Kobe Bryant Gets Defensive With His Eighth First Team Selection

I feel like Los Angeles Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant has been one of the NBA's best man defenders for most of his career. The league obviously echoes my sentiments as Bryant was selected to the all-NBA defensive first team for the eighth time.

It's easy to forget Bryant's prowess as a defender considering he is one of the best offensive talents to ever enter the NBA, but his defensive skills have been on full display so far this postseason.

Bryant's defense on Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook was likely the difference in that series. Now although Ron Artest now defends an opponent's best player, it was Bryant's responsibility since he became a starter.

This is quite an accomplishment for a player who draws most of his reviews, positive or negative, on the offensive end of the court, but the same qualities that make Bryant a superb scorer aid him on the defensive end as well.

For one, Bryant is one of the better athletes in the professional game, and the attention he pays to honing his craft is legendary and unmatched.

Bryant's ultimate goal is perfection. He understood at an early age that what he did on the defensive end weighs just as much as the offensive end when crafting a legacy.

Excelling on the defensive end takes willpower, endurance, pride, and confidence, and Bryant has an abundance of all four.

He seems to draw as much satisfaction from a defensive stop as he does from a pretty shot.

Bryant is also one of the more fundamentally sound players in the league, and his footwork and close-out ability on the perimeter is known, but greatly under-appreciated.

The rigors of 14 professional seasons have began to take their toll on Bryant as evidenced by the numerous ailments he has faced this season.

But true to form, Bryant has been able to adjust his game accordingly.

Artest's arrival gave Bryant the opportunity to play the ...

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