Assessing Kobe Bryant's standing in Lakers history
In the wake of the debate about Kobe Bryant's high volume of shots versus the team's lack of inside presence in the Lakers' 95-93 loss Monday to the Memphis Grizzlies, Coach Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher shared their theories on how Bryant will ultimately be ranked among the Lakers' all-time greats.
Here's Jackson's main criteria when putting together an all-time list: "How has their team done during their tenure as a player?" So what is his list?
"It's going to be Magic [Johnson], Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Kobe," Jackson said. Those are the people, you know Jerry [West]. He didn't win as many championships in that era. They were always blocked by the Celtics. I guess basically that's what you look at."
The Times' Bill Plaschke ranked Bryant third behind Johnson and West. He chose Johnson because of his five championships compared with Bryant's four, "his revolutionizing of the assist changed basketball, and his leadership in community business development has changed several inner cities. All this while serving as a worthy pioneer in the battle against the former stigma and shame associated with HIV."
Plaschke lumped together West's body of work as a player and general manager: "He won only one championship as a player, but then as club executive helped build eight more," he wrote. "As a player, he was such a solid presence, the league's logo is a drawing of his silhouette. As a general manager, he's the one who brought Bryant here in the first place."
I put together a solid list on other writers' initial assessments on Bryant's standing in Lakers history, but I think Fisher added a new wrinkle to the debate.
I'd like to do a poll on who belongs at the top of the Lakers' all-time greatest list. But on the chance I'd leave someone's name out, I'll just open the floor through the comments section below.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Kobe Bryant finishes off a dunk against Memphis on Monday night that made him the Lakers' all-time scoring leader, moving ahead of Jerry West. Bryant finished with 44 points in the loss. Credit: Mike Brown / EPA