Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time. In his 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe won five championships. However, the 18 Time All-Star has one glaring spot on his resume which people love bringing up. Kobe Bryant has won the NBA Most Valuable Award only once!
I can point out at least four seasons where Kobe was basically robbed from winning the MVP award but there is one season which just stands out to me. In 2006, Steve Nash was declared as the MVP of the League. Let's compare some stats from that season.
Steve Nash - 18.6 Points Per Game, 3.5 Rebounds Per Game, 10.5 Assists Per Game.
Kobe Bryant - 35.4 Points Per Game, 5 Rebounds Per Game, 4.5 Assists Per Game.
As the numbers clearly suggest, Kobe was robbed (yet again!) from winning the MVP after putting up those ridiculous numbers! The fact that Nash beat Kobe for the award in 2006 is an absolute joke.
What's worse? Some people argue that Nash did deserve the award by saying -
Nash was more efficient. He carried the Suns without Amar'e Stoudemire . He won more games that year! Nash's Pheonix Suns finished 2nd in the Western Conference while Kobe's Lakers finished 7th. There's no way you can be the MVP if your team finished 7th. The Suns beat the Lakers in the 1st Round of the Playoffs!
This argument makes no sense as Russell Westbrook won the MVP Award in 2017 even though his Oklahoma City Thunder finished 6th in the Western Conference. James Harden who had an outstanding season was voted second in the MVP Award.
Harden's Houston Rockets finished 3rd in the same conference and also beat the Thunder in the 1st Round of the Playoffs and yet Westbrook brought home the prestigious award after having a historic season where he averaged a Triple-Double.
The NBA gave the MVP award to the player with the worse win-loss record that season simply because his individual performance was far better. Experts and media also believed that Westbrook deserved winning MVP that season. In the same context, why are we using the win-loss argument against Kobe Bryant? He clearly had a better season with a worse team compared to Nash's Phoenix Suns.
Speaking of playing without help, I agree Nash was the best player on the 2006 Phoenix Suns team and carried them to the 2nd spot in the Conference. But he had help from Shawn Marion (one of the most versatile Small Forwards of All-time), Raja Bell (known for his 3 point shooting and on the ball defense), Leandro Barbosa (averaged 13.5 points per game coming off the bench)
Let's look at Kobe's teammates that season. His point guard was Smush Parker and his Centers was Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm (I don't blame you if you haven't heard these names before). Long story short, Kobe had little to no help that season with Lamar Odom being the only legit NBA level player on the Lakers roster.
That Lakers team had no business qualifying for the Playoffs that season but Kobe put the team on his back and put on some unreal numbers to make it to the Playoffs. Talk about bringing value to the team, Kobe did exactly that. While Kobe was averaging 36 points a night and doing the bulk of the scoring he also averaged an impressive 5 boards and 5 dimes.
Here are a few other things Kobe did in the 2006-07 season:-
- Dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors (During the same season, teams failed to score at least 81 points 206 times.)
- Kobe became one of five players (joining Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob McAdoo, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to score at least 2,800 points in a single season)
- Averaged 43.4 points in January 2006, Bryant record the highest-scoring month since Wilt Chamberlain’s 45.8-point mark in March 1963)
- Scored 50+ 6 times.
- Scored 40+ 27 times.
- Scored 40+ in 4 straight games (3 times)
- Scored 62 points in 3 quarters to outscore the entire Dallas Mavericks Team.
Even after having one of the greatest ever individual season in NBA history, Kobe was robbed from winning the MVP. Nash had a fantastic season too but Kobe's numbers are just too good to be ignored and Kobe should've won the award instead of his future teammate.
Steve Nash winning the NBA MVP Award over Kobe Bryant in 2006 has to be one of the worst MVP snubs in NBA history and the myth that Nash actually deserved the award has now been busted.