Kobe Bryant Has Had the Most Historically Significant Career in NBA History

No word has been thrown around more over the past week or two than legacy. Michael Jordan's 50th birthday made us reflect on his legacy as the greatest player of all time. LeBron James' recent dominance has made us consider the sheer magnitude of the legacy he is building for himself. And the death of Dr. Jerry Buss has made us consider the legacy of one of the great owners in the history of sports. 

All of this got me thinking about Kobe Bryant and what his legacy really is. He has spent his entire career chasing the ghost of Jordan. Now, he is spending the twilight of his career being eclipsed by LeBron. When the history books are written, there is a good chance Kobe Bryant won't be in the same chapter as either of them.

Well, maybe not as a player. I don't think Kobe Bryant can be accurately measured as an athlete. I think his legacy should be defined by the utter eventfulness of his career. When you really stop to think about basketball over the past 15-20 years, almost every significant game, story, transaction and moment has led back to Kobe in some way, shape or form. 

He's taken the form of young phenom, winning a Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie and finishing as the Sixth Man of the Year Runner up in year two. 

As a 22-year-old, he won his first championship next to Shaquille O'Neal at his absolute apex. The pair (along with the greatest coach of all time, Phil Jackson) formed the preeminent dynasty of the 2000's. 

Then it broke up, thanks in no small part to Bryant's sexual assault trial, the chemistry issues he caused by his shoot-first attitude (particularly in the NBA Finals) and his upcoming free agency which forced LA's hand in relenting to his desires. 

That's what led to Bryant's peak as a player. He scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 and could have done the same against the Dallas Mavericks had he not chosen to sit out the final qua...

About the Author