February 24, 2011
In an era heavy on flash, one player still brings substance to the court night after night: Kobe Bryant.
The best and most valuable player on the planet is consistent in his approach to the game, the leadership of his team and his relentless will to win. He produces from preseason to postseason and everywhere in between.
He doesn’t need a flashy nickname, and he doesn’t bother with elaborate handshakes, choreographed dances or premeditated powder tosses. Like the stars of yesteryear, all that matters to him is the scoreboard.
His stubborn pride and distaste for losing are the hallmarks of his ultra-competitive personality. He would never run away from the spotlight, the last shot or his team. He would never run off to join another star’s team.
Kobe Bryant believes in himself. He craves pressure, revels in adoration and accepts blame. Money doesn’t drive him. Endorsements don’t own him. Off-court issues haven’t stopped him. He plays to win in every sense of the word, from the opening tipoff to the final buzzer without making faces or whining for calls.
Sure, there are stars that score more points, make more assists and pull down more rebounds. But Bryant is a complete player and has five NBA titles to prove it. In an era where lots of superstars love to win; Kobe Bryant hates to lose. The difference is subtle but enormous.
The L.A. Lakers are Kobe’s team. He won with Shaquille O’Neal and without him. And while the supporting cast has changed, the star has remained the same. To be truly great, an athlete must be willing to accept the responsibility of being “the guy.” He must embrace the pressure of expectation and rise above the fear of failure. Kobe is up for the challenge. He has too much ego, too much pride, too much confidence in himself to be anything else. Few others are like him.
Kobe Bryant has won five NBA championships. While other superstars pile up stats and individual awards, Bryant fills stat sheets and wins championships. And while pre-game rituals are great for the camera, only winning feeds the meter of greatness. Add it all up—from production to leadership to competitive spirit—and in the post-Jordan era, Kobe Bryant is simply the best.
Now in the 13th year of his NBA career, Kobe Bryant has enjoyed unparalleled success. Consider his stats:
Kobe Bryant is more than his championships and far more than his stats. He is so intertwined with the Lakers that you can’t mention one without the other.
While other superstars want the tag of greatness, they must first earn championships. At the end of the day, the pathway of success leads to the gate of greatness—the place where legends are made. Entrance has nothing to do with being “The Chosen One,” and everything to do with being “The Proven One.” Michael, Magic and Larry all proved it. Among superstars in the current NBA landscape, Kobe Bryant has not only proven it, he is it.