Kobe Bryant is going to keep chasing championships until he's fifty. At least that's what it looks like as he continues to play at an extremely high level ("Kobe on Team USA"). Bryant donned his first championship ring when he was just 20 years old. At 33, he's still got a good chance at winning more.
Michael Jordan remains the greatest shooting guard the NBA has ever seen, though Bryant seems to close the gap a little bit each year. The inevitable comparisons to Michael Jordan still show Kobe Bryant lagging behind in some key areas. In the championship department, Bryant is just one behind, but that's a big one. Kobe Bryant has had an incredible career, but his five championships are short of Jordan's six.
Michael Jordan is ahead of Bryant in a few other areas as well, with more league MVP awards, more scoring titles and more career points. Oh, and Jordan 's got more retirements too, but we don't have to talk about that.
Chances are good that Bryant will end his career ahead of Jordan in total points but behind his Airness in MVP awards. The championship tally could still grow for Bryant too. If Bryant manages to match Jordan's six titles and surpass his scoring total, will Bryant's career be considered to be on par with Jordan's?
Will Kobe Bryant finally be part of the G.O. A. T. conversation?
Some people say Bryant is already there and some people say there's nothing he can do short of winning another three or four championships to earn his way into a Greatest-Of-All-Time conversation that includes Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain.
Regardless of what the future holds, Kobe Bryant has already earned a place in history. In the ranks of the all-time greatest shooting guards only Michael Jordan ranks higher in my estimation. You might disagree, but here's my argument.
Championship Tally Sets Kobe Bryant Apart
Who makes the list of the NBA's greatest all-time shooting guards?
Oscar Robertson had a truly stellar career as an NBA guard winning the league MVP award once and winning one NBA title in 1971. Bryant's five rings put him above even this all-time great (and at this point Kobey Bryant is ahead of Robertson on the all-time scoring list too).
After Oscar Robertson, there really are no other shooting guards that have careers comparable to Bryant's. Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Jerry West, George Gervin and Dwyane Wade are other outstanding shooting guards but they all fall short of Bryant's success.
Championships make a big difference. Drexler and Wade each helped teams win championships, but none of these shooting guards won as many titles as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Of all the shooting guards to ever play in the NBA, only Michael Jordan has scored more points than Kobe Bryant. Scoring is obviously not the only measure of success in basketball, but it is significant. You've got to score to win. Scorers help their teams win. The real story is not quite as simple as this, but this story makes clear the impact that certain players can have.
Only four players in NBA history have scored over 30,000 points. Bryant is set to join this select club very, very soon.
I rest my case.
Eric Martin is a lifelong basketball fan living in the Los Angeles area, lucky to have lived in Illinois during Jordan's reign and in Philadelphia when Allen Iverson was in his prime.
More from this Contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Kobe Bryant
- Michael Jordan