Kobe Tries to Cement Legacy As Lakers Pursue Revenge Over Archenemies

If he amasses his fifth ring in an infatuating postseason, the franchise that turned Kobe Bryant famous may want to dedicate and unveil a bronze statue of either the admirable or scorned superstar.

If so, the self-proclaimed Black Mamba will stand tall accompanied by the late Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, hockey great Wayne Gretzky, former guard Magic Johnson and legendary boxer Oscar De La Hoya outside of Staples Center.

A couple of months ago, he became the greatest scorer in Lakers history, surpassing Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with his unstoppable and fierce scoring as the most dominant finisher in the game.

Ever since capturing 25,193 points in his remarkable career, he surpassed (Mr. Clutch) Jerry West, the former architect of the Lakers during two dynasties, who traded for Bryant in 1996 and revamped a prominent franchise around currently the most competitive shooting guard in the league.

He is a rare guard and clutch performer in a competitive game, when an influx of NBA stars has emerged within a fascinating league, to eschew an uneventful and inert era.

Now, he’s en route of accumulating his fifth championship, all in a town where he’s declared the renowned icon as opposed to the despised villain, derided and condemned for his arrogance and self-centered psyche.

But he has matured over the years, becoming a charismatic leader and a MVP-type player for his unselfishness and ability to control the leadership role. He’s a tougher player and more focused on winning championships, rather than being awarded individual accomplishments and conducts himself as a mentor, grooming the younger players as he passes his prime.

In a society that either loves or loathes the heroics of Bryant, we are persisting an endless debate on whether he’s more savvy or greater than Michael Jordan, who he is compared to frequently for the parallels with his pump...

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