I know this is a Rockets blog page, but I also assume that most of us are fans of the NBA in general. So with thats said, and in light of the recent story about Kobe claiming he has not had a true rival during his career, what side of the debate do you guys fall on this one, and where would you rank Kobe amongst the all-time greats? Do you consider him a top 5, 10, 20 all-time great? Are dou you only rank him amongst the all time great guards? I personally feel divided on where to put him. While i consider his accomplishments merrit top 5 consideration when looked at alone, other obstacles make it less simple to quantify him. In my opinion, there has never been a greater winner in professional sports then the great Bill Russell. Thats probalbly more fact than opinion. You also have to consider his impact on helping intergrate the game of basketball (it helps when you always win). Of course there was also THE BIG O (oscar robinson). Cant say i saw him live, only on espn classic, but to average a triple double as a 6'5" combo guard is a feat that will never be achieved again. After that I would have to recognize Magic and Bird, the two most dominant stars of their era. They saved the game of basketball prior to the historic rise of MJ. these two men combined to win 8 titles in the 80s (5 for Magic, 3 for Bird) and their one or both their teams appeared in every finals series in the decade. S imply put, the changed the culture of the NBA and saved the game. Then there is His Airness. I dont need to )elaborat on his accomplishments as they are well documented. HE IS THE STANDARD BY WHICH BASKETBALL EXCELLENCE IS MEASURED-David Sten,1992. And I have to acknowledge this boards namesake. The second most dominant star of his era, and most skilled big of all time. In my opinion, skill level, overall talent, and achievement wise Kobe ranks with the best. He is more offensively skilled than MJ (better shooter, ballhandler, post game a wash), but not the individual or team defender MJ was, and certainly not in MJs class as a leader/teammate. Also, fair or not, Jordan was the unquestioned #1 player on all six championship teams. Shaqs presence on the first three will always be a footnote that hinders Kobe to an extent. And for reasons listed above Magic will forver be the most cherished Laker(unless kobe wins 2/3 more rings). Therefor my list is as follows...
4) The Nigerian Nightmare