These days, the debate of who the greatest player in NBA history is revolves almost completely around Michael Jordan and LeBron James. While people seem to be generally split on generational lines, more and more members of Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation feel James is the greatest player in basketball history.
One recent great player who has gotten left out of this debate is the late Kobe Bryant. With five NBA championships, two scoring titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards and numerous other individual honors and accomplishments, few can say they have a better resume or legacy than the Black Mamba.
Former NBA player Trevor Ariza, a former teammate of Bryant, told Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe while on the podcast “Club Shay Shay” that Bryant, and not Jordan or James, is the best ever (h/t Lakers Daily).
“Kobe Bryant is the best player ever. … @KobeBryant is 1A, and @KingJames is 1B.”@TrevorAriza stops by the club this week to drop a lot of NBA Hot Takes. Catch his episode now on Club Shay Shay YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts. pic.twitter.com/4YDSUi15Kv
— Club Shay Shay (@ClubShayShay) November 29, 2023
Ariza came to the Lakers early in the 2007-08 season as an undeveloped 22-year-old forward. He quickly emerged as an effective team defender and fast-break finisher, and he was a key member of the 2009 Lakers squad that won it all.
His contributions to that team led to him having a productive 18-year NBA career. He ended that career as a member of the Lakers two seasons ago, which gave him the opportunity to also play alongside James.