The idea that Kobe Bryant is an NBA person of interest is hardly novel or revolutionary. But how about the idea that he’s become of such interest that he’s doomed to be the subject of debate from now until the end of time? In a way, Bryant could become the victim of his own overexposure, and his desire to be a definitive great may very well be the thing that obscures any definition in his legacy:
This isn’t in any way an indictment of Bryant’s game, other than to say that his advocates and critics are so distant in their opinions of all things Kobe that there can be no consensus. Supposing that’s somehow an indictment. Kobe is an incredibly driven player who has always wanted nothing more than to be conclusively better than Jordan…and it’s Bryant’s curse that he’ll forever walk through life in a position of uncertainty. We can debate all day and night about Kobe’s relative place in history, but at the end of the day, we’ll still be miles away from any kind of resolution. That’s not because he’s borderline in any regard or even because his career is the farthest thing from over. It’s just because he’s Kobe. We care too much about the way he’s evaluated and perceived to let anything rest, and any conclusions that are drawn about Kobe’s legacy will be predicated on an endless string of praise and backlash against that praise, both from others and from within ourselves. I don’t think it’s impossible that even in Bryant’s 14th year in the league, we’re still not entirely sure what to make of him.
Read my full piece on Kobe Bryant, present and future, at Hardwood Paroxysm.
The Los Angeles Lakers visit the Dallas Mavericks:
ESPN (or online at ESPN 360)