This should not have to be discussed, but I've been hearing too much on the radio and reading too much in the comments section to ignore it any longer. Have you heard/read something along these lines lately?
Kobe Bryant needed Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom to win it all. He can't win by himself, so he's not elite.
Shaquille O'Neal needed Kobe and Dwyane Wade to win it all, but couldn't win by himself. This diminishes his legacy.
Before anyone else decides to open up their mouth with even more rubbish like this, let me set the record straight: great players need other great players to win NBA Championships. Even the most elite of players can not win a championship by themselves. It has rarely happened over the last twenty years (scroll down).
The belief that Kobe can't win without a great player with him isn't a knock on him: it's the truth. He needed Pau to win this championship. Michael Jordan would need Pau to win this championship had he been in Kobe's place. It's common sense.
Speaking of Jordan, he had Pippen. Speaking of ANYONE, they had someone else. If your team isn't going to be uncommonly balanced (early 2000's Detroit Pistons), it had better have a second or third go-to guy.
Look at any team in the last decade and a half. The Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat - they all had the notable names (Pierce, Duncan, Jordan, Wade), but had other All-Stars surrounding them (Allen and Garnett, Parker and Ginobili, Pippen, O'Neal).
We have one exception. It's the 1994 Houston Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon. Yet another reason why this blog is named after him.
If you wanted to, you could also count Tim Duncan's 2003 Spurs as an exception. But that's it. I'd like to give as much credit to The Dream as possible.
Another unnecessary criticism thus far has been placed on LeBron James. Is Mo Williams supposed to be his Pippen? Again, place Jordan on the Cavs and he'd be lucky to win a single ring. LeBron still needs more help, and it's not a criticism, only a realistic view.