Standing on the Top: Why Kobe Bryant Is a Top 5 Player of All Time

After Kobe Bryant led his team to a fifth championship this past June he had secured his place in the books as one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game.

Haters and detractors had to begrudgingly accept that his achievements had propelled him into the top 10 best players of all time.

None of those haters were more vocal than Charles Barkley, who, up until recently insisted that Kobe Bryant was not even among the 10 best players of all time.

Last season, on TNT, Barkley admitted that Kobe is a top 10 player of all time. Then, Barkley went even further when he declared that Kobe is a top five player of all time right now. Not when it is all said and done, but right now.

The change in heart by Barkley is a major shift in his personal beliefs, but it was a correct one. Kobe Bryant right now is a top five player of all time.  There's only three guys that have ever been greater than Kobe:

1. Michael

2. Kareem

3. Wilt

I know it seems hard to believe—and even blasphemous to put Kobe ahead of historical greats like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Some would even argue that Kobe is not greater than his contemporaries like Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan.

Yet, when we view Kobe's dominance as a complete basketball player objectively, we are left to conclude that the man had no weaknesses as a player other than hubris.

Hubris is a quality that tends to infect the greatest of players. It is an excessive self-pride and arrogance.

While Kobe has curbed his hubris over the years in favor of measuring what he can realistically do, it was on full display last June when he shot six for 24 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Yet it is his hubris that allowed him to dispatch the Suns in Game 6 with impossible shot after impossible shot, in a fashion that can only be described as "Kobe-esque."

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers