No he wasn't, he never won a ring as the #1 option back in 2009 and was being labeled as a team killer, he wasn't even close. I put Hakeem above him because if you ask anyone who to start a team with, you're picking Hakeem over Kobe 100/100 times, likewise with everyone else in my top 10 except maybe Bird because Kobe kills him in longevity, and West if you're uneducated and just think he was a short white guy who only shot jumpers. My top 10 isn't based on just ringzz!!! I'm basing it on peak, longevity, all around game, leadership, MVPs, etc. And before someone brings up Kobe should have won MVP in his 35 PPG season, yes, but he robbed CP3 of an MVP in 07-08 so it evens out.
He was #1 option in 2009 and had case for regular season MVP that season over Lebron. 2009 NBA Finals MVP - 32.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 7.4 APG. Kobe's Highest Finals AVERAGE: 32.4 PPG Lebron's SINGLE GAME Finals High: 32 points.
Kobe greatest playoff series. Kobe's Greatest Playoff Hits
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After clinching Game 6 of the 2010 WCF against the Phoenix Suns, Kobe has built himself an impressive list of great NBA Playoff Series throughout his career(see below).
Although career averages may say otherwise to a few people, Kobe Bryant has made himself into one of the best NBA Playoff performers of his generation. Historically, Kobe(at the end of 2010 WCF) has given himself 75 30+ point performances in his playoff career with only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan in front of him. Kobe ranks #4 All-Time in Career Playoff Point Totals. #8 Kobe Bryant's Playoff Career
In his early career, almost all NBA fans remember the #8 Kobe Bryant. Young, Athletic, Cocky, and Talented. As one of the NBA's brightest stars, Kobe was great during the regular season, but he was just a sidekick to Shaq having one of the greatest peaks ever in NBA history. #8 Kobe Bryant was spectacular during the regular season(and Yes, he did have many clutch and memorable moments during the playoffs), but was inconsistent during the playoffs at times. Kobe's only truly consistent playoff run with Shaq, was during the 2001 Playoffs where Kobe averaged 29/7/6.
Although many people will disagree with me, Shaq was clearly #1 on the early 2000's Lakers teams. While still being a superstar and one of the best perimeter players in the league at the time, Kobe was still #2, arguably the greatest #2 option in NBA History.
Kobe didn't have the numbers, consistency, or leadership to be able to guide his team through the playoffs like Shaq. Who could blame him though? He was only 21-23 years old at the time.
Post-Shaq and #24 Kobe Bryant's Playoff Career
Now Post-Shaq Era. Kobe Bryant has a new team and a new number #24. #24 Kobe Bryant has had great statistical averages starting from the 2006 playoffs onwards. The series against the 2010 PHX Suns, proves to me why #24>#8 during the playoffs. Better numbers, and better leadership. Post-Shaq, Kobe Bryant(In My Opinion) has been the best player in the Playoffs. Combining Statistics, Leadership, and Clutch play, no player has been better than post-Shaq Era Kobe Bryant.
At the age of 31, Kobe Bryant has posted arguably the greatest playoff series of his already accomplished career. Averaging 34/7/8 on 52%fg shooting. Many point to 2001 WCF as Kobe's best, but imo 2010 WCF Kobe was even better since Kobe has a higher role and responsibility to his team than his younger 22 year old counterpart. When we look back at Kobe's career, I belive more people will remember his career as #24 rather than #8 due to his higher degree of playoff success individually. Because that's where legends are made.
After the 2010 WCF, I can confidently say Kobe has made himself the best playoff-performer of his generation.
Post-Shaq Era(05-06 Onwards) Kobe Bryant Playoff Averages:
29.8 ppg 5.7 rpg 5.4 apg 1.5 spg 0.7 bpg 3.3 tov
Below are Kobe Bryant's Best Playoff series of his career.
2001 2nd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Sacramento Kings
35.0 ppg 9.0 rpg 4.3 apg 47%fg 20%3P 86%FT
2001 3rd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs San Antonio Spurs
33.3 ppg 7.0 rpg 7.0 apg 51%fg 36%3P 77%FT
2003 1st Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Minnesota Timberwolves
31.8 ppg 5.2 rpg 6.7 apg 43%fg 36%3P 87%FT
2008 1st Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Denver Nuggets
33.5 ppg 5.3 rpg 6.3 apg 50%fg 33%3P 74%FT
2008 2nd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Utah Jazz
33.2 ppg 7.0 rpg 7.2 apg 49%fg 21%3P 83%FT
2008 3rd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs San Antonio Spurs
29.2 ppg 5.6 rpg 3.8 apg 53%fg 33%3P 91%FT
2009 3rd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Denver Nuggets
34.0 ppg 5.8 rpg 5.8 apg 48%fg 34%3P 93%FT
2009 NBA Finals Kobe Bryant vs Orlando Magic
32.4 ppg 5.6 rpg 7.4 apg 43%fg 36%3P 84%FT
2010 2nd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Utah Jazz
32.0 ppg 3.8 rpg 5.8 apg 52%fg 25%3P 87%FT
2010 3rd Round Playoffs Kobe Bryant vs Phoenix Suns
33.7ppg 7.2 rpg 8.3 apg 52%fg 43%3P 88%FT