Is Kobe Bryant the Most Successful Player of His Era?

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is widely accepted as the best player of his generation, but does that make him its most successful one?

Bryant may have missed the entirety of this season due to a torn Achilles and knee fracture, but his impressive list of accolades still remains.

Bryant earned a league MVP award coupled with five championships and two NBA Finals MVPs during his 17-year career. By and large, he’s been an elite performer since the Lakers drafted him out of high school.

In December 2009,’s Marc Stein selected him as the player of the decade:

No one has ever shouldered the Next [Michael] Jordan burden like Bryant, who would suddenly appear to have a decent shot at surpassing MJ's six titles in Chicago with the crew he's got in Lakerland now. He's been the consensus top talent in the league for years and is widely considered its hardest worker.

With that said, there are other players who have enjoyed a similar level of success during Bryant’s reign. In this specific case, we are referring to superstars who joined the league around the same time as Bryant and won at least a title.

I’d have a hard time arguing the merits of athletes who haven’t reached the mountaintop, given that many would argue that winning one or more titles is the best illustration of a successful career.

Here is the list of intriguing names that make the cut: Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki.

Thus, we will look at the combination of team and individual accolades to determine if in fact Bryant is the standard by which we should measure accomplishments during his era.


Individual Success

Bryant’s hardware might be the envy of many players, but it’s worth noting that some actually match or surpass his lofty credentials.

Let’s qu...

About the Author