Wednesday night saw a moment that will be remembered in NBA history when Kobe Bryant topped the 30,000-point mark to become just the fifth player in history to do so. Bryant will now be up there with the legends of the game like Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar forever. My question becomes this: Is Bryant one of the top five players of all time? I’m not sure he is.
Bryant had the advantage of the three-point line his entire career, which obviously aids in raising his point total when you tack on that extra point each time he hits a three-pointer. However, Bryant may not even be the top Los Angeles Laker of all time. I would argue players like Magic Johnson and Elgin Baylor were better than Bryant has been. You could very easily have a Mount Rushmore of NBA history that is just Lakers players, but it is a close call on whether to have Bryant on that, either. Who would Bryant bump from this list of Johnson, Baylor, Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain? It is difficult to say.
Bryant has been one of the best players in the NBA for the last 15 years and ranks right up there with LeBron James and Kevin Durant for best player in the league right now. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when that time comes and Bryant deserves that without a doubt. It will be up to the fans now, though, if Bryant is one of the top five players in the history of the NBA. I say no, but feel free to let me know if you disagree.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.