Without a doubt Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of professional basketball. A premier scorer and five-time NBA Champion, Bryant has a few people who have played a key role in his perceived success. Here are four thank you cards Kobe Bryant should send out.
Shaquille O’Neal – Dear Shaq, Thanks for the five rings.
Shaq and Kobe (in that order) were one of the most explosive tandems in NBA history. If Shaq was Batman then Kobe was definitely his trusty sidekick “Boy Wonder” or Robin. Without the big fella Kobe may have zero rings. O’Neal carried the Lakers to back-to-back-to-back championships from 2000-02. It was the Lakers trade of O’Neal that brought Lamar Odom to L.A. Odom was a key figure in the Lakers and Bryant’s two championships after the departure of O’Neal.
Magic Johnson – Dear Magic, Thanks for retiring early.
Who knows how NBA History may have been rewritten if Magic wasn’t forced into retirement in 1991 after 13 NBA seasons. The greatest point guard the NBA has ever seen, Magic led the Lakers to nine NBA final appearances winning five of them. The only reason that Kobe is even in the same breath as Magic is because they have the same number of rings. If Magic had been able to continue his career he may have gotten one or two more making the Kobe comparisons null and void.
LeBron James – Dear LeBron, Thanks for quitting on the Cavs…twice
Yep, Kobe even owes LeBron a thank you. LeBron mailed it in against the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics in back-to-back seasons in the playoffs. That gave the Lakers favorable Finals matchups against the inexperienced Magic and the aging Celtics. No one in their right mind thinks that Kobe and the Lakers would have beaten those Cleveland Cavalier teams. But, we’ll never know.
Jerry West – Dear Jerry, Thanks for doing whatever it took to bring to L.A.
Believe it or not the Hornets didn’t draft Kobe and trade him. He was drafted by the Hornets for the Lakers. The two teams had agreed to the trade prior to draft day. It wasn’t until five minutes before the Hornets selection at No. 13 that the Lakers told them who to draft. Then Lakers General Manager Jerry West gave the word to the Hornets to draft the 17-year-old Bryant. West had already worked out Bryant in Los Angeles and was very impressed. The Hornets never had any intentions of taking him for themselves. A Hall of Fame Center and Head Coach later, Kobe Bryant has become on of the best of all-time.
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