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Was Kobe the greatest Laker?

It depends.

There are a few contenders for greatest Laker, most notably: Kobe, Magic, Kareem and West. I will compare different categories for these players.

Most games/seasons played as a Laker: Kobe

Most win shares: Kobe

Most championships as a Laker: tied between Kobe, Kareem, Magic and George Mikan (5)

Most championships taking into account executive leadership: West

Most Finals appearances as a Laker: Tied between Magic and West (9)

Most MVPs as a Laker: Tied between Magic and Kareem (3)

Most Finals MVPs as a Laker: Magic

Most total points scored as a Laker: Kobe

Highest PPG as a Laker: West

Highest RPG / total rebounds as a Laker: Kareem

Highest APG / total assists as a Laker: Magic

So I would say if you think the greatest player for a team is the player who played the longest and contributed the most win shares (I call this the Kyle Lowry/Buck Williams model since by this definition they are the greatest Raptors/Nets players) – then Kobe is the greatest Laker

If you think the greatest player for a team is the player who had the best peak and won the most awards/rings with the team (I call this the Bill Walton/Kawhi Leonard model since they stayed a very short time but won many awards with the Blazers/Raptors) – then Magic is the greatest Laker

If you think the greatest player for a team is the totality of their playing career + their executive career and their impact on franchise history – then Jerry West is the greatest Laker

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What is Kobe Bryant‘s place in basketball history?

Can’t believe Kobe has died, brain is still processing this.

As many people may know I wasn’t a Kobe fan and I considered him the most overrated player of all time.

That said Kobe was still one of the greatest players in NBA history, a top 10 player all time, the second greatest SG all time without a doubt.

Kobe has the unique status amongst basketball players of being much bigger than their sport. I think Tim Duncan is probably the most contrasting example with Kobe. Quiet dude, had just a great a basketball career/resume, yet Kobe is probably 10x as famous as Duncan. Kobe was like Michael Jackson, or his idol Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods. Someone so famous that they transcended what they did.

Kobe was famous for his legendary work ethic, his dedication to his craft, and his “mamba mentality”. He inspired millions around the world in a way that few other basketball players could. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an outpouring of grief for an athlete’s death in my lifetime. Shaq, Tmac and West all broke down crying on TV. Past legends like Kareem, Magic, Russell, Isiah, Dr J, Rick Barry all tweeted their condolences. Late night show hosts offered a tribute. Presidents Trump and Obama tweeted about it. Modern NBA greats like Lebron, CP3, Wade, Melo, KD, Curry, Iverson, Kawhi, Pierce, Kidd, Nash etc all had something to say about Kobe. It was unlike everything I had ever seen. Kobe touched almost everyone. That was his greatness.

Although I don’t rank Kobe as highly as others on my all time list, I cannot deny that Kobe was the second greatest ambassador for basketball in its history after his idol MJ, as he was probably the second most famous basketball player in the world.

RIP Kobe Bryant. You will be remembered as one of the all time greats, by anybody.

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Ignoring career performance, who at their peak was the best NBA basketball player ever?

By peak do you mean prime? Who had the best primes?

I have a few suggestions, can’t pick just one so I’ll list them out:

These are some players with great primes:

1952–1960 Bob Cousy

1957–1965 Bill Russell

1956–1964 Bob Pettit

1960–1968 Wilt Chamberlain (by the numbers he would be the GOAT here)

1961–1970 Oscar Robertson

1962–1972 Jerry West

1967–1972 Connie Hawkins

1959–1965 Elgin Baylor

1967–1974 John Havlicek

1969–1977 Elvin Hayes

1969–1980 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1966–1975 Rick Barry

1977–1978 Bill Walton (yes this short 2 year prime was one of the greatest i’ve seen)

1972–1981 Julius Erving

1973–1978 Pete Maravich

1976–1981 David Thompson

1978–1983 George Gervin

1979–1985 Moses Malone

1983–1987 Isiah Thomas

1984–1985 Bernard King

1980–1988 Larry Bird

1983–1991 Magic Johnson

1986–1996 Hakeem Olajuwon

1987–1998 Michael Jordan

1987–1996 Charles Barkley

1988–1997 John Stockton

1988–1998 Karl Malone

1990–1996 David Robinson

1996–2000 Grant Hill

1994–2003 Shaq

1999–2007 Allen Iverson

1998–2007 Tim Duncan

1999–2007 Kevin Garnett

2001–2007 Tracy McGrady

2002–2011 Dirk Nowitzki

2001–2013 Kobe Bryant

2005–2011 Dwayne Wade

2008–2014 Dwight Howard

2008–2016 Chris Paul

2005–2020 Lebron James (seriously one of the longest primes ever!)

2009–2019 Kevin Durant

2014–2019 Stephen Curry

2015–2019 Russell Westbrook

2013–2020 James Harden

Out of these primes I think the top 10 best primes were:

  1. 1960–1968 Wilt Chamberlain
  2. 1987–1998 Michael Jordan
  3. 2005–2020 Lebron James
  4. 1969–1980 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  5. 1980–1998 Larry Bird
  6. 1994–2003 Shaq
  7. 1961–1970 Oscar Robertson
  8. 1959–1965 Elgin Baylor
  9. 1966–1975 Rick Barry
  10. 1979–1985 Moses Malone
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