Kobe Bryant vs. Larry Bird: 5 Days of Black Mamba Birthday Comparisons

Editor's note: Kobe Bryant turns 35 on August 23. To commemorate the Los Angeles Lakers legend's big day, we're seeing how his career stacks up next to five NBA luminaries, be they current Hall of Famers or those in the making. 

Today, in the first of our five-part series, we're throwing Bryant's career in the ring with Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. We'll be comparing them in four main areas: career accomplishments, career statistics, off-the-court influence and impact on the game.

Let's see how each player stacks up compared to one another.

Seventeen years into his NBA career, there's little question that Kobe Bryant stands among the all-time greats to ever play the game. He's responsible for the second-highest scoring game in NBA history, after all.

As Bryant gears up for his 35th birthday, however, he's facing more uncertainty than ever.

He swears that he's "shattered" the typical timetable for recovery from his torn Achilles tendon, according to SportingNews, but there's still no telling whether he'll return to form once he's healthy enough to play.

Meanwhile, his Los Angeles Lakers appear miles away from contending for an NBA championship after losing Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in free agency. No matter when Bryant returns, contending for a 2014 playoff spot will be a challenge in and of itself.

Assuming Bryant caps his illustrious career without ever winning another title, where does he stand in the pantheon of NBA legends? That's what we're aiming to answer this week.



Career Accomplishments

The table below helps explain why Bird earned the nickname "Larry Legend" during his 13-year NBA career. 

With three regular-season MVP awards, three NBA championships and two Finals MVPs to his name, Bird was one of the most dominant players throughout the 1980s....

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