Kobe Bryant's career retrospective|
The illustrious career of one of the most polarizing players in NBA history has come to a dramatic and fitting end. Kobe Bryant played his final game of his first ballot Hall of Fame career last Wednesday night and finished with a fitting 60 points. Kobe's last game is a microcosm of his career. He scored a lot of points, but the points were of little value and he did so on many shots and a poor shooting percentage. Online NBA Betting did not have him scoring 60 points.
Without a doubt Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and arguably a top 20 greatest of all-time. But this is where things get murky. He had a lot of success winning five NBA championships, but controversy and question marks have followed every one of those titles.
The first three titles where not really Kobe's doing, yes he was a major component to those titles but those titles from 2000 until 2002 where on the back of Shaquille O'Neal. The last two titles in 2009 and 2010 where without a doubt Kobe's doing. Pau Gasol is a good player, but not likely hall of fame worthy and it was Kobe's play mixed with Phil Jackson's coaching that brought those titles to Los Angeles.
What people fail to realize is that each of those titles came because of different issues within the game itself. The Lakers won game 7 of the 2002 Western Finals vs the Kings simply because the officials in that game screwed over the Sacramento Kings. The calls vs the Kings were a joke.
The Kings series is the most recognizable special benefit that the Lakers and Kobe received throughout Bryant's career. The Gasol trade was questionable at best when it happened, the Grizzlies have since made up for it, but allowing the Lakers to sign their assistant coach and trade him is pretty simply cheating. Yes, the Lakers did get jobbed by the league in the Chris Paul trade veto, but the trade was a bad trade and would have been seen as another pro-Lakers moved by the league; who just so happened to own the Hornets at the time.
Kobe's great scoring games are another example. The argument can be made, and Kobe made it himself, that he had no one else to score the ball. While it is true playing with guys like Kwame Brown and Smush Parker isn't going to win you many games, on many occasions Kobe would take a bad shot in traffic instead of passing it up.
His last game vs Utah is another good example of this. He took shot after shot after shot the reach 50 points, and eventually got 60. Had it not been for total incompetence and star struckness of Utah's part, the Jazz would have won that game going away.
A lot of these listed issues you can say are not necessarily Kobe's fault. He's not the official or General Manager making these decisions, and this is absolutely true. He's not to be held at fault here, but it does tarnish his legacy a bit. But there are several incidents where he does tarnish his own legacy.
Obviously the most famous knock against Kobe is his 2004 rape trial in Colorado. While the charges were dropped and a settlement was agreed to by Bryant and his alleged victim, the circus that it brought to a Lakers team littered with Hall of Famers is one of the likely causes of that Lakers team not winning the NBA title that year.
I am not trying to say that Kobe isn't deserving of his accolades, as he easily is, what I am trying to say is that while Kobe is a great player he doesn't belong in the conversation with the top 10 of all-time.