Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Truth About Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is one of the most talked about NBA players of all time and has arguably been the face of the NBA for several years.  One cannot deny that he is certainly one of the best players to have ever picked up a basketball,but I feel that some of his accomplishments are not put into perspective.  Before I start I'd like to say that Kobe is personally one of my favourite players to watch and has been since I started watching the NBA.  He is an all time great, first ballot hall of famer and an incredible player.

5 Rings
One of the arguments when it pertains to Kobe being the "G.O.A.T" (greatest of all time) or when ranking him on an all time scale  is the 5 rings that he has. Yes, Kobe Bryant has 5 championship rings to his name, but what does this actually mean? 

Bill Russell has 11 rings, Robert Horry has 7 rings and Michael Jordan has 6 rings; does this mean that both Russell and Horry are better players than Jordan? Of course not, why, because unlike Russell and Horry, Jordan was the main man on each of those championship teams hence why he has 6 finals MVPs. (Note that the finals MVP was not around in Bill Russell's day however he still wasn't the number one player on all 11 championships)

First of all, basketball is a team game and to rank someone based on the number of championships they have won is a very basic way of looking at things. 

Of Kobe's 5 championships he has 2 finals MVPs (2009&2010). Shaquille O'neal was the main man on on the first three championship teams and as a consequence he has 3Finals MVPs. This is not to say that Kobe was useless throughout the first 3 championships. It is just to say that he was the second option, the side-kick and therefore to label him as the leader of all 5 championships (which is something that many main stream media organizations such as Sport’s Illustrated do) is clearly not true.

Fans accept this when talking about Jordan and Pippen, no one says 'oh well Pippen has 6 rings therefore he's better than Kobe' because they clearly understand that Pippen was the side-kick for all six championships. However for some reason this isn't the case when it pertains to Kobe. 

81 points and Scoring
Often when I ask a Laker fan who they think the greatest scorer of all time is they reply with "Kobe of course."  When I further question them the first response is "he scored 81 points." 

This is probably the most illogical response possible.  Kobe's 81 points against the Raptors (who were the worst defensive team in the NBA at the time) was the second highest single scoring total in NBA history by an individual. Surely using that logic then Wilt Chamberlain at 100 points in a game would make him the best scorer ever?  Using the same logic would mean that David Thompson (career high 73 points) and Elgin Balyor (career high 71 points) are better scorers than Michael Jordan (career high 69 points).  Using one, single game as evidence as to someone being the best scorer of all time is extremely shallow!

There's no doubt that Kobe has been a prolific scorer for much of his NBA career, however,I feel that the negatives are drastically overlooked when people and the media talk about his scoring.  Kobe is currently 11th all time on the all time points per game list (25.51) (accurate as of Monday 11th March 2013) however for his career he is only shooting .454% from the field. In fact, he's never shot above 48% for a season, which is quite poor.

When you compare his FG% to other elite scorers; both past and present, it's shocking to see how low is FG% is.  Additionally more than 60% of Bryant’s 50 point games have come against bottom 10 defenses in the league. While Kobe is to be commended for taking advantage against poor teams it is important to put these 50-point out bursts into perspective when comparing them to other player’s 50-point games.

To give you a quick summary regarding the negatives of Kobe’s shooting/ scoring here are some of records that Kobe Bryant holds:

  • Most missed shots in a regular season
  • Most missed game winners and buzzer beaters
  • Only Finals MVP not to shoot above 50% in a single finals game (did this both in 2009 and 2010)
  • Worst shooting performance by any NBA finals MVP in history (40%)
  • Of the top 11 scorers of all time, Kobe has the lowest FG%
  • There are only 13 games in NBA history where someone has scored 50 points or more on sub 50% shooting, Kobe is responsible for 7 of those 13 games.
  • Most missed shots in a playoff series
  • Most missed shots in a finals.
Bet you didn't know that huh?

From the above records its clear that while Bryant scores the ball a lot, he has done so at an inefficient rate. 

Often the media will only focus on one side of the scoring; the point total.  In recent years Kobe has passed up some of the all time greats such as Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone and Julius Erwing when it pertains to all time total points but has done so shooting a lower percentage.  In fact on the day Kobe passed Jordan for all time total missed shots he shot 3 for 21 against the Wizards, ironic isn’t it?

Statistically speaking Kobe is predicted to pass Michael Jordan in all time total points in the near future (most likely during the 2013-2014 season) and I know that the media and Kobe fans globally will be stating that this alone makes him a better scorer than Michael Jordan.

While Kobe may pass Jordan in all time total points it’s important to recognize that Kobe has already played approximately 200 games more than Jordan and has yet to reach his point total while shooting approximately 4% lower from the field.  Additionally, by the time he passes Jordan in all time total points he will move into number 1 on the all time missed shot list while only being number 3 in total points made.  Not to mention the numerous other records that Jordan will still hold scoring wise.

Clutch Myth
Another myth that lives when it comes to Kobe is that he's 'clutch', he delivers the game winning shot when it's needed on a regular basis.  I hate to burst your bubble but this simply isn't true.  In fact, it's quite the opposite. Although there are varying definitions as to what 'clutch' is, it's widely accepted that a clutch shot is within the last 24 seconds of the game when your team is tied or down by 1,2 or 3 points.

Accurate as of March 17th 2013

Bryant is 45 of 138 - 32.6% - in the regular season and 7 of 28 - 25% -in the playoffs

Compared to some of the superstars of the NBA both past and present:

Michael Jordan - 33 for 58 - 56.9%  (9 for 18 in the playoffs)
LeBron James – 23 for 69 – 33.3% (5 for 12 in the playoffs)
Carmelo Anthony – 21 for 44 – 47%
Vince Carter – 31 for 96 – 32.3% 

The Media’s Portrayal
I’ve talked a lot about how the media portrays Kobe and how they compare him to other all time greats such as Jordan; so let’s take a look at one such example. 

Please note that the video compilation is fan made but I will be focusing on the audio that is spoken by various analysts and reporters from the main stream sports media.

“At the time of their 33rd birthday, is it Kobe that is more accomplished –outpacing Jordan in points, all star appearances and championships”

“Maybe even a better clutch player than Michael is….Kobe’s a better shooter than Michael Jordan and every bit the type of closer that Jordan was”

Let’s start off with the opening statement comparing Jordan and Kobe at their 33rd birthday. Is this a fair thing to do? Jordan entered the league at 21 years old where as Kobe entered the league at 18 years old.  Therefore meaning that Kobe has already played 3 more seasons in the NBA than Jordan.  Then we take into consideration that Jordan retired at the end of the 93 season and didn’t come back until the last 15 games of the 95-96 season, so already we can see that Kobe has almost a five year advantage over Jordan when comparing them.

Furthermore let’s look at the breakdown of the analysis. They have chosen to use only three categories to compare Kobe and Jordan; points, all star appearances and championships. As I stated earlier in this article Kobe has been a very inefficient scorer throughout his career and this clearly was not taken into consideration when making the claim.  Yes, he had more total points but he has played 5 years longer and has shot with a lower percentage than Jordan has for that duration. Furthermore the analyst goes on to mention all-star game appearances.  Since when did appearances in a exhibition game determine how great they were? Using that logic Kareem is the greatest of all time because he has the most all-star game appearances (19). Lastly, the analyst states that Kobe has more championships than Jordan.  As I covered previously in the article championships are a team achievement. It’s interesting to note that the analyst did not mention the number of finals MVPs that both players had at their respective ages, why do you think that is?

Let’s look at the second statement:

“Maybe even a better clutch player than Michael is…. Kobe’s a better shooter than Michael Jordan and every bit the type of closer that Jordan was”

Well, the percentages don’t lie;

Jordan is 33 for 58 - 56.9% in the regular season and 9 for 18 – 50% in the playoffs when it pertains to being clutch 

Kobe is is 45 of 138 - 32.6% - in the regular season and 7 of 28 - 25% in the playoffs when it pertains to being clutch

Now for the remainder of the quote: ‘Kobe’s a better shooter than Michael Jordan.’  Kobe’s career FG% is .454, Jordan’s is.497.  From 3-point range Kobe is .337, Jordan is .327.  Kobe is shooting 1% higher from 3 point range while Jordan is shooting 4% higher from everywhere else inside the 3 point line.  You do the math.

Some of the information presented in this article may come as a shock to some of you, especially the young generation.  The article was not meant to come across as bashing or ‘hating’ on Kobe. He’s an all time great, a first ballot hall of Famer and one of the best shooting guards to ever play the game of basketball.  He is one of my all time favourite players and I have loved watching his career.

I wrote this article to dispel some of the myths and lies that are told about him. I have no personal problem with Kobe Bryant however when the media tells blatant lies about a player or twists the truth as I have just shown you I see fit to correct them.  It’s amazing the amount of people that think Kobe is the greatest of all time all because ESPN presented them with 3 or 4 facts and a false statement.  Hopefully this article has shed some light on Kobe Bryant’s career.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm glad I got your attention. You don't like Kobe everyday you bash him on twitter without fail. If that is a player you like I hate to see what you do to the one's you don't.

    I just want to get my opinions on your article out. Nobody has ever called Roberty Horry a better player than Michael Jordan. He is a role player with the mentality to take and make big shot's. While Russell has 11 rings and was arguably the greatest defensive player ever. He was average at best at the offensive end. Michael Jordan is the greatest two-way player ever he excelled on defense as much as he did on offence. As hard as it is to compare a centre and a 2 guard I think it's fair to say Jordan was the more complete player. For the record Russel was the most important player in all 11 championships.

    Your clearly an NBA fan you have a good knowledge of the history of the game. This article is not subjective your arguments are one sided. This talk of sidekick's in winning NBA titles is created by the media. A team win's. Shaq would never have won without Bryant hence why his input is so rated. Countless player's have not managed to win because their team has not been good enough. Shaq had to come out at the end of close playoff games due to his poor free throw shooting and Kobe had to close. Shaq was the main reason they won but in this article you try and play it off as Kobe playing a minimal role this is untrue. The same for Jordan without Pippen the first Bull's championship was won onthe cornerstone of Pippen's full court defense of Magic Johnson. Pippen without Michael Jordan got the Bull's within a whisker of the ECF he is in no way a sidekick. These titles are not won without Bryant or Pippen. Also I like the way you blow off winning two final's MVP's ask Malone, Drexler, Stockton, Payton, Barkley and countless other superstar's what they would have done for one of these.

    The term scorer pertains to one's ability to score not how many points they scored. Comparing player's from different era's is tough. Wilt was a physically dominating 7'1 centre playing in the 60's while Kobe is an athletic 2 guard in the modern age. Kobe is a better scorer because he has a better offensive game than Wilt. 45% for a career is not bad it is not amazing but due to Kobe's game it is expected. He is less of a slasher and more of a shooter that leads to his lower percentage. He is shooting 47% this year. The difference between 45% and 50% is one shot going in. This does add up over the years.

    Before Kobe had the record for most missed baskets guess who had it? MICHAEL JORDAN It doesn't take away from MJ's record. A scorer will miss and makes hot's it comes with the territory.

    If Kobe was more selective with his shooting and trusted teammates more he would have a higher field goal% I blame him for that he never spent enough time trying to make teammates better and trusting their ability.

    Kobe being clutch is not a myth. Stop using stats to back things up I trust the eye test. Stat's can be manipulated however you want to get your point across. To suggest Lebron is more clutch than Kobe is ridiculous. Lebron is a player we have watched dominate for 3 quarters and become less dominant/effective in the final quarter of big pressure games. He has improved in this aspect in his career all credit due I must also admit Lebron always goes to make the right play not necessarily score. In high pressure situation's Kobe is one of the better player's in basketball history. The clutch tag is a burden. Jerry West famously struggled to deal with the pressure. Sam Jones of the Celtic's 60's dynasty was a great shot maker who didn't want the nightly pressure so game in game out and only took the mantle in extreme pressure situations as and when needed.

    1. I do not bash him every day on twitter, do I mention his name in my tweets every day? Probably. He's one of the most talked about NBA players ever, of course I'm going to talk about him a lot.

      Nobody has ever called Horry a better player, I was using the same logic in that case that people use when it pertains to Kobe.

      Russell was not the main man on all 11 teams, look at the stats and you will see otherwise.

      Correct, Shaq would probably not have won without Kobe. I did NOT say Kobe was playing a minimal role, I said he was the SECOND OPTION, because he was the SECOND BEST PLAYER.

      I did not blow off having 2 finals MVPs, I simply said that he has LED his team to TWO championships and not the commonly stated FIVE.

      45% shooting is poor, whatever way you look at it.

      There is a difference between being number ONE on the all time points average list for both reg season & playoffs, and having the most missed shots and being number ELEVEN on the same list and having the most all time missed shots. That proves that Kobe is NOT efficient in his scoring!!

      Stop using stats to back things up? What do you want me to use? What is the eye test anyway? What you see with your own eyes WILL be backed up in stats, that's why they are called stats! They are a re-collection of ACTUAL events!!

      I did not suggest LBJ is more clutch than Kobe, the stats say what they say.

    2. I'm glad you replied. Nice to see you interacting with your reader's.

      Not probably youmention Kobe everyday. More than you mention the best player in the game Lebron. I'm actually interested to hear your opinions on him and his game and watch you break it down as much as you break down Kobe's. You say you acknowledge his good points. Whenever you comment on him it is to mention the negative or to compare to Jordan, who he will ALWAYS fall short in comparison to. How good is he in your opinion i'm not sure you do not comment on his shotmaking ability, his postgame, fundamental's, footwork etc. Kobe is a debate provoker I don't blame you.

      That is what I mean by it's not all about stat's. Those Celtic'steams started and ended with Bill Russell. They were not the same team without him. He was their actual most valuable player. That is what I mean when stat's don't tell the whole story. They don't reflect how he initiated the fast break. His defence, rim protection, the 'hey bill' defense. Before he got to Boston they had not one and after he retired they struggled. He played with different team mates but made them winner's. He made it easier for all his team mates to play, without him the game was harder for them. So he was the main man. If he is the defensive anchor and enables his teammates to play better how can he not be the main man no matter what the stat's say. They lost the title in twice in his career in'58 because he was injured and he was bested once in '67 by Wilt Chamberlain. He was the only constant in 11 championship winning teams. There is no stat for some of the thing's he did that is why i say eye test you have to have watched.

      When I say stop using stats.I mean comment on what you actually see for e.g one of the main reasons for Kobe Bryant's low shooting % is his tendency to hold onto the ball too long forcing him to jack up bad shots.

      What i'm telling you to do is add perspective which would separate you from the media you criticize. IMO 45% isn't poor 40% and below is poor especially when you consider how many shot's he takes and the difficulty. Stat's don't show double team's triple team's. They don't reflect the contribution of the system,your teammates play. That is why I say the eye test. I find it amazing when people use highlight's to comment on the game when they haven't watched. I wouldn't brazenly compare Oscar, West, Baylor etc. because I didn't watch them and the game was COMPLETELY different 40 year's ago. As much as you can say IMO Jerry West would have etc. there is no way to know. 6'4 with unlimited range on the offensive end he sounds like Steph Curry, how would he do with Tony Allen,Avery Bradley, Igoudala, Deng, Shumpert and the such guarding him night in night out.

      I feel the whole sidekick thing is a overhyped. There is always a clear best player on all teams e.g Russell,Jordan and even Shaq. But when the second best player like Pippen is a top 5 player how can he really be a sidekick. It was Pippen's full court defence on Magic that won the Bulls their first title after it looked like L.A would run riot after game 1. That allowed Michael to flourish. Pippen was arguably the best defender on the Bull's. The only player who most probably won it alone was Hakeem Olajuwon.

      So you threw up the list of 'clutch' stat's to prove what.....
      You must be trying to say something. IMO you just come of slightly petty when commentating on Kobe. You criticized the media but you do the same thing. I'm saying add perspective. I don't even disagree with you just they way you present information.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. This article is stating facts, not what a player can do or would do, but what a player does. I'm going to quote you:"If Kobe was more selective with his shooting and trusted teammates more he would have a higher field goal% I blame him for that he never spent enough time trying to make teammates better and trusting their ability." - the key word is if, why Kobe takes low percentage shot, no one knows. Lebron James always gets crticized for passing the ball to open teammates, but the reality is that Lebron probably made that play and the team had the high percentage shot, which means their chance to win was higher than him ball hogging and taking shots with 2-3 defenders on him. Kobe is flashy, Kobe makes amazing shots and that's what the highlights show. The eye can trick, but math won't, and math says that Kobe misses 3 out of 4 shots in the clutch. Take any statistic, put it in whatever perspective you want and you will see that Kobe can't be compared to the greats. After proving evidence that Kobe is worse than Lebron in the clutch, we should trust your eye test? Lebron had a terrible Mavs series and that's about it.
      To quote you furtherly: "What i'm telling you to do is add perspective which would separate you from the media you criticize. IMO 45% isn't poor 40% and below is poor especially when you consider how many shot's he takes and the difficulty." - Math will tell you that the difference between 50% and 45% is the same as 45% and 40% - why is 40% all of a sudden poor?
      "Stat's don't show double team's triple team's." - exactly, Kobe is a narcisist and would rather miss the last shot than let his teammates make the shot. Either that, or he isn't a good enough player when he's trapped in double teams and can't pass the ball.
      My opinion is that being clutch isn't just the last 24 seconds, the last 5 minutes of a tight game etc. I believe that performing under pressure doesn't get any higher than when a team is facing elimination in the playoffs, and Kobe's stats go waaaay down than his averages. Ok, you'll say that I'm manipulating information the way I want, but I encourage you to do the same thing and prove to me (with some facts,using playoff games as an example etc.) that in your manipulation of information Kobe is better than Lebron. Here I go:
      Kobe's teams have played 15 elimination games with a record 8-7. In these games Kobe averaged 24/6/4, FG% .417. Kobe scored on average 25.9% of his teams points.
      Lebron's teams have also played 15 elimination games with a 7-8 record. In these games Lebron averaged 32/11/7, FG% .459 and scoring 34.9% of his teams points.
      You can check all the stats per game, or I can do it for you, but to say that Kobe is clutch, i.e. Kobe is more clutch than Lebron just based on the eye test, no way you can win the case in court.
      I guess he threw up the list of clutch stats to prove that Kobe isn't what the media (i.e. a part of it) perceives him to be - one of the clutchest players ever.
      Once again, prove me wrong using facts.
      Btw I'm not the biggest Kobe fan just because I don't consider him to be a team player, but I still do believe he is great and me ranking him in the top 15 all time shouldn't be considered as an insult.

  3. part 2

    The media's job is to create buzz. Hype machines such and Skip Bayless and first take pertain to that. Unfortunate as it is for Bryant he and Jordan are comparable both being 6'6 athletic shooting guards with near identical skill set's. which is centered around a midrange game though Jordan was more of a slasher and also had a post upgame. Bryant's game is also centred around a mid range game and he post's up but he is more perimeter orientated. Kobe came into the league at 17 and spent his first 3 year's on the bench. You have watched basketball Jordan is not a better 3 point shooter what he did was pick his spots better. The reason Wade and James for example have such high field goal % is because they do just this get as close to the basket as they can. James is shooting 40%from 3 due to this fact. Kobe is as good a shot maker as there has ever been. He takes more bad shots than he should and this has let him down over his career.

    All in all a good article to get your point across but I just wanted to put things into perspective. Anyone can go online and look up stat's. Jordan is the better player clearly,but some of the point's you have used to bash Kobe have been unfairly represented. This is not an objective piece. Well done for the effort though nice to see someone so young who is not American so passionate about the game.

    Kobe is greedy and is untrusting of team mates and this has always been my gripe with him. I think he has a somewhat poor basketball I.Q in that regard settling for a bad shot for himself rather than good or great shot for a better placed teammate. I think he loves the comparison himself and perhaps play'sup to the tag. Jordan was the same initially but improved with time. Kobe is the most polarizing player of all time bar Wilt. Enjoy him while he is here. Maybe Kobe fan's drove you to this article but show a higher standard when writing you have the passion and ability to go far.

    1. Who's fault is it that Kobe wasn't good enough to start for his first 3 years? Not mine that's for sure.

      Wade and James shoot well because yes they get to the basket, they also don't force up shots like Bryant does. James is shooting 40% from 3 this year because he is NOT forcing up shots and is taking his opportunities wisely! Kobe is as good a shot maker as there's ever been while shooting 45%? Oh.

      Thank you for reading the blog and thank you for your comment.

  4. Did you also know that LeBron's winning layup against the magic 2 weeks ago is the only winning shot he made since he joined the heat in 2010? Really bad article, acting like you are not bashing kobe but you are , useless article that doesn't show anything really , how about you type the numbers that LeBron put in the 4th quarter of the nba finals against the mavericks , averaging less than 2 points in the 4th quarter having the worst performance by an mvp in the history of nba, why do you have to hate all the time and post negative stuff ,why can't we appreciate all these guys , shame!

    1. 1. I am not bashing Kobe, I am presenting facts. Bashing Kobe would be saying things like "I don't like the car he drives" or "I don't like his shooting form". Those are irrelevant. I challenge you to find one thing in this article that isn't true.

      2. Why bring up LeBron? The article is about Kobe and his career, not LeBron's

  5. This article is absolutely BRILLIANT.

  6. I love the way you pick and chose what to put up out of what I have written. My comments make sense i add insight and provide a BALANCED argument. Your basketball knowledge is not as good as you think. I appreciate your research but you need to watch more games. The worst thing is i'm not even disagreeing with you just saying some of your comments are outlandish and you should add more perspective and provide a better balanced argument.

    1. The article was not meant to be balance, we ALL know what "good" Kobe has done in his career, the article was meant to look at some of the things that are stated when it pertains to Kobe and to put them into PROPER perspective, because obviously the media FAILS to do this!

  7. Man, these Kobe Stanley's are FURIOUS!

  8. Great article. Jaffy Joe missed the point completely in most cases. All he's done is make more excuses to defend Kobe. Hint: this article wasn't aiming to be balanced, it was aiming to dispel the commonly held misconceptions held about Bryant, and his career numbers. It's not aiming to be balanced; just factual. Again, great article, very well written.

    1. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment, I'm glad some-one can understand what I'm trying to say.

  9. If the tittle of the article is THE TRuTH ABOUT KOBE BRYANT shouldn't it have all the good stuff he did in this 17 years?

    This is not the THRUT...this is garbage

    1. The article was meant to dispell some of the myths and lies told about Kobe, we all know the 'good' he has done in his career.

  10. Your basketball knowledge seems to be all based on stats.
    45% shooting is not poor for a player who averages almost 20 shots. Kobe Bryant in his first three championships was the go to guy in the 4th quarter and the main ball handler on the team.
    Kobe Bryant also outperformed Shaq in 2001 and 2003 western conference playoffs which was head and shoulders ahead of the lowly eastern conference.

    1. It's based on the eye test & stats.
      45% IS POOR! If other superstars such as Jordan, Durant, Wade, LeBron etc can shoot 50% for a season why is Kobe any different?
      I would encourage you to look at the numbers for the Western Conference finals for those games.

    2. If you think 45% off 20+ shots is good shooting, you are EXACTLY whats wrong with the NBA fan today.

  11. Well Done Article. But I would like to ask you where do you believe Kobe is in list of all time greats? I follow you on twitter (@David_lakeshow) and it doesn't seem like you give him enough credit for what hes doing in his 17th year. Its truly amazing how he can still be a top 5 player in the league even though hes way past his prime.

  12. Kobe=hall of fame

  13. I would like to say, we bring up LBJ because you brought him up when u used his numbers to compare to Kobe. When the numbers do not favor LBJ you ask y we bring him up? Man, u r no different than the media. THe media actually do not like Kobe. They talk bad about him all the time and so does your article. So what myths are you dispelling? I see only parallels in your story and main stream media.