Fantastic post. Thank you. I've argued for over a decade that Paul Pierce was every bit as good as Kobe. If you replaced Kobe with Pierce on those Lakers teams with Shaq, they still win those titles. Hell, Pierce clearly outplayed Kobe in the two NBA Finals where they went head-to-head. Kobe was a volume scorer who played hero ball and fired up ill-advised shots at the worst possible time. Pass.Couldn't agree more.
I don't know if many players in sports history have as warped a perception about them as Kobe. Maybe Elway.
By stats: He's not top 10 in any stat. He's 27th in PER, 29th in BPM, 60th in win shares per 48, 19th in total win shares.
By MVP: he won 1 MVP. a 2nd place finish, and three 3rd place finishes. He's 10th in MVP shares, above guys who are undoubtedly better than him like Wilt. He's probably getting passed by Durant and Harden before they retire.
He's 12th in VORP, again above guys who are undoubtedly better than him but had shorter careers, like Bird and Magic.
He has no black ink instead of field goal attempts and points, and every year he led in points he also led in attempts.Except 03, where Iverson attempted 16 more shots.
For me the argument that Kobe is a top 10 player has absolutely no basis in reality and is kind of absurd. There are guys you can reasonably argue here, like Oscar, Garnett, Shaq, Dream, Robinson, etc. Kobe does not have a reasonable argument (especially over Shaq -- literally fucking no one that watched those Lakers teams would think Kobe was the more integral player).
As The Last Dance gets into, Kobe was like Jordan. But he was discount Jordan, and discount Jordan isn't above guys that actually won MVPs and led the league in shit.