As long as I have been an avid NBA fan; since 1998, Kobe Bryant has dominated the league in a way only one other player has. Kobe Bryant in his 16th year in the league is only 33. Kobe Bryant has 5 championships, 2 finals MVP awards, 1 regular season MVP award, 14 time NBA All-Star appearances, he has the most All-Star MVP awards with 4, and he is the fifth leading scoring in league history.
Now I am done listing his accomplishments and I want to talk about what he is still capable of doing. In many eyes he might never be considered the best of all-time because of Michael Jordan but I still believe he can be. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the leagues leading scorer of all-time and retired at the age of 42 after spending 20 years in the league, if Kobe just stayed 4 more years to the age of 37 and continues to average 25.4 he will pass Kareem and be the league leading scorer. Kobe Bryant will always be in Michael Jordan’s shadow but I think otherwise if in those 4 years he can win 2 more championships for his 7th passing Jordan’s 6 championships. Michael Jordan after 2 retirements actually threw in the towel at the age of 40 after 19 years and I must reiterate that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired at age 42 after 20 years in the NBA. Kareem and Michael are definitely the only two players ahead of Kobe Bryant because the only players of Kobe’s era that he had to compete with were Paul Pierce and Tim Duncan but yet Kobe has the same number of championships of both of them combined.
People will often try to knock Kobe’s legacy because of his tenure with Shaquille O’Neal and the fact that Shaq had all three of the Finals MVP awards from all of the championships that they won together. My counter for that argument is that Kobe won his first championship at the age of 20 after being fresh out of high school, those first four years he was in the league without a championship could have been his college years.
Michael Jordan will always be the best ever but I will put Kobe above Kareem for second best if Kobe can get another ring or at least pass Michael for the third scoring leader in league history.