He’s definitely one of the most popular players ever – either #1 or #2 after Jordan. I think he may be even more popular than Jordan because Jordan opened up basketball globally and Kobe really peaked in the era where China was getting into basketball after Yao Ming and Kobe’s popularity skyrocketed there in the most populated country. Certainly more people around the globe have watched Kobe play than Jordan play as basketball was a more global sport during Kobe’s era.
He also inspired an entire generation of players with his hard work ethic and ‘mamba mentality’ – every player from Kyrie Irving to Devin Booker to Jayson Tatum have credited Kobe with some kind of inspiration.
That said, I’ve always been rather perplexed about Kobe’s legacy because of how popular he is in addition to his sudden and tragic passing, he really is probably the most overhyped and overrated player I’ve ever seen.
So I’m posting this on “Mamba Day” (8/24)
This is a day where every sports page posts Kobe highlights and moments and praises him like no tomorrow – one day after Kobe’s bday, another day where everyone posts about Kobe. Then Kobe gets anniversaries for all his greatest moments – 81 points, sinking FTs on a torn achilles, heck even a minor non basketball moment like Matt Barnes shoving a ball in his face gets remembered every year:
See how this is getting ridiculous? No one other player I’ve seen gets this much hype almost constantly for even the smallest things.
Don’t forget NBA 2K labeling an entire era the ‘Kobe era’ even though Shaq/Duncan won more rings as the best player during that era (predictably, everyone online ignores that and instead complains that Curry doesnt get his own era with Lebron):
And if I point out that everyone overhypes and glazes Kobe all the time, I get called ‘Kobe hater’ and ironically I get called ‘Bronsexual / Bron glazer’ because I defend Lebron from all this ridiculous hate, slander and misinformation about Lebron online. Yet for Kobe nobody says anything when he literally gets praised all the time by everybody, he gets the all the credit whenever he wins, and his teammates get all the blame or there’s excuses about injuries etc whenever he loses. It’s pretty infuriating sometimes.
I mean, this is a guy that a lot of people put in the GOAT convo all the time – or right behind Jordan all time.. yet he gets none of the scrutiny Lebron gets.
So yeah this is the real problem I have with Kobe’s legacy: He’s one of the top 10–15 greatest players of all time if you objectively look at his career, yet virtually everyone online thinks he’s a top 5 player ever because all you see online is endless praise about him and highlights from his best moments while never talking about his negative moments or his failures. It’s one of the most lopsided appraisals of an athlete I’ve seen in any sport. The amount of adulation Kobe gets is close being a demi-god or something.
Just to show you some of the double standards between Lebron and Kobe online I’ll illustrate it via memes (the language that casuals online can understand):