Statistics and milestones don't always reflect the greatness of a player, but the 30,000 point club in basketball is a rare exception. Before last night only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlin, Karl Malone, and Michael Jordan had accomplished that feat. Now Kobe Bryant has joined this illustrious club and can stake his claim as one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. So why doesn't he get the respect he deserves?
Once again it's all about Michael Jordan. In the minds of most NBA fans Jordan is the greatest player ever and no one compares to him. Let's be honest though. Kobe Bryant is every bit of Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan has 6 rings, but Kobe has played for the championship 7 times (winning 5) and he still has a legitimate chance to win another. Is one ring really the end all be all? Jordan's got an Olympic gold medal with the Dream Team, but Kobe has 2. Mike has 4 more MVP titles than Kobe, but David Stern had a love affair with Mike and wouldn't let anyone vote against his golden goose.
Unlike Kendall Gill, Harold Miner, and Tracy McGrady Kobe Bryant has never wilted under the pressure to be the next Jordan. In fact, he's embraced the challenge with confidence and enthusiasm. It's what drives him to dominate on a nightly basis. There's no other player that plays with the passion, focus, and intensity of Kobe Bryant.