Where does Kobe rank among basketball’s all-time greats?

By: 02.26.10  •  138 Comments

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

“And now, the rest of the man’s legacy is on the line. Is Kobe a Top-10 player of all-time? Top five? We’ve created a glass ceiling wherein nobody can touch Jordan, Russell, Wilt, Magic and Bird — and often but not always, Oscar, Jerry West, Kareem and Doctor J — that Kobe is threatening to shatter.

“Why not? Kobe has more rings than Bird and more buckets than Magic; he’s better defensively than West, better offensively than Russell, more clutch than Wilt. His flair for the dramatic is exceeded only by Jordan.”

Dime’s Austin Burton wrote that in this month’s Kobe cover story, and it’s an argument that will only grow more intense and complicated as Kobe breaks more milestones and (possibly) wins more championships. You can go on for days: Isiah Thomas and Hakeem Olajuwon won more ‘chips as “The Man” on their respective teams than Kobe; Tim Duncan has more League MVP’s and just as many rings; Moses Malone and Steve Nash also have more MVP’s; Alex English and Dominique Wilkins scored more points; then Shaq and Charles Barkley have had their accomplishments, stellar as they are, bolstered by fan-favorite personalities — an X-factor which may hurt Kobe’s legacy down the road. And on, and on, and on…

Some say he’s already the best L.A. Laker of all-time, but where do you think Kobe will finish his career ranked among the greatest players in basketball? Or, if he retired tomorrow, where does he rank right now?

Tell us, and we’ll run some of the best answers in an upcoming issue.

(Dime reserve the right to edit submissions for length and clarity.)

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