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Kobe Bryant considers Jerry West the greatest all-time Laker

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Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and most fans of the L.A. Times Lakers blog agree on one thing: the possibility that the Black Mamba wins his fifth NBA championship won't significantly enhance his playing legacy or his standing in the Lakers' organization. In a pre-Finals poll, 56% of voters deemed it too early to say whether a Lakers' title against the Boston Celtics would enhance Bryant's career, which is expected to last at least through the 2013-14 season. Meanwhile, 18% of voters believed a title against Boston would cast Bryant as the Lakers' all-time greatest player, 4% thought it would cement Bryant as the league's best player and 16% predicted Bryant would top both categories.

It's also not surprising to read the following exchange between Bryant and a reporter Saturday during the Lakers' media session. Bryant's apparent apathy both spoke to his insular focus on winning a ring sometime this week and camouflaging his obvious desire to be considered the best in all things basketball.

Reporter: If you don't beat the Boston Celtics, can you go down as the best Laker ever?

Bryant: No.

Reporter: Is it important to you to go down as the best Laker ever?

Bryant: No.

Reporter: Do you think you are?

Bryant: No.

There is much debate to this conversation. In a recent Sports Illustrated profile on Bryant, former Laker Michael Cooper told SI's Lee Jenkins that beating the Celtics in the Finals would bear great significance on Bryant's standing as a Laker, a feat only accomplished by various Lakers greats, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Cooper. "It's not about beating the Celtics in the regular season," Cooper said. "You have to beat them in the playoffs. That's when you become part of the club."

There was also disagreement over that ranking once Bryant surpassed West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer. The Times' Bill Plaschke ranked Bryant third behind Johnson and West. ESPN's Michael Wilbon doesn't rank the players, but he lumped Bryant with Johnson, West, George Mikan, Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain and O'Neal as the Lakers' best all-time players. And West gave the honor to Bryant immediately after he surpassed his scoring record. And Bryant himself? Well, he passed the honor right back to the man who drafted him.

"In my opinion it's Jerry West because in terms of everything that he's done, as a player and then as a general manager," Bryant said. "He's responsible for managing here, he's responsible for Shaq, he's responsible for myself. He put the whole picture together and everything that he's done, to me he's the greatest."

That answer prompted a reporter to ask a followup: "Magic [Johnson] doesn't get the edge because he did beat the Celtics and Jerry West didn't?"

Said Bryant: "What is everybody's fascination with the Celtics in terms of going down in history -- it's a little weird to me. I think Jerry's body of work and the championships that he's been responsible for, just my opinion -- you can have your own opinion, it doesn't really matter to me. In my opinion I think Jerry West is."

Well, you've heard Bryant's take. What's yours? The best comment will be featured in tomorrow's links post. Who is the all-time greatest Laker?

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has his shot challenged by Celtics defenders Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett (5) in the second half of Game 4 on Thursday night. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.

 
Comments () | Archives (76)

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I get what Kobe is saying.

Magic beats the 80s Celtics. West couldn't beat the 60s Celtics. 80s and 60s are two different teams even if they wear the same uniforms.

Same goes today. This squad is different from the Bird team (they don't have a larry bird thankfully) and totally different from Russel's.

Totally different. Beating the Celts is only significant in the respect of what happened in the 60s. Take that out, and really, what's the big deal (other than 2008)

There is historical significance of this series.

It matters.

Here... we... go...

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

KWAME BROWN is the greatest laker of all time why? Because of those Magnificent Calves. Smush Parker is second because of the SmushCalade. Vlade Divac is third because he was the greatest flopper of all time. This ladies and Gentleman is your greatest Lakers line-up of all. They coulda been a contender

Hard to argue Kobe's logic when it comes to the Logo as a WHOLE.. From player to management.. Ok.. no argument here.. LETS GO LAKER NATION !!!!! I feel bad for Drew, ALL EYES will be on the kid because so much has been made of his play being the difference maker thusfar.. I have faith being around Superstars has given Drew the mettle he needs on the big stage.. I'm gonna sound dumb making an emotional statement, but I truly believe Drew will not only rise up, but actually BE the difference maker in todays game and help the Lakers come home with a 3-2 edge... GO LAKERS !!!! GO DREW !!! GO TO HELL BOSTON !!!!!

I think Fisher was crying like a little girl, after game three, because he understood that that was the Lakers last win of the season.

Since when has Michael Wilbon's mouth become a prayer book? The fact that he includes Chamberlain as one of the greatest Lakers players shows his lack of insight. Chamberlain lost 3 of the 4 Finals that he was a part of with the Lakers. 2 to the Knicks and one to the Celtics. Against the Celtics in 1969, his mysterious 4th quarter injury cost his team big time. And against the Knicks in 1970, Chamberlains's failure to exploit Reed's injury in game 5 lead to the game 7 debacle. Chamberlain did help lead the Lakers to their first C'ship in L.A. in 1972, for which I'll always be appreciative. But he left a lot more on the table during his Laker career.

Kobe's right. It's Logo, Magic, Mamba. As of now. The book on Kobe is not fully written.

I hope Bynum can play, it would be embarrassing to see Gasol wet his Hello Kitty panties when he realizes he has to play the whole game by himself.

I believe that the Laker victory in Gm. 3 put tremendous pressure on Boston. It gave the Lakers 2 chances to admisnister the KO in Boston. And they still have the HCA, regardless.

GO LAKERS!!!!

I hope Bynum can play, it would be embarrassing to see Gasol wet his Hello Kitty panties when he realizes he has to play the whole game by himself.

Posted by: The Ghost of Red | June 13, 2010 at 03:07 PM

He can always wear one of LakerToms diapers underneath his Hello Kitty panties.

Kobe is being ridiculous. Ask Jerry West. He will tell you
the greatest Laker is ..... Magic Johnson.

As posted many times, Fisher is the Lakers weak link.
Yes, he had a good game #3 but overall Lakers would be better if
Farmar started and played starter minutes.

Farmar could have made all the plays and more, if given the opportunity. A major difference between Phil and Doc Rivers is Doc kept Nate and Big Baby in the game when they were playing well.

Phil?

Farmar can be 5-7 fg/fga 13 pts, 4 assists, 3 rebounds in 11 minutes
while Fisher is 1-5, 2 pts, 0 assists and 0 rebounds in 30 minutes

Phil will put Fisher in the game at 6 minutes remaining in 4th quarter no matter what.

There is nothing Farmar can do the stay of the floor.

Phil is going with Fisher period.

I have a feeling Boston isnt gonna be a Fun Town tonight, if you're a local.. I just dont see Boston winning tonight.. sorry Trolls

Edwin Gueco, Justa, LakerLass, where are you!
Mamba24

That is because Phil Jackson is a lousy coach.

There are some vey SICK Celtic fans on OUR blog. What is up with these people? One wants Bynum to blow a knee. This isn't even normal. Please take these LUNATICS OFF OUR blog!!!!!!!!!!!This isn't even fun bantering any more, it's sadistic. Go Lakers, We're behind you. Lakers in 6

After the Boston Celtics embarrass these weak sister Lakers; where do you think this front running, carpetbagger Phil Jackson will coach next?

Complex_Brotha, not to correct you, but has Boston ever been a NICE town?
I suggest Kobe and the guys get the win and get out of Boston before all hell breaks out. On second thought I'm glad the Lakers won't win it in Boston, can you imagine what that would be like?
Mamba24

After the Boston Celtics embarrass these weak sister Lakers; where do you think this front running, carpetbagger Phil Jackson will coach next?
Posted by: The Ghost of Red | June 13, 2010 at 03:18 PM
*
Well Ghost it sure won't be Boston, since they won't be seeing a playoff for the next decade or so.
Mamba24

Kobe's right. It's Logo, Magic, Mamba. As of now. The book on Kobe is not fully written.

Posted by: bronxlakerfan | June 13, 2010 at 02:56 PM
PERFECTO!

The local Celtics show just showed a clip of Kobe arriving at the Garden and they actually were checking him with the weapons detector wand, no lie. He must of had flashbacks to a Denver courtroom.

The local Celtics show just showed a clip of Kobe arriving at the Garden and they actually were checking him with the weapons detector wand, no lie. He must of had flashbacks to a Denver courtroom. Posted by: The Ghost of Red | June 13, 2010 at 03:23 PM
*
Naw that's not it. Some of Paula's gangbanging thug friends were trying to slip in so they're checking everybody.

@NEWMEXICOLAKERLIFER, You're right! The nastiness on this bLog is getting so thick you can cut it with a knife. Can't wait till we win the Ring and all this ceases!
MAMBA24

THE THREE WAYS THE CELTICS WILL BEAT THE LAKERS TONIGHT
1: LONG
2: HARD
3: CONTINUOUSLY

Todd, please tell me you are joking. You want Farmar to get MORE minutes? Nothing good comes of Jordan's minutes. Jordan has the worst decision making skills of any player on the roster and, on a team with Lamar Odom, THAT is saying something.

The Ghost of Red,

Here's one for you ol' chap...After the Lakers knock off these "overconfident, inconsistent" Celtic starters, where will Doc Rivers get another "free" ride?

BTW, Phil "10 RINGS" Jackson is the best of ALL time! What facts say OTHERWISE? ....Nice to know that KG ACKNOWLEDGES the Lakers beng a sound defensve team. He called it as he sees it playing out! Listen, both teams want it BAD. If Boston WANTS IT, it's not going to be EASY street like they thought it would be! And they KNOW IT! I like the Lakers chances...Have a nice day...

Laker pride through ALL and ANY ADVERSITY!

@LET'S GO L'S...OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!
MAMBA24

Farmar hasn't had a chance in 4 years. 18 minutes is not enough to deem his decision skills bad. 30 minutes is enough to deem Fisher's defense non-existent.

Phil prefers Fisher, bottom line.
Nothing Farmar, Brown or Sasha can do about it.

As for LO ... He needs to play better in game 5.
-----------------------------------
Todd, please tell me you are joking. You want Farmar to get MORE minutes? Nothing good comes of Jordan's minutes. Jordan has the worst decision making skills of any player on the roster and, on a team with Lamar Odom, THAT is saying something.

The NBA Finals: Where the Celtics beating the Lakers 9 out of 11 times happens.

The NBA Finals: Where the Celtics will not be appearing for another twenty years happens.

@NEWMEXICOLAKERLIFER, You're right! The nastiness on this bLog is getting so thick you can cut it with a knife. Can't wait till we win the Ring and all this ceases!
MAMBA24

Posted by: Mamba24 | June 13, 2010 at 03:28 PM

Every nation must police their own.

People who say what they want, hear what they dont.

Kobe has a grace to honor Jerry West as the great Lakers of all time. Unlike Magic Johnson, Jerry West's heart is with the Lakers! I was not around to see Jerry West played for the Lakers but became the Lakers fan when Jerry West drafted Magic Johnson who became one of the Lakers' legends.

And please guys, don't feed the Septics trolls that invade our blog before game 5. They will be gone after our win tonight like cockroaches on the kitchen counter when the light is turn on!!!

Mamba24(LarrY), I thought Justa is with you..lol! I haven't seen her post since Thursday night.

Go Lakers!
In Kobe, I Trust!

Mamba24(LarrY), I thought Justa is with you..lol! I haven't seen her post since Thursday night. Go Lakers! n Kobe, I Trust! Posted by: Wallace | June 13, 2010 at 03:51 PM
*
Stop that Wallace, Justa & I are in the midst of a Trial Virtual Seperation. Despite my begging she plans to go thru with the Virtual Divorce. Oh the Humanity!!!Lol!
Mamba24

I think we all can agree that the Celtics are the preeminent organization of the N.B.A , you Laker fans can still hold your head up high while holding down the second tier with the Bulls and the Spurs.

NBA Finals: Where the Celtics havent won back to back since TV's had dials

Hi Larry !!! You're absolutely right, I was just trying to be civil seeing its Sunday and all but if ya really wanna kno the truth, I expect Boston to get beat like a crackhead caught stealing at a swap meet lmao

Jerry West was Clutch before there was such a term. I believe the first player ever called Mr. Clutch was Jerry West. Perhaps now we see why Magic is picking the celtics, because Kobe won't acknowlege him as the Greatest Laker.
But you see the grace of Mamba & Jerry West. Each declaring the other as the greatest Laker. That is truly class.
Mamba24

I expect Boston to get beat like a crackhead caught stealing at a swap meet lmao Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 03:59 PM
*
ROFLMAO!!! now don't hold back Complex_Brotha, just tell us how you really feel. haha!
Mamba24

Mamba24........ and WE WILL WIN the RING. The teams in the West are a lot more skilled and win with class. Yes even the Thuggets have more class than the EAST. We're behind you LAKERS. LAKERS in 6

NBA Finals: Where the Celtics havent won back to back since TV's had dials

Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 03:57 PM

NBA Finals: Where the Lakers havent beaten the Celtics since the advent of the internet.

LMAO@ Virtual Seperation followed by Virtual Divorce !!!!! Buwahahahahahahaha at least when Justa asks Mamba, pay her in "virtual" alimony !! lmaoooooooooooooooooooo

I think we all can agree that the Celtics are the preeminent organization of the N.B.A , you Laker fans can still hold your head up high while holding down the second tier with the Bulls and the Spurs. Posted by: The Ghost of Red | June 13, 2010 at 03:56 PM
*
Now that's just downright mean, Ghost. But answer one question for me, what NBA team has been in the Finals in every decade since the NBA was founded? Hint...The Freakin Lakers!! Therefore how I spell preeminent is LAKERS!
mAMBA24

complex, my brother....so true

NBA Finals: Where the Lakers havent beaten the Celtics since the advent of the internet. Posted by: Celtic Nation | June 13, 2010 at 04:03 PM
NBA finals where the Lakers have won 6 Titles and the Celtics one since the Advent of the internet
Mamba24

NBA Finals: Where the Lakers have a less than .500 record happens.

How can Boston be the preeminent organization in the NBA when they havent been dominant since the Beatles stopped touring? Were you frozen during 1987-2008 ? or just in denial ? lmaooooooooooooo

NBA Finals: Where the Celtics were great BEFORE TV's had Color

I think Doc should rest the starters for Tuesday and let the bench slap around the Lakers tonight.

NBA Finals: Where your team appears once every 2 decades

NBA Finals: Where the Celtics were great BEFORE TV's had Color

Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:09 PM

NBA Finals: Where Laker fans dont consider black or white a color happens.

NBA Finals: Where you'll see the Coach with the most Championship rings.. DEAD or Alive

Justa asks Mamba, pay her in "virtual" alimony !! lmaoooooooooooooooooooo
Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:03 PM
*
NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! LAMO!!! OH THE VIRTUAL HUMANITY!!! But the sad thing is I still virtually Love her! sniff, sniff, sniff
MAMBA24

Todd, as far as Farmar's decision making skills, I don't think anyone is basing their opinion on 18 minutes. Try 3 years.

Boston Celtics 17 Championships
Los Angeles Lakers 10 Championships
Chicago Bulls 6 Championships
Minneapolis Lakers 5 Championships
San Antonio Spurs 4 Championships

LOL, I see we have all spiraled into 8th grade smack. Hey, personally I think the Celtics are great. When we beat them, what will that make us? Lucky? Nu uh. Ball don't lie.

" NBA Finals: Where Laker fans dont consider black or white a color happens."


Awwwwwww Losing steam huh? I expected as much, hard to slam a team thats won a title, so far, in each decade and even snuck in some back to backs and 3peats.. unlike.. say... i dunno ??? Boston.. that has won a back to back or 3peated since Ed Sullivan was on TV

Mamba24:

Yes indeed, Magic did predict the Septics to win over the Lakers in this series to keep his employee, ABC and ESPN, happy! That's a betrayal of the Lakers trust, IMO!

And in case Justa succeed in her virtual separation and kick you out, I'll have a place for you to stay for a couple days here in my house!!!

It's punking time! Time to make the slurping Davis along with his monkey (Nate Robinson) throw up! Kobe will not allow the team to loose tonight. I did see him stare at LO at the end of the game, it's a warning to LO that he must show up and give 100% tonight otherwise he would be ship out after the season.

Go Lakers!

How can Boston be the preeminent organization in the NBA when they havent been dominant since the Beatles stopped touring? Were you frozen during 1987-2008 ? or just in denial ? lmaooooooooooooo Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:08 PM
*
ROFLMFAO!! NOW THAT'S THE FREAKIN READER COMMENT OF THE DAY!!!! OUT FREAKIM STANDING!!!
MAMBA24

NBA Finals: Where Boston fans only come out every 20 years

NBA Finals: Where you'll see the Coach with the most Championship rings.. DEAD or Alive

Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:14 PM

NBA Finals: Where nobody goes to see a coach happens.

The Lakers own the worst finals record ever. How many finals have you lost? Think about it.

@RED'S GHOST, looks like your reinforcements deserted you, just like the Celtics fans will desert the Celtics like Rats on a sinking ship when they see that the Celtics have no chance tonight!
Mamba24

NBA Finals: Where Boston fans only come out every 20 years

Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:19 PM

NBA Finals: Where Laker fans try to forget about 2 years ago happens.

ROFL@ Virtual Love.... only thing funnier would be a virtual pregnancy lmaooooooooooooooooooooo

It will be all downhill for the Lakers as soon as Gasol chips his first fingernail.

ComplexBrother:

Boston winning the NBA Champs is like the return of the Haley Comet (Which return every 75 years). After we won the NBA Title on Tuesday, we won't see the Septics in the Finals again until the year 2035.

The Boston Celtics need the Minneapolis/LA Lakers just like the Harlem Globetrotters need the Washington Generals. Actually, here is a fun fact, the Harlem Globetrotter's use to kick the ass of the Lakers as well. No word on if the Washington Generals also had their way with the Lakers, if they didn't, it is only because they never played.

NBA Finals: Where ONE team has been 3 years in a row

NBA Finals: Where ONE team has been 3 years in a row

Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:25 PM

NBA Finals: Where ONE team has WON 8 in a row happens.

And in case Justa succeed in her virtual separation and kick you out, I'll have a place for you to stay for a couple days here in my house!!!Posted by: Wallace | June 13, 2010 at 04:19 PM
*
Wow what a friend! I thought for sure you were going to say "virtual house." Lol! But despite it all Walace, if it takes me Decades - just like it will take the Celtics decades to get back to the finals and win again - I'm going to try to virtually win Justa back no matter how long in Virtual time it takes. Lol!
Now I shall stop commenting before I'm served with a virtual restraining order and a virtual gag is placed on me.
Mamba24

@ Wallace LMAO geesh 75years? I gave them another 20 !!!!

@ Celtic Ken, I'd rather have a team that makes the finals and loses, more than a team that goes every 20 years.. our odds way better than yours

NBA Finals: Where ONE team has WON 8 in a row happens. Posted by: Celtic Nation | June 13, 2010 at 04:29 PM
*
But there were only 8 teams in the league when they won that 8 in a row. There was no free agency and Boston had illegally signed all the best players. and Red had the nerve to say 10Rings hand picked his teams. Shoot Red Hand made his teams and hand made the opponents teams also.
Mamba24

Celebrating titles that occurred before you were even born is kinda desperate.

@ Celtic Ken, I'd rather have a team that makes the finals and loses, more than a team that goes every 20 years.. our odds way better than yours

Posted by: complex brotha | June 13, 2010 at 04:32 PM

Then explain why you have 15 and we have 17?

I read that Jerry West was so scarred from his Lakers being so consistently humiliated by the Celtics that he actually stopped wearing green, he couldn't stand having the color around him. Red Auerbach had no problems with the colors purple and gold, I think he even had a doormat made of those very colors...in tribute, I'm sure.

Then explain why you have 15 and we have 17?

Posted by: Celtic Nation | June 13, 2010 at 04:34 PM

NBA Finals: Where complex brotha couldnt answer the bell happens.

Boston is better and the lakers do not get back on dense quick enough nor do they move the ball faster up the court on offense - Boston knows the Lakers Plabook and knows they take therr time getting teball up the court, if they were faster and played harder and smarter theywill win, But the Lakers Play like a bunch of Chumpions not Champions and they play slow with no heart or urgency, if they continue to play this way - Congrats to Boston Celbreating on the Lakers Court this time adding insult to injury first the y win in 2008 on Bostons flooe and now they will rub it in the face of the Lakers again. I am better than Ron Ron I have his number too.


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