Bobby Martinez – Sports Writer
NEW HAVEN — Number 25 was the rank ESPN gave to Kobe Bryant. Yeah, the same Bryant that won five titles, 15 all-star appearances four in which he was named MVP, two time finals MVP and one time league MVP.
While he still is rehabbing his Achilles he tore last season, Bryant is said to be ahead of schedule according to team doctors and Bryant himself. Chris Bosh, Joakim Noah, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker to name a few ahead of Bryant.
But the one that really caught my attention was Dwayne Wade being ranked higher than Bryant. Don’t get me wrong, Wade when healthy is a top 10 player in the game. But his jump shot is awful and his legs aren’t the same anymore as far as exploding to the cup for a point.
Paul George has risen to NBA stardom which resulted into him signed a massive extension with the Pacers this offseason which is key for them to beat the Heat. My issue with this ESPN ranking is the fact that many people are writing Vino, the Mamba off like he isn’t the best to ever do it.
Yeah I said it, the BEST to ever play the game of basketball. Many of you will say Michael Jordan was the best and he has stats to prove so. But a lot of you guys who are reading this article I can mostly guarantee have not watched every Jordan game and Bryant game to compare.
Well unless if you’re in your late twenties and up then yes I can sit down with you and hear your debate. But to be honest, Lebron and Kobe are the greatest in my time and the comparisons between the two I can do. But let’s get back to these crazy rankings.
Kevin Love to me has the right to be in the top 10 hands down. What he does night in and night out is everything plus more you want from you big man. He can stretch defenses with his perimeter jump shot, he’s a bully down low with the boards on offense and defense. Unfortunately he plays for a Minnesota team that fell off since Garnett left to win a ring in Boston.
But then again these rankings are based off of the top players to the worst players as of today. But I still am going on the record and saying Bryant is top 10. Obviously King James is number one in the league. And as an NBA diehard fan, James over the years has gained my respect as much as I did dislike him. He has proven he is a winner despite leaving to a much better team but I don’t blame him one bit. Durant will be number two because he is really difficult to go against on defense. He has a seven four wingspan and has a jump shot that can shut the light out at a gym.
For a player that is skinny, Durant takes the task to guard the opposing team’s best player no matter the size and to me that’s what champions do. Even though he never won a ring, he has reached the finals and balled out.
My third ranking will be Paul George. George has blossomed so fast in such little time and to me he has gained my respect and support. Indiana as a team has grown to a championship caliber team and this year expect them to be even better. The addition of Luis Scola is going to be HUGE. Also, Danny Granger is back and healthy and that will be the scoring support George needs.
Number four is James Harden. Harden has showed everyone he deserved his own team instead of playing behind Durant’s shadow. Harden slicing and dicing offense is really unguardable. His mindset, which is “Operating Kill Everything” has placed him in the discussion for top players in the game and had earned him the number four spot in my ranking.
Taking over the final spot in my top five rankings is nonetheless, Kobe Bryant. Numbers don’t lie, rings don’t lie and also his production over the past years, show why he is still the best. In the final minutes with the game on the line, the Mamba strikes.
Famous quote Bryant has said about the way he attacks offense is simple, I will always win no matter who it is in front of me.
“If you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear,” said Bryant.