Who’s More Popular, Kobe Bryant or the LA Lakers?

Kobe Bryant’s popularity has escalated to the point where it is fair to wonder if his brand is superior to that of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 2-guard has outlasted all of his peers and reached the mountaintop more often than any other active superstar in the league. His successes are very well documented, but his story makes him an incredibly compelling figure in the basketball world.



Kobe Bryant joined the league in 1996 straight out of high school. Many felt as though he had future greatness written all over him. The Los Angeles Lakers traded for him after the Charlotte Hornets drafted him to pair him with Shaquille O’Neal.

Both players were quite headstrong and clashed. Ultimately, they reached a common ground, meshed their talents together beautifully, and won three straight championships under the tutelage of Phil Jackson.

Bryant’s rise to prominence coincided with a period in which the league felt a huge void for a perimeter superstar because of the absence of Michael Jordan. The game’s greatest player had retired at the conclusion of the 1998 NBA Finals, and the league was seeking someone to eradicate the ghost of Jordan.

O’Neal and Tim Duncan were arguably the best players in the NBA, but fans tend to gravitate more towards exterior players. Big guys are great and help deliver championships, but they do not captivate quite in the same manner that perimeter superstars do.

Indeed, talented perimeter players look far more artistic and bring excitement to the sport. Basketball needed Bryant.

Whilst Bryant’s legacy was beginning to take shape, interest began mounting for the likes of Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter and Grant Hill.

Iverson was an intriguing prospect for the throne because he refused to conform to off-the-court ideologies that made the league popul...

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