Is Kobe Bryant a top 3 all-time NBA player?

Kobe fans would have you believe he was the 2nd greatest all time after Jordan, because he’s ‘the closest to Jordan’.

You often see Kobe put into the GOAT convo by a lot of casual fans online.

The reality is that he is a fringe top 10 player. His fanboys will hype up every moment he has, especially all those regular season scoring games. Yeah his 5 rings and his 81 point game look cool to casual fans, but once you dig into his career more you would know how much of Kobe is just purely manufactured hype and myth. Here are the facts:

  • Kobe has 1 MVP in 20 seasons. What’s more, for everyone who thinks he was ‘robbed’ of MVPs, he only came in 2nd place for MVP one time in 2009. He was outside of the top 2 for MVP voting for 18 out of his 20 seasons.
  • Kobe was not ‘equal’ to Shaq. From 2000–2002, There were only 3 playoff series where Kobe outscored Shaq – 2001 vs Spurs, 2001 vs Kings and 2002 vs Spurs. That’s it. And Shaq of course more than double Kobe’s RPG in every series. Kobe fans who say they are ‘equal’ are basing this on a very few playoff games which is just cherry picking the exceptions. Shaq was a more valuable player than Kobe was and that’s why he was being double teamed and triple teamed not Kobe. I don’t care if he couldn’t hit free throws and Kobe had some nice moments here and there just because Kobe was a better closer doesn’t mean they are equal. Kobe fans just literally cherry pick everything for example he had one good game in 2000 Finals (Game 4) and Kobe fans bring it up constantly and completely ignore the fact that he sucked in every other game that Finals (both before and after Jalen Rose injured him).
  • Kobe has alot of these gaudy regular season scoring stats where he has these 50/60 pt game streaks. But he cannot duplicate this in the postseason when the teams get better and the defenses get tighter. His playoff high of 50 points is 31pts lower than his regular season high. His best playoff scoring average is 32 PPG – that’s still lower than Jordan’s career playoff scoring average.
  • Kobe’s not in the top 10 when it comes to # of Finals games scoring 35+ points

  • Kobe has only averaged 30+ PPG in 1 Finals out of 7.
  • Kobe’s not in the top 5 of most 40+ pt playoff games.

  • Neither is Kobe top 15 in playoff scoring average. He is #19 in playoff scoring average.

^ remember these facts when Kobe fans keep saying he’s the greatest scorer or most skilled scorer ,etc

  • Kobe was also not as great a defender as his 12x All-Def would lead you to believe. In fact, he’s been outplayed or outscored by many players in the playoffs. Just in the Finals alone, Jalen Rose, Rip Hamilton, Iverson, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups have all outscored or outplayed him. Gilbert Arenas, Jeremy Lin, Allan Houston and Stephon Marbury all had their career high in points vs Kobe. Kobe often has ‘duels’ with opposing players. Everyone knows he had that famous duel with Melo in the 2009 WCF. Well did you know he had a duel with Ty Lawson in the 2012 Nuggets series? All these duels point to the fact that he wasn’t as great a defender as people think. Once Shaq left the team in 2005, the Lakers dropped to bottom of the league in defensive rating.
  • Kobe’s also not as clutch as people think; he averages 22 PPG in elimination games and is 8–11 in those games. He has 1 playoff buzzer beater. He’s 7/28 in last 24s of go ahead or game tying playoff shots. He averages 41% shooting in the Finals. The bigger the stage, the worse Kobe shoots. He’s also blown a 3–1 lead in the playoffs before, something Jordan or Lebron has never done.

  • Kobe’s also had a lot more help than people realize; He’s needed an all-star big man (either Shaq or Gasol) in all of his championship runs. Lamar Odom is one of the best players who was never an all star. Kobe fans keep bringing up Smush and Kwame but Odom was averaging 19/11/5 a game in the playoffs vs the Suns they always conveniently omit that. And if people want to include a ‘full’ list of all-stars like they do for Lebron then for Kobe the list is just as large: He’s played with Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Glen Rice, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace etc think about this the next time people say he beat all those 50+ win teams by himself. None of those teams reached 55 wins and the top 75 thing is just a list the NBA made so it doesn’t really mean that Gasol wasn’t a top 75 talent. He’s also never won any series as an underdog. He beat all those 50+ win teams with an even better 65 win Lakers team.
  • Kobe fans usually use quotes from NBA players. Kobe is usually listed in third place after Jordan and Lebron. So by this definition yes Kobe is a top 3 player. But this based on what NBA players think, and those players often grew up idolizing Jordan, Bron or Kobe. That’s why these players always get mentioned. Because of this bias towards popular players that they idolized, that’s why we cannot use NBA players quotes as some kind of objective metric.
  • For people who say ‘Kobe always found a way to win’ why did he miss the playoffs in the middle of his prime? Why couldn’t he get past the first round until he got Gasol? Why did the Lakers have a franchise worst 17 wins in his last season? I thought he always found a way to win?

So now Kobe is not a top 3 player. You can say he’s super skilled or hard working or whatever, but his career just isn’t top 3 all time. He’s a fringe top 10 player that’s been overhyped by the media and his fanboys along with other NBA players that grew up idolizing him.

I’m not a hater, these are just the facts. If I was a hater, I’d bring up the rape trial and his off court stuff along with the all time missed shots stuff, but I won’t because those are unrelated to his actual career or related to longevity, which unlike Bron haters I won’t weaponize against him (they use his all time turnovers against him). Kobe is an all time great, no doubt. But he’s for sure overhyped and overrated and made out to be much more than he actually was.


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