NBA Finals 2010: Kobe Bryant’s Legacy Is Secure, but His Legend Has Room To Grow

If Kobe Bryant decided to retire before Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals, he would go down as one of the greatest Los Angeles Lakers of all time, and one of the most spectacular talents the game of basketball has ever seen.

Bryant is the leading scorer in Lakers' history and has won four NBA championship rings, eight first-team all-NBA defensive awards, one league MVP, and one Finals MVP.

By any measure, Bryant has secured his place in NBA history. But if he can bring his team back from the brink of elimination, a whole new chapter will be added to his legend.

Los Angeles trails the Boston Celtics 3-2 heading into Tuesday night's Game Six match-up. It is the first time the Lakers have found themselves behind in a series this postseason.

It's not Kobe's fault.

Although some will decry the number of shots he took in Sunday's Game Five loss, could you imagine what the final score may have been if not for Bryant's 19-point third quarter?

Bryant scored 23 straight points for Los Angeles at one point. And they needed every one because, curiously, no other Laker decided the game was important enough to offer Kobe any assistance.

Bryant's superstar teammate, Pau Gasol, has been absent from the past two contests, while Lamar Odom has been mostly absent for the duration of the series.

Ron Artest has steadily lost confidence in his offense as each game has progressed, and the pain from Andrew Bynum's partially-torn meniscus has limited the big man's effectiveness.

Out of all the above-mentioned names, only Bynum gets a pass, because his struggle to play through his injury has shown a dimension of toughness which was previously missing from his resume.

The Lakers seem to have an edge, considering the next two games are in Los Angeles, provided the Lakers can win Game Six. But so far, they haven't demonstrated they are capable of beating...

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