Posts Tagged ‘Magic Johnson’

Kobe Bryant after a game five loss to Boston

Here we are eight hours away from tip-off of game six of the 2010 NBA finals and the question that has been in my head for two weeks now is; what is Kobe Bryant’s legacy going to be at the end of this year’s NBA finals?

In today’s sports world, players are scrutinized and judged and in some cases pre-judged minute by minute with every shot, catch, pass, pitch, rebound, hit, touchdown or home run they do or don’t make.

Two months ago during the eastern conference semi-finals, a few members of the media started to comment or ponder about Lebron James’s legacy. Most people including myself felt that discussing or even trying to make a legacy for Lebron was very premature despite the fact that he has been in the NBA for seven years now. On the other hand, discussing Kobe Bryant’s legacy or trying to judge it is very much okay at this stage of his career.

Thirteen years, four NBA championships, one finals MVP, one regular season MVP and one gold medal later, most if not everyone would say that he has lived up to the expectations that were placed on him coming out of high school. Kobe has come a long way since the days of not being able to beat out Eddie Jones for the starting two guard spot on the Lakers, or shooting air ball three point attempts in the western conference playoffs.

Kobe’s legacy as it stands now is very impressive and one that many NBA players wish they had attached to their name. Although, no matter what Kobe does or has done, he is always compared to Michael Jordan and possibly will always be compared to Mike.

The Black Mamba has accomplished a lot in his career and has done some amazing things on the court that are Jordan like. But despite winning four NBA championships, MVP awards and a gold medal, most people feel as if he needs to win six NBA championships like Mike did in order to be like Mike.

People like to mention that out of Kobe’s four NBA championships, three of those were won when Shaquille O’Neal who is considered to be one of the greatest centers of all-time, was Kobe’s team mate. Kobe critics and NBA fans say that the reason the Lakers won those three championships were because of Shaq not Kobe.

Some question Kobe’s ability to elevate his team and not just himself to a championship level like Michael Jordan routinely did with his Bulls teams. Then you have those people who simply question his greatness. Yes Kobe is known as the game’s best closer, but compared to Mike, some if not most people say that Kobe isn’t on Mike’s level.

Back in the 2008 after the Los Angeles Lakers came up short of winning the NBA championship by getting blown out by the Boston Celtics in game six of the NBA finals. Sports fans around the country said “Mike wouldn’t have gone out like Kobe and the Lakers did. There is no way Mike would have gotten blown out in a closeout game in the NBA finals.”

Kobe vindicated himself by leading the Lakers to a NBA championship last year, but as I stated in a previous blog before game one of the 2010 NBA finals. Last year’s championship has somewhat been devalued in the eyes of many non-Lakers fans. The Orlando Magic were not a serious threat to the Lakers last year. This is the series that non Lakers fans around the world want to see. It has become Kobe’s moment of truth. People want to see if Kobe is one of the greats of the game or just a great player.

So to answer my own question of, what will Kobe Bryant’s legacy be after this year’s NBA finals?

In my opinion, if Kobe goes on to bring the Lakers back from a 3-2 deficit to win the NBA championship. His legacy will go from platinum to elite status and I would have to seriously think about where he ranks amongst the NBA greats. I wouldn’t put him above Jordan, Magic or Bird. But he would be in my top ten for sure.

If the Black Mamba comes up short this year, his legacy will take a major hit and the comparison to Michael Jordan will almost be blasphemy if it already isn’t to some people. I personally will consider him one of the greatest players of all-time, although I couldn’t put him in my top five or ten of greatest players of all time. He currently is and will always be the sugar free version of Michael Jordan to me. Losing championships in a watered down NBA doesn’t look good on Kobe’s resume if he loses this series to the Celtics. Unfortunately in this country a player’s legacy is based on many things, but the most important thing is championships.

Lebron James

The countdown to the start of the 2010 NBA free agency period started long before the 2010 regular season ended or even started. Months before the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship last year, everyone was fully aware of who was going to be a free agent after the 2010 season and what teams had the most cap room available to sign one or two of the best soon to be free agents. Speculations as to what was going to happen to superstars like Dewayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carlos Boozer began to circulate. Those players were intriguing to some, but the man that everyone was infatuated with as to what his future would hold, was Lebron James. Many consider Lebron to be the best player in the NBA (not me) and the idea of the possibility of Lebron leaving Cleveland to go play for a storied franchise like the New York Knicks became a wet dream for all NBA fans to relish in until July 1st of 2010. Lebron helped feed into this dream by flirting with the media and anyone willing to watch and listen by making double sided comments to certain questions, wearing Yankee hats to Cleveland Indians games, hanging out with Jay-Z, etc, etc.

Fast forward to today, and Lebron hasn’t stopped with the flirting and teasing. In fact it has gotten worse and to the point that he is pretty much deliberately campaigning for teams to approach him and make him an offer he can’t refuse. This having a meeting of the minds with Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade to see what their intentions were is complete BS and flat out unprofessional. I don’t ever remember a player of Lebron’s supposed/media driven magnitude that has done something like this. Dude! Who are you to act as if you are someone who people in the NBA truly respect? Your no Michael, Magic or Bird. Now two weeks after this meeting of the minds with Wade and Bosh, he has done an interview with Larry King that aired on June 4th. He also came out and said that Cleveland has the edge amongst all the other teams in the league of keeping him. Really Lebron? Really?

I don’t know about you guys, but I am sick and tired of hearing about Lebron James almost on a daily basis. It has become downright unbearable to hear and see anything about Lebron James unless you are a fan of Lebron James or the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks or New Jersey Nets. Am I surprised that he is the lead story on Sportscenter every night except when a 2010 NBA finals game has been played? No! ESPN has become hands down the worst sports network on the planet with its un-fresh, non hip, cheesy and uninformed/one sided sports analysts and non informational shows. Anything Lebron does or says will get coverage from ESPN including when and if he brushes his teeth. If it wasn’t for Lebron James, I don’t think ESPN would have anything to talk about except maybe the New York Yankees. Some people would say that ESPN did the same with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. I beg to differ though because when Kobe and Jordan were at the peak of their career, ESPN was still somewhat of a good network and they found other things to discuss.

I am not blaming ESPN for the Lebron news all the time every time, he has nothing to do with what their small minded producers want to air day in and day out. It’s just that with the campaigning that Lebron has been doing for the past three months and ESPN. It’s gotten to a point to where you just want him to hurry up and sign somewhere so we can get back to discussing real issues in the NBA. You can call me a hater if you want, I really don’t care. Go put on your Lebron James jersey and shoes and sit down and enjoy a bottle of Vitamin Water XXX that’s endorsed by Lebron and stop calling me a hater just because I speak the truth.