation in the same ways Michael Jordan did for his generation.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: At a time when high school draft picks were being criticized for their sense of entitlement, Kobe (not unlike Kevin Garnett) went old-school. He made the most of what he had. He prepared and played as hard as he could until there was nothing more to give.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Kobe was the greatest player of his generation, as well as the fiercest competitor of his generation, and perhaps the most mentally tough player to ever play the game. Did he shoot too much? Did he not get along with teammates or coaches? Maybe, but in the reflection of history, those things won’t be as important to remember when recalling what made Kobe, Kobe.

14 Comments

  1. Greatness says:

    Kobe Bryant’s legacy is being a top 5 greatest of all time player and that every court is his home court with all the kobe fans in the stadium in every city. I hate how people say if he trusted his teammates more he could have won more championships. Thats not true because if he gave the the ball more he wouldn’t score and the team wouldn’t score so they would lose. Kobe hasn’t had a great team after Shaq. He just had Gasol and that was pretty much just it. Unlike most NBA legends that won lots of championships they had at least 3 or more really good basketball players or a whole team of really solid ones. Kobe hasn’t had that consistent players. He had good guys but they weren’t that reliable. Kobe won championships with himself and one other guy. That’s something Lebron can’t do, Bird, Magic, Hakeem, Isaiah even Jordan(Himself Rodmam, Pippen) couldn’t do and that shows a lot. And pretty much only besides Jordan has someone single handedly carried a team to the semi-finals. Kobe even won a championship doing it in 2009.

  2. Shooter By Night says:

    Some of you people on here really know squat!! Kobe didn’t get along with his teammates. Kobe won three with Shaq. Kobe will never be MJ. Y’all sound like idiots! Check this man’s resume for a second. Where ever y’all are employed look at your resume. Is it GREAT! You don’t have to get along with your teammates. Your job is to win…That he did. Did MJ sing “KUMBAYA” with his teammates? Kobe also won three with Shaq and Shaq won three with Kobe. It’s called a 1-2 punch. Your right Kobe will never be MJ and MJ will never be Kobe.

  3. Elitist says:

    Kobe Bryant’s legacy is that, it was never allowed to be seen. Never allowed to blossom at the right time, the right way, with the right players, ripe in a league with no supporting cast but Odom. It’s too bad, Kobe did not have a special wing man that was close in his age and in his prime like a Westbrook and Durant or Jordan and Pippen. He had a stroke of timing that was off–to early & too late for those championships he did win, but nothing that captured him in his prime 2003-2008.

    Imagine if Kobe had a Shaq the same age (like penny and Shaq almost ) or a developed Pau Gasol in 2001-2013 or anyone as good as Pippen for those middling years he didn’t win a title, of cross without title wins the years before, he would have developed this relationship with the other player. In these years if he had his Pippen and Grant or Rodman, you would have saw an 8-9 peat. A Kobe with those 1990-1998 bulls cast would have enriched his already seen greatness and created the magic of his true prime that only Jordan got to showcase–with the timing he was blessed with.

    Imagine Kobe in those finals 2003-2008 with a 90’s bulls-like team and Phil Jackson, you would have saw the same performances and even better that Jordan got to showcase against the Blazers, Suns, Sonics etc., But unfortunately the timing of a player’s career and the chips that fall around him ARE EVERYTHING. Yes, the media and its cash rollers have opinions and hot, large, windy, strong self-made truths–but none can crack the true marble of Kobe’s character.

    Kobe Bryant was the Best Basketball Player who has ever played the game. He took Michael Jordan’s platform and turned it into Anti—Gravity Rocket Ship. This man has had hotter hands (even colder hands at times) than anyone in the league–(see John Stark’s vs Rockets 1994 game 6 in the finals for another hot hand example). He would shot fire, and stay on fire longer than any player ever seen. His enduring fire was hotter and longer than anyone.

    He hit the toughest shots ever taken in the game (ask Phil Jackson), had the prettiest moves, cutting like butter through any opponent, slammed home Howard, would have made a bigger legend of his game –had he HAD THE RIGHT TIMING IN 2009 VS LEBRON to give his ultimate show of his skills, skills that were more developed and polished than MJ. And yet, the people don’t like him as much as a Magic or Jordan.

    He was tied with Jordan for the greatest practice player of all-time. Getting up at 4 A.M having multiple work outs a day. His obsession could not be matched and never was. Only if he had his prime in the right time–any soul would see the light that never got lit by the greatest showman, samurai, ninja, court- dictator and strong man the game never got to truly see. He is in a non-political reality a 7 time League MVP, the toughest survivor the game has breed, and has the spirit of Champions that can only be at bestowed by God.

  4. Spoiled vino says:

    @Leon W

    You are so smart! Chicago’s 7 footers are Luc, Bill, you can throw in Edwards or cartwright or even jack from the early years. Are you comparing them to Shaq and Gasol?

    Funny stuff, and pippen is Baby jordan? You know who Harold is?

    Kids should stay in school and watch some old news from Denver.

  5. Josh says:

    Kobe’s legacy will be just like Scottie Pippen’s, except with one less ring. He’s the next best second fiddle in history.

  6. Leon W says:

    Its hard talking to young people about Kobe, cause MJ was the only good baller they ever saw. if MJ was better than Kobe, he would have came out of highschool. they say Kobe had Shaq, well MJ had Pippen who was a baby Jordan ,and Dennis Rodman, with a slew of 7 footers. And if Gasol wasn’t weak in the post he would be tied with him. Kevin Garnett ate Gasol up in the Garden. to end I say this MJ and Kobe are the same. If i were picking a team, i would take either one first. Kobe’s handle was better, and remeber MJ DOGGED HIS TEAMMATES TOO, SMACKED TEAMMATES, AND SAID DON’T GIVE BALL TO Cartwright, I’m out to the KOBE haters.

  7. Robert says:

    What other player do we dare to compare to Jordan? Also, the idea that Kobe didn’t make others better is the absolute stupidest and untrue thing the so called experts bring up. He made others better as much as Jordan did, end of story!

  8. Rob says:

    He was really good but has been average, very average, for a few years. Maybe no player has divided opinion more than this guy. Some feel he’s great some that he’s very over rated. Some people will miss him some won’t. His retirement will probably see some people put on an even higher pedestal than they already do which at time seems impossible.

  9. Trey says:

    He is Definitely in the top 10 of all time! He may have been selfish but the media made it seem more so then actuality! He also was probably difficult to play with. Jordan was also… his teammates have been quoted saying it. But what great player wasn’t, at one point, difficult to play with. He is a winner and the ultimate competitor. His vision and goals are what every athlete should have in their scope of site when it comes to figuring out what they actually want to accomplish in their respective sport or whatever it is he/she choose to do in life. Kobe Bryant gives so many hope! Yes it takes blood, sweat, tears, injuries, growing pains to get where he is today but he is such a better person, man, husband and father because of all those difficult morning workouts and multiple surgeries. Not only is he a top 2 Laker EVER but he is definitely a top 10 NBA player of all time because of his willingness to constantly set the bar for what it takes!

    Chris Bosh said during the USA training camp that they were all eating breakfast at about 7 am when in walks Kobe with his trainer drenched in sweat. He had woken up to do is normal 4 am workout before their 8 am practice. Dwayne Wade commented that that is what changed the way guys approach their daily and weekly workout routines.

    At the end of the day everyone is going to have their opinion and the media sure has spend years trying to make Kobe a villain when in reality he was just playing the role that was made for “JUST HIM” #TRUE WARRIOR #FIGHTER #LAKER

    I thank Kobe for so many amazing highlights and memories.

  10. Pete says:

    Kobe Bryant may have been better suited to an individual sport with his inability to play well with others as Fran Blinebury & John Schuhmann mentioned which resulted in him just alienating the people on the same team. He was a very talented player whether you think he was great depends on what you consider to be great.

  11. None Of The Above says:

    He was one of the best of his generation, but, I would say the best of that generation was Tim Duncan. Bryant’s reputation has been built on extreme hype which made him one of the most popular players ever but also a little over-rated. He won rings with one of the games best big men in the league at the time in Shaq then Pau and one of the greatest coaches, but was never good enough to carry a team to success. With all that he is a legit top 20 player – some would say top 10 or higher but that brings into focus the reputation point made earlier.

    • CJ says:

      I’m going to have to disagree and I feel most would Tim Duncan is definately great but I don’t think he goes ahead of Kobe right behind yes totally but to be ahead of Kobe is a little bit of a stretch Tim has always been surrounded by great players in a great system with a great coach so was Kobe but what Kobe did for basketball is what Jordan did he set the bar higher and higher and if I had to put Kobe on a list of all time greatest it would have to be number 2 right behind Jordan Kobe is Jordan with minor differences but no body has gottten as close as he did and I don;t think anyone will.

      • raheemveal says:

        @None of the Above What I’ve never understood is the double standard everyone has for Kobe because he played with Shaq. They forget that Kobe typically outplayed Shaq to get them through the first few rounds in the tougher Western Conference, but that’s not the point. When has Tim Duncan carried a team to a championship? When has anyone? The Chicago Bulls made it to the NBA Finals without MJ the year he retired, but no one doubts his greatness. Duncan has never played with a below average team. Despite his consistency, he hasn’t been dominant since like 2006 and hasn’t had to. Granted Kobe has a different mindset than Duncan, but imagine if he had the luxury of playing 30mpg and saving his legs for the last ten years like Duncan has. As an individual player, Kobe is on another level. Also, as CJ said Duncan also plays for one of two greatest coaches ever in a great system. Jordan is the GOAT, but Kobe has the best pure basketball skills I’ve ever seen. In his prime, his game had no weaknesses on either end of the floor. He’s easily top 5 of all-time.