Kobe Bryant: Jerry West is the greatest Laker


Jwest_player.jpgIf you put it to a vote of the fans, Magic Johnson would probably win with Kobe Bryant a close second. Then again, maybe Chick Hearn deservedly wins it all.

But among the candidates there seems to be a mutual admiration society. Jerry West said Kobe Bryant was the best Laker ever. Saturday, Kobe returned the compliment (as reported by Kevin Ding in the Orange County Register):

“It’s Jerry West, because of everything that he’s done, as a player and then as a general manager,” Bryant said Saturday. “He’s responsible for managing here, he’s responsible for Shaq (O’Neal), he’s responsible for myself. He put the whole picture together and everything that he’s done. To me, he’s the greatest.”

When it was pointed out by a reporter that Magic Johnson beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals and West did not, Bryant’s reaction spoke to his disagreement with the notion that Bryant needs to beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals to establish his legacy.

“What is everybody’s fascination with the Celtics in terms of going down in history? It’s a little weird to me,” Bryant said. “I think Jerry’s body of work and the championships that he’s been responsible for (matter). Just my opinion. You can have your own opinion, it doesn’t really matter to me. In my opinion, I think Jerry West is.”

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.