Since the NBA’s inception in the 1960s, we’ve been treated to many great games by brilliant athletes who dedicated a portion of their lives to excel in the sport. One such beaming example is the late Kobe Bryant, who is inarguably one of the best ever. Picking an All-Time NBA starting five is always a tedious task. Kobe was placed with one such assignment back in 2009.
We are now in 2020, and the Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA champions. Rollback eleven years down the lane, and you’d still find the Lakers as the reigning champs! Led by Kobe, the purple and gold made light work of the Orlando Magic when they met in the 2009 NBA Finals.
After bringing home his fourth career ring, a jubilant Kobe Bryant was interviewed at Disneyland after the championship parade. ESPN’s Neil Everett saw down with the Mamba amid a scenic backdrop, and an ecstatic Kobe Bryant was given the hard task of choosing an All-Time starting five.
Of course, it was a personal choice and Kobe had the liberty to pick anyone he wanted. As hungry as he was for championship glory, Bryant was modest enough to leave him out of the list. He confidently picked the greats who earned a name before him.
When Everett placed the challenge upon the Lakers legend, his initial reaction was “Woah,” and rightfully so. Picking just five players where there are hundreds of options to choose from is always time-consuming. But Kobe, unsurprisingly, rose to the occasion.
Well, the first two picks were obvious, and it flew right out of Kobe’s mouth. “Magic at point, MJ at the two,” he uttered. It is no secret that Bryant adored Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. In fact, he considered them to be his idols when growing up.
Soon came Larry Bird and Bill Russell to occupy the #3 and #4 slots in the starting five. These two picks, once again, undeniable. Bird and Russell have contributed immensely to the association, let alone their Celtics’ fame.
Choosing a dominant center proved to be a demanding task, and the Mamba flinched his face and stated that it was incredibly “tough.” The options that exist in that role are mind-boggling, and it is indeed a difficult task to pick just one player from the list.
After a neck and neck battle between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant chose the latter to represent his All-Time starting five.
It is surprising that he left out his greatest teammate Shaquille O’Neal off the list, but as mentioned above, the Mamba went ahead with picking players from the previous eras.
But here’s where Kobe earned more reverence. When asked if he would be the sixth man in this All-Time team, he said: “I’m no way near that stuff, man.” He explained how the list goes on and on even without him.
Even though Kobe had four rings at that point, a number which not many have achieved, he was humble. That is exactly why people loved him and will continue to do so, eternally.