Make that – a lot of work to do. There’s no debating that Kobe Bryant has been on a scoring tear, averaging 43.7 ppg in the month of January. More importantly, the Lakers are 8-4 in those 12 games, and are now three games above .500. But we need to take it easy on the Jordan comparisons. Sure, the guy can score like a madman and there’s no doubt that he’s a phenomenal athlete. But we already knew that. Jordan was able to win NBA Championships with Scottie Pippen as his sidekick. Kobe won his as Shaq’s sidekick. If Kobe is able to lead the Lakers to one or two more titles, then we can start comparing him to Jordan.
There are a lot of haters out there. I’m not sure there has been an NBA player that has polarized the fan base like he has. Personally, I don’t particularly like the man. Living in Southern California, I suffer from Koberexposure. The titles with Shaq, his Colorado rape trial and his decision to go it alone two years ago made Bryant one of my least favorite players. He’s a lot like Darth Vader – you just love to root against him.
I am, however, amazed by the man’s game. His athleticism can only be matched by a young man in Cleveland and the two will probably spend the next several years vying for the title of best perimeter player in the league. I respect his ability to put the ball in the hole. The tear he has been on lately is phenomenal, highlighted by that 81-point effort against Toronto. But I wonder if he’ll ever reach the Finals again. To do so, he’s going to need to bring some talent in around him, and I’m not sure there are a lot of All-Star caliber players that want to go to war with Kobe Bryant.