Why There Will Never Be Another Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is the last of many dying breeds in today's NBA.

He's the last man standing from the 1996 draft. While Bryant, the No. 13 pick that year, is in the midst of his farewell tour, Allen Iverson, the top choice in Kobe's class, is preparing for his likely Hall of Fame induction. The Answer officially retired in October 2013 but played his last NBA minutes with the Philadelphia 76ers in February 2010.

If not for Metta World Peace's presence, Bryant would be both the Los Angeles Lakers' lone champion and the only active member of the roster who was on hand for any of the team's five titles since 2000.

More than anything, he's the only Kobe Bryant around.

Bryant's resume is about as unique as they come. His 15 All-NBA selections are tied for the most ever. His 12 All-Defensive nods are tied for the second-most and his 17 All-Star appearances are the most behind only fellow Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If not for Tim Duncan's five rings, Bryant's five would stand alone as the most of any superstar in his generation.

And unlike Duncan, Bryant can boast about his Slam Dunk Contest crown to his grandkids, whenever they come around.

"The Kobe Bryants aren't around no more," Dwyane Wade told ESPN's Michael Wallace before the Miami Heat hosted Bryant for what turned out to be his last trip to South Beach as a player. "There are good young players, but there will never be another Kobe."

Perhaps no one in history who never teamed with Bryant in the NBA can claim as many connections to him as can Wade.

Both won their first championships as 20-something shooting guard sidekicks to Shaquille O'Neal before winning back-to-back titles without him. Both made their bones as high-flying rim rockers before settling in as crafty post operators. Both took their cues from Michael Jordan—Bryant as an obsessive competitor, Wade as a Chicago native. 


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