Because they are uneducated and/or subject to fanboyism / idol worship that’s why.
Let’s be clear here.. nobody who is actually knowledgeable about basketball would put Kobe on the same level as Jordan or Lebron in terms of accomplishments.
Kobe has 1 MVP and wasn’t the best player for most of his championships, these two things alone put him out of the argument accomplishments wise.
That’s why the argument that Kobe fanboys make is based on emotional arguments and subjective arguments. ie. he was more skilled, he worked harder, he had mamba mentality, other NBA players said he was the best they ever seen etc.
Or they say he’s the closest to Jordan (in terms of skillset) which does NOT mean he ranks right after Jordan in accomplishments.
So none of this is actually related to accomplishments, these are all subjective measurements. I’m sure Kobe is one of the most skilled players ever, but that’s not what we rank players on else guys like Kyrie and Iverson would be quite high on all time rankings right? And often times what other NBA players say is because they personally idolized Kobe or they played against him thus they rank him higher.
Why does Iverson rank Kobe higher than Lebron? It’s because Iverson respected Kobe as a fierce competitor and because he played against Kobe more often he has a personal bias for ranking Kobe higher.
Let’s look at Trevor Ariza, a former Kobe teammate. He says Kobe is his GOAT because he idolized him.
However, this doesn’t mean Kobe should be in the GOAT convo just because some NBA players put him higher tho.. because as mentioned, these are all based on subjective opinions and not on objective achievements like stats and awards. I’ve never heard an NBA player rank Kobe higher than Lebron based on anything objective; it’s always based on something emotional or a bias or fanboyism.
This is why analysts (who use objective metrics like stats/awards) will always put Lebron higher than Kobe all time.
For me, I always rank players objectively according to what they accomplished on the court. How many championships did they win as one of the main guys? How many MVPs, FMVPs, DPOYs, All-NBA selections, All-Def, etc how many PPG, RPG, APG, FG%, etc did they average in the reg season + playoffs? What’s their career totals like?
I don’t base my GOAT on things like how many 50/60 pt scoring ‘explosions’ they had in the reg season, or how many 50+ win teams they beat, or how many rings they won without a top 75 player, or how ‘skilled’ they are etc that to me is all nonsense and you can make any argument for any player using these subjective metrics. I mean by that metric I can say Ben Wallace should be in any top 10 all time because he beat a superteam of Shaq, Kobe, Payton and Malone in the Finals as the ONLY all-star on his team that year. He beat 4 Hall of famers as the only all-star in the Finals that’s something even Jordan never did! What about Dirk he beat Bron, Wade, Bosh, KD, Harden, Westbrook, Gasol AND Kobe in one playoff run Or maybe Isiah Thomas should be top 10 all time cause he beat Jordan, Bird AND Magic in the playoffs! Or Hakeem cause he beat Barkley, Malone, Stockton, Robinson, Shaq and Penny in one playoff run as the only all-star! or maybe Bernard King should be ranked much higher cause he averaged 34 PPG in a playoffs run something that Kobe never accomplished! Maybe Rick Barry should be top 10 too because he averaged 41 PPG in a Finals and also swept 2 HoFers in the Finals as the only all star… you see what I’m getting at? If we cherry-pick stuff like this we can make arguments for nearly any all time great to be in the GOAT convo right?
This is why ranking players has to be on objective metrics like stats and awards. Not subjective or emotional
Edit: that’s not even mentioning the fact that basing your GOAT case on opinions from other players is never going to reliable since opinions are always changing and volatile. For example, Shaq and Pierce who previously had Kobe above Lebron, have called Lebron the GOAT after he broke Kareem’s scoring record.