5 Harsh Realities about Kobe Bryant
We are close to six weeks out from the time the Los Angeles Lakers honored Kobe Bryant with a jersey retirement ceremony at Staples Center. The end of this season will mark two years since the 2008 league MVP retired on April 13th, 2016. Despite that, he's been present and celebrated in different ways since his last game.
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In December of 2016, he was present on stage when the Lakers were honoring Shaquille O'Neal with his own statue outside the arena. A couple of months later, he was present at the press conference when the franchise was announcing Rob Pelinka, his former agent, as their General Manager. His jersey retirement (#8 and #24) has already been discussed. He was part of the team that designed the team's City Edition jerseys, which were released 10 days later.
He was often been touted as the "greatest Laker to ever play the game". He has been discussed in the Top 10 All-Time list but as great as Bryant is, there are a few very notable chinks in his armor.
Bryant has won five championships - three straight from 2000 to 2002 and back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 but he won all of them under the same head coach - Phil Jackson. Now, winning all of his titles with the same coach is not a shot against Bryant's greatness, even Tim Duncan did but the San Antonio Spurs' legend adjusted his playing style for the team's benefit everytime it was required. The same can't be said for the Black Mamba.
Maybe it was because of the success he tasted with The 'Triangle Offense' that made him reluctant to change to any other system. Having said that, Bryant was always a bucket getter and has rarely taken a step back on that front. He was always of the firm belief that it was better for the team if he took more shots rather than trusting somebody less worthy.
Since Shaq was traded from the team in 2004, Bryant played under three head coaches other from Jackson - Mike Brown (42-29), Mike D'Antoni (67-87) and Byron Scott (38-126). The team didn't do great under either of them, largely in part due to lack of roster talent, which frustrated Bryant even more, whenever he would play that is.
From 2013-16, out of a possible 246 games, Bryant only played in 107 (66 of which were in his final season).
He did bang heads with Jackson as well but it was easier for him to respect him, given the success Jackson had achieved as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990's.