Sorry to all of you who are bored when I blog about basketball. . . . . . but I just can't let this one go.
Kobe is a great player. Kobe had alot to do with the Lakers winning 3 straight titles in 2000-2002. Some have said that for his legacy to be complete, he needs to win a title without Shaq to show that he can lead a team all the way to the trophy.
I would agree with that. . .(explanation forthcoming), Shaq has said he's rooting for Kobe to win #4 as well, he's always the consumate sportsman :) .
But, Kobe disagrees that his legacy needs this title and he said yesterday when asked a question about it: "Some folks think Shaq could have won those titles without me. . they're crazy".
Kobe, kobe, kobe. . . . wow, where do I start.
First of all, Yes, Kobe played a big role in those titles. He was not chopped liver on those teams. But, I think Shaq could have done it with a number of other players at the time. Here's a short list, there's more. . . . . Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Allen Iverson, the list goes on. Kobe and Shaq were a great team, but for those years, a few people could have played the "Kobe" role. Kobe is a much better player now than he was then.
In the NBA playoffs from 2000- 2002, here are Shaq's numbers:
1999-00 30.7 .556 15.4
2000-01 30.4 .555 15.4
2001-02 28.5 .529 12.6
That's points per game, field goal percentage and rebounds per game.
Umm, that's ridiculous. Let me give you a hypothetical: If Michael Jordan had won his 6 titles in the 90's with David Robinson or Hakeen Olajuwon, would you say his legacy would be different?
Yes, without a doubt. You don't say,. . . . "wow, Larry Bird would have never won those titles without Kevin McHale" regardless of the truth in that statement, Larry Bird, was without a doubt the best player on all of those teams. . . . same for Jordan. . .
Also, the two blemishes that won't go away are 2004 and 2008 when Kobe was the best player on the floor and could not lead his team to a finals victory. In fact, I'm still not over 2004 when Kobe shot away the series against the Pistons. I could write 6,000 words about that series, but suffice it to say, Shaq put up a 38pt. 15 rb. game in game 4 of that series, a crucial game that the Lakers lost. Kobe continued to hoist contested jumpers throughout the whole series until Detroit hoisted a championship banner, but I digress. Bottom line, when Kobe has been the best player on a team, they haven't won the finals.
Kobe was a great support to Shaq through all the title years. People forget that they also had Ron Harper, Brian Shaw, Glen Rice (underrated), Derek Fisher, and other great players on those teams.
But, Kobe needs to be the best player on a team that wins the finals to be considered in the top 10 all-time players. Shaq dominated the entire league for these 3 years, and Kobe has not yet done the same. We'll see if he can do it in this series. If so, then he gets respect has having LED a team to the finals.
nerd out. . . .