Never in my life will I claim to know more about the game of basketball than the logo himself, but Jerry West stating that Kobe Bryant is the best Laker ever is a bit much. Now anyone that knows me knows that in the past decade Bryant has surpassed Scottie Pippen and Shaquille O’Neal and my second favorite player of all time (nobody could ever top MJ), but even still I couldn’t let my bias get in the way of good sense.
Kobe Bean Bryant will be a first ballot Hall of Famer, no question about that. He is one of the greatest players in the post Jordan era (the others are Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal because all three of them have 4 rings), but as of right now he is not the best player to ever wear the purple and gold.
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar not only have 5 rings and an almost endless amount of all-time stats, but they’ve accomplished the greatest thing a Laker could ever do and wasn’t done until they came around, beat the Celtics to win the NBA Finals.
The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers have met in the NBA Finals 12 times in history. Not including this series, Boston has won 9; LA has won 2. Those only two wins came from the efforts of Kareem, Magic, and the show time crew. Think about it, the Celtics beat down the Lakers 8 times before they got that first one and the way things are going in the finals right now, Magic and Kareem might be the only two Laker greats with more than four rings to be able to say that ever.
That’s not to state that the Lakers can’t win two home games to take the championship this week or even if that doesn’t happen it’s not ridiculous to think these two current versions of the Lakers and Celtics won’t ever meet again and Kobe might beat them then. But if this the last time Kobe sees Boston in the Finals and even if he does win one, two, or three more rings, he’ll still have that same black mark on his record as the man that traded for him in 1996 for Vlade Divac, Jerry West: he never could get past the Celtics. You can’t be the best Laker ever and get beat by the Celtics twice in three years. It would be an absurd and moronic statement.
It would be a shame to see Kobe to be forever done with the “Can’t do it without Shaq” statement for just a year later to add another one “Can’t get past Boston” to follow him around for however long. This story is to be continued…
Oh, and by the way. GO LAKERS!!!