Los Angeles Lakers: Why Kobe Bryant Is One of the Top 5 Players in NBA History

Whenever he decides to call it a career, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the greatest—as well as one of the more underappreciated and criticized—players ever.

And that is no exaggeration.

Despite a resume stacked with gaudy accomplishments—including five NBA championships, two Finals MVP awards, 14 All-Star appearances, 14 All-NBA selections, 12 All-NBA defensive selections, two scoring championships and a league MVP award—some are still reluctant to regard Bryant as one of the top-10 NBA players ever.

Which is absolutely baffling.

There are a number of reasons why Bryant still hasn't won the affection of some analysts and fans. Some will point to his well-publicized rift with Shaquille O'Neal when both were members of the Lakers. Some believe that Kobe's uncanny ability to emulate Michael Jordan lacks originality.

Others will note his legal troubles back in 2003 and more recently the near divorce earlier in 2012, and a few will even hold Kobe's sometimes arrogant nature on and off the court as reasons they refuse to crown him as one of the greatest ever.

While these are all valid arguments (to an extent) the accomplishments and statistics Kobe has so far amassed over the course of his 16-year career state otherwise.

Let's examine a few key numbers, if only for the sake of discussion:

29,484—This is the total number of points Kobe has scored to date, which ranks him seventh all time, ahead of the aforementioned Shaquille O'Neal and other NBA legends such as Oscar Robertson (26,710), Charles Barkley (23,757) and Larry Bird (21,791).

Kobe only trails Michael Jordan by an attainable 2,808 points for third all time, which would put him behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Any way you look at, that would be quite an impressive accomplishment.



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