Love Me or Hate Me, It’s One Or The Other…

It’s been an interesting week for Kobe Bryant, to say the least. After being ranked 40 in a recent ranking by ESPN, Henry Abott of Truehoop wrote a scathing article criticizing his role as a leader, teammate, and franchise player. In short, the column cited Bryant’s personality and ego as major factor in the Lakers fall from grace as a contending team.

Tell us something we don’t know.

Unless you have been living under a rock for a decade, Lakers fans know that Kobe has a “delicate” personality. Whether it was his early feuds with Eddie Jones, the well documented rift with Shaq, or the philosophical differences with Phil Jackson, Kobe has been in the middle of it all. No one- supporters included, I believe – care to defend Kobe on those fronts, nor should they. That is who he is. What is undeniable is that Kobe has managed to win. To his credit, that is all be-all-end-all argument .

One can go around in circles debating what personality-type is ideal or more conducive to winning. Many are quick to point at Durant’s selflessness or Lebron’s willingness to share, but neither have had his success. Ghandi was great, but Alexander the Great conquered Eurasia. Objectively speaking, why aren’t Kobe’s leadership abilities aren’t superior? Micheal Jordan, punched a teammate in the face on the road to 6 championships. Where does that leave this argument?

Citing Ramon Sessions, who many Lakers fans don’t remember, or Andrew Bynum’s free agency (which ironically worked to their advantage), and even Dwight Howard’s departure does very little to alter his legacy. As much as I hate to use this argument, rings are the redeeming factor in this story. Kobe is in the twilight of his career, and that makes him an easy target. A 35 year old franchise player in today’s generation just not going to be in a position to win, unless you are Tim Duncan. Like a lame duck president, his record speaks for itself. He deserves at least a small benefit of the doubt.

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