Kobe Is Not Magic

Kobe Bryant is now the #1 Lakers player ... in scoring.

First and foremost, congratulations to Kobe Bryant.  Last night he poured in 44 points and became the Lakers all-time leading scorer along the way.  Ironically, the player he surpassed, “The Logo” himself, Jerry West, wore the #44 as a member of the Lakers.

Being the Kobe hater I am, I must admit that I got a tiny bit of satisfaction when I found out the Lakers lost to Memphis last night.  Of course when I say “tiny bit” I do mean “enormous“.  Despite my hatred towards Kobe, I do respect and appreciate his game.  Hell, I even admire it.  Perhaps no one else in the league rises to the occasion quite like Kobe.  The man hits clutch shots in the biggest of moments, so much so that you don’t get overly excited when he delivers.  You pretty much expect it to happen.

The talk now, or I should say, “the question” now:

Is Kobe Bryant the greatest Lakers player of all time?

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but my answer is no.  I’ll explain why, but I will say this, Kobe still has a lot of game left, and he may very well take over the throne in the future.  He’s only 31.  But because he’s not quite like the man I have above him off the court, his numbers may not matter, ever.

Magic is the man in LA, and Kobe might not catch him.

If greatness is measured by championships, then Magic gets the nod over Kobe.  Magic won five championships to Kobe’s four.  Even if the standard of greatness was based upon individual awards, Magic has won three MVP’s to Kobe’s one.  Magic has won three Finals MVP’s to Kobe’s one.  When Magic arrived on to the NBA scene, he was an immediate impact, basically, he was “the man” right off the bat.  Magic was the cornerstone to the Lakers franchise during their “Show Time” years, and if anything, was at least equal to Kareem in terms of significance to the franchise, if not more important.  When Kobe arrived in LA, he played side kick to Shaq.  Shaq deserves a “thank you” card for three of Kobe’s rings.

Magic had Bird.  That rivalry transcended basketball, and made both players larger than life.  The rivalry added to the lore of both of these legends.  Kobe has no one to push him like that on the court, and strengthen his legend.  That’s not Kobe’s fault per say, but it does affect his place on the totem pole of Laker greats.

Magic’s most memorable moment, the “junior sky-hook” to defeat the Lakers rival Boston Celtics in pivotal Game 4 of the 1987 Finals is one of the most replayed moments in NBA history.  It surpasses all of Kobe’s game winners combined.  Kobe’s buzzer-beaters albeit great, have never had the effect Magic’s shot had.  It never had the effect Michael’s hanging, double-pump jump shot over Craig Ehlo had, or his push-off, step-back J over Bryon Russell.  I don’t believe Kobe has had that one play, career defining moment yet.

If the question is, who is the greatest “Lakers” player of all time, you’d have to consider which player’s image is synonymous with the franchise.  That, sometimes has more to do with who you are outside of playing ball.

What makes Magic a better Laker is the fact that he’s a more likable person than Kobe.  Kobe’s guarded.  He’s a loner.  A bit of a weirdo.  His personality is a rip-off of Jordan’s.  It’s obvious, it’s irritating.  Magic was original.  Endearing, fun, loving and charming all rolled into one.  His smile could light up the stadium, and his persona was equivalent to his nickname, “Magic“.

Magic was loved and praised, in fact, he still is, even if you weren’t or are not a Lakers fan.  That is why he is Mr. Laker.

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4 responses to “Kobe Is Not Magic

  1. sportsguyby

    Bryant may not be the greatest Laker alltime but he’s definitely in the top ten of alltime ! There are far too many Lakers’ greats to choose from.

    Merely because he’s got West’s record doesn’t mean he’s the best. It merely means he’s overtaken an accomplishment. Why is that most Americans put so much store in something that in the end becomes utterly meaningless ? Now had Kobe won his fifth or sixth ring then it’d merit talking about.

    Alan Parkins

  2. Oh no, passing Jerry West isn’t meaningless in my eyes, it’s a huge accomplishment!

    It just doesn’t make him the greatest Laker (yet) …

  3. sportsguyby

    West’s accomplishments while great when they now often think of the truly great Lakers’ players. While it’s there in the upper echelons. The first names mentioned more often than not are Kareem , Magic and Worthy . So tell me this , is that warranted given the fact that West essentially was the Lakers’ first true superstar ?

    It’s all apples and oranges . One has to wait and to see what Bryant’s legacy will be once his career is over. Then and only then can we assess his greatness and the achievement thereof.

    Now it’s like scratching one’s testicles just to see what excitement you can elicit ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Alan Parkins

  4. I’d put Kobe third on my list behind Magic and West. I can’t say I could compare Kobe to Magic. Magic has nearly triple the amount of assists as Kobe, and single handedly revived hall of famer, Kareem’s career. Before Magic got to LA Kareem looked tired and Magic renewed his enthusiasm for the game with his upbeat personality and fun style of play. I think guys on the Lakers are scared of Kobe opposed to having fun with him.

    I like the part where you wrote how he hasn’t had that one moment. I’d say his best finals moment was his alley-oop to Shaq, which wasn’t nearly as much of a statement as hitting a game winner like Magic and MJ, because he didn’t even make the shot! I guess he still has time to make his game winner in the playoffs, but at this point, Lebron’s three last year was better than anything he’s made in the playoffs. We’ll see what happens over the next five years but he’s NOT my choice either for the best Laker of all time!

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