Kobe Bryant’s legacy


Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times from Tribune News Service

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant drives the ball in the third quarter against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Bryant scored 60 points in a 101-96 victory.

James Jefferson, Reporter

Kobe Bryant is one of the NBA’s all time great players. He’s won 5 NBA championships, he won a regular season MVP award in 2007 and he is 3rd on the NBA’s all time scoring list with 32,734 points. That’s only some of the accomplishments that this legend achieved in the game of basketball. But I think there’s a lot more than statistics that make Kobe one of the all time greats.

He graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1996 and he was the first player in Lakers franchise history to graduate from high school and go directly to the professional level. That’s impressive.

“Kobe was one of the greatest players of all time but he will be 2nd behind Michael Jordan.” My chemistry classmate Kordell Griffin says.

Kobe was the kind of player that always had the killer instinct and the mentality of a champion. I’ll never forget a game where Kobe absolutely went insane. He scored a career high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. It’s the 2nd most points in a game in NBA history. Kobe said this after his remarkable performance: “That was something that just happened. It’s tough to explain.”

He’s one of the all time greats but he will always be number 2 in NBA history behind Michael Jordan. My chemistry classmate Kendall Johnson says.

“I don’t like Kobe as a person but he’s a great player. He’s one of the top 15 players in NBA history.” My English classmate Matt Towner says

In contrast to his comment, Kobe should be remembered for one thing: he was a humanitarian. According to NBA.com, he was involved with the pediatric AIDS foundation and the Center for Abused Children. He’s currently involved with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, St. Jude’s Children Hospital and The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

In his final season in the NBA, Kobe has had several tributes from many players, coaches and teams across the league. In his hometown of Philadelphia, his local high school retired his old jersey. In his final all star game, a tribute video to Kobe was played before the game. Some of the players from the video included Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and his former teammate, Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol.

“I don’t believe Kobe is the best Lakers player ever. Magic Johnson is the best player they’ve ever had.” Jeanine Jefferson says.“He will definitely go down as one of the top 5 greatest players in basketball.”

Jefferson also says this about how he handles his life off of the basketball court: Kobe was extremely talented but he would talk bad about his teammates and he was unfaithful to his wife for a period of time.

In his final career game, Kobe went out in style. He scored 60 points including 38 points in the second half and the Lakers ended up winning. It was Kobe’s sixth career game scoring 60 or more points. After the game, he addressed the crowd at Staples Center. “I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by.” Kobe said.

Bryant also expressed his thanks to his teammates and all of the Lakers fans and his wife for their support. Also, Kobe said that when he was growing up in Philadelphia, he was a diehard Lakers fan and he said it was an honor to be traded to the Lakers from the Charlotte Hornets after the draft.

My opinion of Kobe is that he’s the best player in Lakers history. He took their franchise to another level after Magic Johnson retired. They wouldn’t have won 5 championships in the 2000’s decade without him. As far as where he ranks in NBA history, he’s number 2 behind Michael Jordan.

But regardless of where he ranks in NBA history, he has always been and will continue to be my favorite professional sports athlete. His work ethic is second to none and I do believe that Kobe will be a hall of famer in the next 5 years. In addition, he should also be remembered for giving back to charities and organizations that needed help. He shouldn’t be remembered for talking negatively about his teammates. He should be remembered for setting the standard for what it takes to become a great professional athlete.