Lakers Win, Kobe Bryant Gets 5th Ring: What Does it Mean?

| by Dwight Jaynes

I will always fight the concept that you can judge a player’s ability by how many championships he’s won.

The absurdity was obvious Thursday night. Yes, Kobe Bryant won another ring. He was MVP of the series, too. But am I the only one who noticed he went 6 for 24 from the floor last night? Certainly ABC didn’t want to deliver that news, as it came very sparingly throughout the game. Guy was horrible. Shot selection was terrible and his shot making was even worse.

If the Lakers had lost, he’d have been the goat. But they won — and somehow he gets the credit for it. Fact is, the other guys — Derek Fisher, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol — stepped up and carried Bryant. No disgrace in that at all. It happens… but again, it merely points out that you need teammates to win.

And all the great players who toiled in the NBA for years without talent around them pay a heavy price for that. I mean, seriously — Oscar Robertson may be the best guard I’ve ever seen, but he didn’t win a title until he found Kareem Abdul-Jabbar late in his career.

After all these years people — even some of them outside of Boston — think Bill Russell was better than Wilt Chamberlain simply because of all the titles Russell won. Nothing against Bill, but if you ever watched the two men play there would be no doubt in your mind which was the more talented player.

Russell was blessed to play for a team that had cornered the market on talent in the NBA, while having the best coach and front office in the league.

I’m not a Kobe hater. I think he’s the best player in basketball and probably just about as talented as the player — Michael Jordan — he has copied, in almost everything from his walk to his step-back jumper.

But I guess I would tend to judge how good he is by his actual performance — in big games like a Game 7 in the NBA Finals — rather than the contributions of his teammates, which won him that last ring.

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