Is Kobe Bryant Better Than Larry Bird? And Where Does He Rank All Time?

Kobe Bryant’s ranking on the all-time list is debatable. Some people have elevated him to GOAT status and some people claim that he’s barely a top 20 player of all time. Most people have him in the top 10 of all time, but there is intense disagreement as to where on the top 10 list he falls.

Some people claim that he’s the greatest Laker of all time, which would put him right above Magic Johnson on the all-time list since Magic and Kobe both played for the Lakers their entire career. Saying Kobe is the greatest Laker of all time is the equivalent of saying that Kobe is greater than Magic Johnson. Period.

Johnson, to me, is the third-greatest player of all time. My top three are: 1) Michael Jordan, 2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and 3) Magic Johnson. Kobe is not there...yet.

So for Kobe, he’ll have to settle for a place in the fourth through 10th categories. His competition is Russell, Wilt, Bird, Shaq, Duncan and Hakeem. Those names are legendary. Just to be included on this list means you’ve achieved basketball immortality.

But Russell, Wilt, Bird and Hakeem are not going to achieve anything else. Duncan and Shaq are still playing, but the likelihood of them having an impact great enough to move them up on the all-time list is doubtful. So Kobe will have an opportunity to move even higher than he is now with more rings and more heroics.

When I think of where to put Kobe Bryant, I think of Larry “Legend” Bird. Kobe’s better than him. Period. So wherever you have Bird, go ahead and place Bryant one spot ahead of him.

To the old-timers, the suggestion is blasphemy. I’ve been told that Larry Bird is “just flat-out better than Kobe Bryant.” Yet, when you look at both raw statistics and advanced statistics, it is pretty clear that Bryant is the superior player.

For example, Larry Bird has a career Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of ...

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