Kobe Bryant’s legacy as one of the game’s greatest players is secure, according to Lakers coach Mike Brown. Bryant passed Shaquille O’Neal and moved into fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Monday, sparking a flurry of questions about Bryant’s place in history. Brown said Bryant rises above many of the game’s newest crop of superstars because he’s played for five NBA championship teams with the Lakers.
Brown gave a nuanced answer when asked if Bryant had won a battle to be the best in his day, topping LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and others of the younger generation.
“When you look at championship rings, the guys who have multiple rings are the ones who should be mentioned when you’re talking about people’s legacies. They should be mentioned first because there are a lot of great players out there that I believe can put up great numbers and do great things, especially on a team when you don’t win, it’s a different type of pressure you go through.
“When you have five of them and have the possibility of getting more, or six or seven or eight, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ That right there separates you or puts you in a different category. If you’re talking about pure talent alone, yeah, there are other guys out there who have a high talent level. But are they to the level of Kobe’s? In different aspects of the game.
“You talk about who’s a more talented passer between LeBron and Kobe, well, LeBron is. Who’s a more talented mid-range scorer, well, Kobe is. Who’s a better attacker, Dwyane Wade is. So they all do different things different than each other, but at the end of the day, when it comes to combining talent and skill with the most important thing, which is winning, I don’t know how you don’t give him the edge.”