Originally posted by LA9erFan:
I was discussing Kobe's legacy with some Celtic fans on celticblog.com, (which is an excellent site) and it really became clear to me that Kobe is the most under-appreciated NBA star of all time.
They say "he Shaq & then Pau", or "he's only been the best player on two of these teams." However...
Magic - Was the best player on only 3 of the title teams, played w/one of the best centers ever, and two of his teammates were Top 50. Plus he had an excellent role players and a bench.
Bird - 3 titles, had two other Top 50 players next to him, and other great role players like DJ, Maxwell, Ainge, etc.
Jordan - Had one of the Top 50 of all time, the greatest rebounder ever for 3 of them, and great role players/bench all around him.
Who's Kobe's Top 50 player next to him? How good is our bench? Considering that Bynum's been SEVERELY limited the last 2 years, how good is the talent around Kobe compared to the talent that those guys had?
Good points, Pete.
You're gonna' hate this but... to me, that proves how important image is, in relation to the love/respect/adoration/appreciation a player's legacy receives. Right or wrong, perception IS reality. As much as you know I hate the lakers, I loved watching Magic. He was a joy to learn from, as far as play and passion and personality. (I even pulled for 80s LA over Boston because of him)
Bird- His perception was that of a cold-blooded assassin, Clint Eastwood-style, IMO. And as much as he hurt his opponents, you knew he probably do exactly what you're most afraid of him doing to you- ripping your heart out and showing it to you.
MJ- Everyone dreams of flying. MJ realized those dreams and we slowed them down and froze them in time down for some sweet-ass images. He had the tongue, and the smile, and everyone wanted to be like Mike. Yes, he was an a-hole who punched teammates, but he did that when the world wasn't looking- behind closed doors. All we heard were stories, and that didn't compromise him in any way; it added to the intrigue.
Kobe- Capable of doing darn near everything mentioned above BUT he frickin' broke Man Law when he got busted. He snitched. He's a rat. One of the most talented NBA players, but sealed his fate by telling cops, when the interrogation lamp was in his pupils, another mans' business. It's his reality, and so shall that perception remain. It's not just what you do that counts, it's how you do it. And he did it wrong, and that's his "legacy"- an unlikable snitch who wins more often than not. Rank him how you will, but know others are doing the same.