Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Kobe Bryant's recent play has been so stunning that people are beginning to forget about that other guy people use to compare him to. What was his name? Michael Jordan? Was that it?


Anyway, check out this article from ex-Jordan teamate, Steve Kerr:

In the past five games, Kobe Bryant has averaged 54 points per game. Think about that for a moment. Fifty four! Most importantly, the Los Angeles Lakers won all five, reversing a seven-game losing streak that had threatened to ruin their season.

In effect, Bryant placed the entire team on his shoulders and willed it back into a positive state. The Lakers are now confident again, they have Luke Walton and Lamar Odom back from injuries and they're no longer looking like road kill for the West's top seeds come playoff time. And they owe it all to Kobe.

His offensive game is so good, so fundamentally sound in every aspect, that it may be time to debate whether or not he's the most complete offensive player in the history of the NBA. I'm not talking about the best player – there are plenty of players who rank well ahead of Bryant in that category. I'm simply wondering if there has ever been a player with a more complete skill set with footwork, ball handling, perimeter shooting and leaping ability.

That from a guy who won several championships with Michael Jordan.

I would contend that Kobe is among the best all-around players ever to play the game. His offense gets so much attention, people forget to notice that he is a lockdown defensive player as well.

Now, all that being said, you know who has really impressed me? Steve Nash.

I've always thought Magic Johnson was the greatest team player in NBA history. But, Steve Nash is giving him a run for his money. Difference is, Magic won five championships with the Lakers. And, Steve Nash? Not so many.

Yeah, not one.

If Nash can keep it up for two or three more years and win a championship or two with the Suns, then he will likely be remembered as one of the three or four best players ever to play the game.

By the way, here's my top ten alltime best NBA players:

1) Magic Johnson
2) Wilt Chamberlain
3) Michael Jordan
4) Kobe Bryant
5) Julius Erving
6) Bill Russell
7) Elgin Baylor
8) Shaquille O'Neal
9) Larry Bird
10) Oscar Robertson

These are the players who have most impressed me.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of NBA greats, let me say this. Neither LeBron James, nor Kevin Garnett have done anything to prove they should be mentioned among the greats. All of the guys in the top ten were guys who carried teams on their backs when needed.

Kevin Garnett and LeBron James are both very impressive players, but you will notice, when their teams are down, you will never see either one of the them take over the game by scoring at will, stealing, grabbing rebounds, and blocking shots.

James and Garnett are team players who both seem to like to work within a system. One of the things I like most about basketball is that it is as much about individual will as it is about teamwork. In baseball, no single player can change the course of a bad team. And, that isn't true in football either. Those games are all about teamwork. Basketball is great when it's played by a finely tuned team, but it is astonishing when it is dominated by an individual. And, it is the individuals that we watch the game for. They loom largest on the historical stage.

Just like in real life.