Michael Jordan was famous for taking every single slight or hint of disrespect and using it as fuel. Mike would take that perceived disrespect and seek his revenge on the court and this, coupled with his psychopathic competitive streak, manifested itself into the greatest player of all time. Money passed this trait off to his basketball offspring and none of them developed it better than Kobe Bean Bryant.
So when the Black Mamba flips the clock and throws down a vintage Kobe with the fro season on us this year, we will all know its ESPN’s fault because they ranked Kobe 40th in their annual ranking of every player in the NBA.
To make matters worse, Kobe is so far down the list, the entry comes with zero explanation as to why he’s at the bottom of the totem pole. All that is offered is a blanket statement about the list in general.
We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to predict the overall level of play for each player for the upcoming NBA season. This includes both the quality and the quantity of his expected contributions, combined in one overall rating.
Look, trolling Laker fans is one of my five or so favorite things to do but even I can admit this is a joke. If Kobe makes it to the arena for 80% of the Laker games this season, his stats will warrant a more respectable placement than this. He’s shown life in the preseason, appearing healthy and looking energized after his year-long bout with injuries. Bryant’s going to end up with more shots than anybody else in the league as long as he remains upright.
But, I guess that’s the issue for ESPN: Kobe’s health is a big “if.” Even if it is a factor, the ranking feels like a blow meant to rile a player who doesn’t need much provocation. Laker fans, believe it or not, I got your back on this one. Now let’s all sit back and wait to see what is sure to be an epic social media response from the Mamba.
Oh yeah, and I feel sorry for the guy who gets picked 39th.