Kobe Bryant

I know this is a Razorback forum, but today is 1 year since Kobe, his daughter, Gianna, and 7 of their dear friends departed this Earth. I hope you will keep their families in your prayers.
Kobe was my favorite player of all-time. I named 2 of my dogs after him, and if you knew me, you would know that I love my dogs more than I love 99% of the people I encounter.
I was fortunate enough to meet Kobe once. It was at a private pool at The Mirage in Las Vegas in 2007. He was meeting with his agent, and eating frozen grapes. He walked past me after their meeting, and I asked (yelled) if he would come back and just shake my hand. He didn’t have to, but he did. They say never meet your heroes, because they will disappoint you, but Kobe Bryant did not disappoint me. He actually stopped to visit with me for a few minutes. I look back on that day now, and I wish I had had something more profound to say to him in that moment. Instead I fumbled my words and said something to the effect that he was my favorite player, and I truly hoped he would come back to play for the Lakers (it was a contract year). He told me that he would always be a Laker, shook my hand, and walked away. I cherish that day almost as much as I cherish my National Championship ring. Sorry for the long post. Been a lot of tears for me today. RIP, Mamba, and thank you for being kind to a stranger.


As a Laker fan, I went to bed thinking about Kobe. I will always remember where I was and how the rest of day played out just like I remember 9/11 and other historic days.

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That is a good comparison, PJ. At least it is for me. Most people would think that it’s insane to equate losing Kobe Bryant to 9/11, but those 2 events have affected and saddened me almost as much as losing my family, friends, and pets. Thank you for your response.

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I was never a Kobe fan until he retired. I just didn’t like him because I thought he was so cocky…how dumb I was.

After he retired I started watching stories about him. I started to read about his relentless will to win. When stories or videos would come out about how he practiced and worked out I was amazed. What most impressed me was how he loved his wife and kids. I know he had the issue in Colorado but after that he became a different husband and father.

I remember people would always say there will never be another Michael Jordan. If you look back at Kobe’s career I firmly believe that he was the next Jordan. I just hate that I didn’t really enjoy it while he was playing.

God bless Kobe’s wife, kids and parents. I can only imagine the grief. I truly hope that he and his parents made amends before he passed.

Michael Jordan has been put on a pedestal by fans of that era and will be hard to displace. I am from that era too but have an open mind and not locked in on MJ,

But I hope all of us should acknowledge that Kobe is the closest to MJ. In terms of intensity, desire, playing without fear, physical attributes such as quickness, foot speed, jumping ability, ability to score in creative ways and delivering in the clutch, I don’t think anyone comes closer. If Kobe is not closest to MJ, who is?

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Kobe and Moses Malone and a few others went directly from high schoool to the NBA.
Then the NBA installed the age limit and the one and done came about. I personally would like to see the one and done finished for several reasons.

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Totally agree that the one and done needs to be put to bed. I think the intentions were good but its really made college basketball worse.

The NBA is really just using the NCAA as a free minor league for the one and dones.

NBA is using college as a free minor league anyway, regardless how long the kids stay in college. And now with the cutbacks MLB is doing the same thing.

I agree one and done should be done and gone. Hopefully the NBAPA will go along.

I put great players in groups across different sports. They may not all fit together, but it’s the way I think of greatness both as sportsman and human beings. Kobe is in that group to me, an all-time great.

I put Kobe Bryant in my personal group with men like Jerry Rice, Steve Largent, Sidney Moncrief, James McCann, George Wilson, Loyd Phillips and Brandon Burslworth. That’s just a few that come to mind right off the top of my head. I have heard stories about how hard Jerry Rice worked to stay at the top. It was amazing work ethic. Kobe had that, too.

They are all different and not in the same classification as far as all-time greats in their sports. They are just men I have in my mind that fit in the greatness category for different reasons.

I was fortunate to be around Largent during my time at the Tulsa World. He worked out at my church gymnasium in the offseason. That was not his primary workout. He’d play basketball with the youth and a few young men (like myself). When you see an athlete like Steve Largent (just normal size) do things on a basketball court, you realize his supreme athletic ability and also see his work ethic. He’d do line drills after he was done playing basketball, then go somewhere else to do a weight workout. We had a universal weight set in the gym and he’d do some of that, too.

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Kobe was close. He’s maybe the best clutch shooter of all time. However, if you look at the numbers, Jordan is better almost everywhere at both ends - scoring, steals, blocks, assists, TOs, rebounds, FTs, deuces, EFG%, etc. He’s even as good from the arc in percentage on fewer attempts. Jordan probably closes the door on the comparison at the defensive end.

Everyone has a right to a different opinion on the Kobe vs. Jordan debate. I think Kobe’s defense is probably under valued. When you consider numbers, you have to understand teammates. I don’t think Kobe was always with great teammates. Finances dictate who is on your team sometimes.

Kobe was an elite defender. Kobe and Shaq parted ways and Kobe still won. Jordan never won a championship without Pippen.

I love them both but imo I don’t see a lot of separation…I’m 53 so I grew up in the Jordan era…

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Kobe was a great defender, one of the greatest of all time. It’s just that Jordan is arguably the greatest perimeter defender of all time. I strongly disagree that Jordan had better teammates during his career. By all accounts, the Bulls were a drug-addled mess when he arrived, which is why they had a complete roster turnover before sniffing a championship. Pippen didn’t arrive until year 4 and was not an instant superstar. Jordan arrived in '84. Pippen’s first All-Star year was 1990. Pippen was their eighth-leading scorer his rookie season. Jordan played almost half his prime without another legit All-Star on the team. The second-best player on the team was Charles Oakley, known more as defender. The year before Kobe arrived the Lakers won 53 games, as opposed to 27 for Jordan. Kobe walked onto a team with one of the best GMs of all-time Jerry West in the most desired location for free agents. Three years later Kobe was playing with the most dominant player in the NBA at that time.

There isn’t a single player in NBA history that would have won a championship in that era against the Celtics, Lakers, and Pistons with the supporting cast that Jordan had around him until Pippen developed into an All-Star.

Your opinion is worthy. But you probably didn’t change my mind. What I saw of the Bulls on that roster was most impressive. There were times that the Lakers had little support for Kobe, most notably at the end. Some of it was because of what they paid Kobe. I understand that.

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You fully captured my thoughts on this subject in that single statement.

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As late as 2013, Kobe was playing with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, who was an All-Star at the time. Before that he had a long run with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, etc. They were terrible for Kobe’s last three years, but Kobe only played 100 games total in those years due to injury and was a shell of his former self. Perhaps you forget Jordan’s career numbers include two years and 140 games at the age of 38 with bad Washington teams after his second retirement, and he was also a shell of himself. That’s actually a much larger percentage of his career, though, because his career was shorter. Jordan played with a legit All-Star for 7 full seasons. He won the NBA title in 6 of those.

I do not downgrade Jordan one bit. But I am not a big Steve Nash fan. So you lost me there.

I’m not going to wade in too far on this, but Nash was running on fumes by the time he got to the Lakers, and Howard was as overrated then as he is now. Dwight Howard is a clown. He has never taken his craft seriously. He could have been an all time great, but he did not ever put in the work that Kobe did. The Lakers signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton to extend their dynasty in 2003, but Malone decided to creep on Kobe’s wife behind his back. That disfunction led to Corliss winning his world championship with Detroit. I’m happy for Corliss, but there are a lot of factors that kept Kobe from winning more championships than he did. Still, he won 5. Kobe Bryant was the best basketball player I have ever seen, and I saw every bit of Jordan’s career. There was nothing that Jordan did that Kobe couldn’t do. And as much as I have always loved the Lakers, Laker fans will never love LeBron the way they loved Kobe.

Kobe, Jordan, Lebron worked extremely hard to become the best and it’s proven. They also benefitted from modern day medical techniques & staffs. Best of everything at their command. Roster manipulation to suit them. You name it. Call em GOATS they deserve it.

There have been players just as good for shorter periods of time. Injuries slowed some early and/or the rosters weren’t always built around them. Tougher league. No dunking for a time. No 3 pt.

Russell, Chamberlain, Maravich, Dr J, Moses Malone, Cousy.I could mention more.