Kobe Bryant: Is He Already History’s Greatest LA Laker and a Top-5 Player?

When it comes to discussing Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and where he currently stands in NBA history, it's sometimes hard to see the truth through all the propaganda—both negative and positive.

Emotions usually run high on both sides of the argument, and personal feelings about Bryant are often substituted in favor of sane, rational debate about the subject.

But the truth of the matter is, NBA history already says Bryant is firmly in the conversation as the greatest player in Los Angeles Lakers history, and that designation would thrust him squarely in the argument as one of the league's top five players of all time.

The Lakers are arguably the greatest franchise in NBA history, and although they trail the Boston Celtics in the number of championships won, the Lakers have been participants in more than half of all Finals series.

Additionally, the list of NBA legendary players is littered with former Lakers such as Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor and James Worthy.

Kareem, Magic and West reside near the very top of that list, and Bryant's numbers and career achievements suggest he belongs right there with them.

Bryant and Magic are tied in the number of championships won as a Laker, with five, and Bryant recently passed West as the franchise's top scorer and currently resides in sixth place on the NBA's all-time list.

Bryant may never catch Kareem, who reigns as the NBA's all-time leading scorer, but it's not impossible to think that once Bryant's playing days are finally done he might move up as high as No. 3 in that category.

Bryant has also captured one league MVP award, two Finals MVP awards, eight first-team selections to the NBA All-Defensive Team, and has reached the NBA Finals in nearly half the seasons in his NBA career.

That resume speaks for itself, but unfortunately, Bryant's polarizing nature holds hi...

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