Kobe Bryant: A Relic from Another Age

In 1996, Bill Clinton was president, Michael Jordan was fresh off his fourth championship with the Chicago Bulls, I was an infant, and Kobe Bryant was picked 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA draft. Twenty years later, Barack Obama is wrapping up his second term as president, Michael Jordan has been retired for twelve years, I am in college, and Kobe Bryant is playing his final season in the NBA.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html Kobe’s Career stats

Kobe has had a remarkable career, and his impact on the NBA is undeniable. He was the first guard drafted out of High school, won five NBA championships, made 15 straight all-star teams and played all 20 of his years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. But the NBA has been changing around Kobe. The Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, the New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn, the Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans, Charlotte was granted a new team called the Bobcats who then became the Hornets, and the New Orleans Hornets became the Pelicans.

The way the game is played has changed as well. Gone are players like Michael Jordan, and players like Steph Curry and LeBron James have taken over, the Bulls’ triangle offense has been replaced by the three point shooting of the Warriors (NBA.com). Many superstars have risen and fallen throughout Kobe’s career: Michael Jordan said farewell in 2003, Allen Iverson had his famous practice rant the year before, and the previous year lost to Bryant’s Lakers in the NBA finals. LeBron James burst onto the scene in 2003, and led the dynastic Miami Heat to back to back championships in 2012-13, and in 2009, Steph Curry came into the NBA, and marked a shift in the game, as his three point shooting began to take the league by storm and led to his Golden State Warriors to a victory in the 2015 NBA finals.

Kobe’s bread and butter has always been his mid-range shooting and there is little doubt he was one of the best at it in his day. Kobe’s finest hour might well have been the 2005-2006 season, where he averaged 35.4 points per game, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan as the only scoring champion to average at least 35 points a game. That however, was 10 years ago, now Kobe is 37 years old, past his prime, and more of a liability than an asset. Now, a new breed of superstars is rising, led by Stephen Curry and his absurd 3-point shooting percentagegoldsberry-kobebyrant-2 (1)goldsberry-warriors-3

Kobe in his prime (left) vs. Stephen Curry now (right)


Kobe Bryant has truly had an amazing career. His five titles are certainly impressive, but his most notable stat is the length of his career, nineteen seasons. He has inspired a generation of young NBA fans, and left a mark on the game which will never be forgotten.



charts courtesy five thirty eight sports

featured image courtesy bet.com

special thanks to Lucas Anholzer with his help in research

Cottrell, Kevin, Jr. “Warriors’ Hot Start Conjures up Possibilities of 70 Wins.”NBA.com. N.p., 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

Goldsberry, Kirk. “An Ode To Kobe Bryant, In Two Charts.” Five Thirty Eight Sports. N.p., 30 Nov. 2015. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

Morris, Benjamin. “Stephen Curry Is The Revolution.” Five Thirty Eight Sports. N.p., 3 Dec. 2015. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

Paine, Neil. “Once And For All: Michael Jordan Was Way Better Than Kobe Bryant.” Five Thirty Eight Sports. N.p., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.