Kobe Bryant Greatest of the Decade?

"I'm better than you"During the TNT 2010 All-Star Game telecast, Ernie Johnson revealed the Player of the Decade as voted on by fans at NBA.com. The runaway winner was Kobe Bryant, with 54% of the vote, followed by LeBron James at 17%. Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal — the two most deserving of consideration, in my humble opinion — only garnered 8% and 13% respectively.

Here is where I have to step in, agree with Charles Barkley and the rest of the knowledgeable TNT crew and say, “what are you thinking, people?!?”

Results from votes like this really show that the general public should not be given a say in anything important. Things like…hmmm…who should run a country. Oh hang on, they already do! But seriously, just like the shambles of an All-Star vote that sees Tracy McGrady almost get in and Allen Iverson actually get voted in as a starter, the public continues to show how little they know about NBA basketball. And how short their memories are.

If we were to conduct a poll of the Top Player of the Past Five Years, sure, Bryant gets the vote, hands down (with a nod to LeBron James). Of the decade, however? It’s Shaq and Duncan all the way, battling for the crown. Duncan has been consistently brilliant during this past decade, averaging approximately 21.0ppg, 11.5rpg and 2.7bpg without indiscretion, whilst leading his team to four titles (granted one of those did come in 1998-99).¬†And O’Neal, well let’s just say that if you look at his three titles in LA (don’t for a second think that they weren’t all about him) and then to follow that up with a ring in Miami… well, if he had his first five years of the decade now (take a look at the ridiculous numbers), we wouldn’t have so many short-memoried people.

Don’t dismiss this as some Kobe Bryant haterade. I actually count myself as someone who regards Bryant as the greatest player in the game right now — a title I struggled to bestow upon him for a long time. He has clearly matured from his earlier, “me-first” days and is a strong team leader, smooth spokesman and undeniable force on both ends of the court. He just has not been the greatest player of the past decade, when all things are considered. He is not even second best.

Here is the TNT broadcast, including what the crew had to say:

And LeBron? Let’s just say he shouldn’t have even been on the ballot. What do you think? Do you too think that the NBA.com voting population also must consist solely of 14 year-olds with no memory of the early ’90s? Or do you think Kobe is clearly a 4-5 times more deserving Player of the Decade than Duncan or O’Neal?

6 thoughts on “Kobe Bryant Greatest of the Decade?

  1. Without a doubt Kobe Bryant is the player of the decade. The 80′s it was Magic, Jordan in the 90′s, and Kobe in 2000′s.

    He played in 6 championships and won 4. Name another player with those accolades. Shaq and Duncan have been declining for the last two to three years. It’s not another player in the NBA that has a complete game without a weakness.

    Shaq can’t play defense, is a liability on the pick and roll, and can’t shoot free throws. Duncan although fundamentally sound can’t dominate a game like Kobe.

  2. Kobe played in 6 Finals and won 4. Shaq played in 5 of those 4 of those Finals with Kobe and got the Finals' MVP each time they won. Those Lakers were Shaq's team. There's no arguing against that. People seem to forget that when Kobe finally became The Man in L.A. that they kept getting knocked out in the first round. 81 points, and all those 50 point games, and a first round elimination. He only got to the Finals when Gasol arrived. Kobe won 4 out of 6. Shaq won 4 out of 5. Duncan won each Finals he was in. Shaq has a better winning percentage than Kobe. And Duncan has a better percentage than both in the Finals. Kobe started to pick up later in the decade. And got equalled (surpassed maybe) by LeBron James who is clearly the best player right now. So you can say Kobe clearly dominated maybe 3 to 4 years out of the 10. That's not player of the decade to me. That award goes to the robot in San Antonio.

  3. And that is all true, if you’re talking about the last couple of years. Instead, suppose you reversed the decade and look at the first few years of the decade as if they were now. Do you remember the opinion of Kobe Bryant that most knowledgeable basketball fans had? He was selfish, a poor team player and was NOT the star of the titles he won — make no mistake, Shaq was the star of those teams.

    On the other hand, Shaq was remarkably dominant at the start of the decade and Duncan has been all along. I’d argue that Duncan has hardly regressed at all — still no one has found a way to stop him, even now.

  4. the real player of the decade goes to tim duncan no question about it,
    kobe-when shaq departed
    garnet-2004 the best season for garnet but he is one of the top player in the decade
    steve nash-2005-2006
    this is my oppinion list!!

  5. it's funny, mookie + 50% of laker fans couldn't figure out what the difference was between kobe and t-mac, so it was easy to mock him. now he's the only athlete in any sport to go from the top to the bottom BACK to the top, and that my friends is greatness of whole other brand.

    5 of 7. it's kobe's.

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