Each year when the NBA’s freshly drafted rookies gather for the offseason photo-shoot during the summer, NBA.com surveys the group to get their thoughts on the league’s current players, as well as predictions for the future of this year’s incoming class.
While several topics were covered, one of the more interesting questions posed to the 36 rookies who were surveyed asked who was their favorite player in the league.
The winner in this category was Kobe Bryant.
1: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers — 21.2 percent
2: LeBron James, Miami — 15.2 percent
T-3rd: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City & Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas — 12.1 percent
T-5th: Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn & Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers — 9.1 percent
Others receiving votes: Carmelo Anthony, New York; Vince Carter, Dallas; Tim Duncan, San Antonio; James Harden, Houston; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio; Steve Nash, L.A. Lakers; Dwyane Wade, Miami
The outcome is interesting, for a variety of reasons.
Bryant is the game’s most polarizing player; fans either love him or hate him, and there is rarely any in-between. Additionally, Bryant is known for his competitive nature and his scoring ability above all else. Last year in particular, he was caught on more than one occasion not playing any type of defense whatsoever.
Still, Bryant is one of the game’s elite talents, even 17 years in. Despite LeBron James and Kevin Durant having more athleticism and pure skill at this point of their respective careers, it’s great to see the future of the game appreciate all that Bryant brings to the table.