Reason #3: Defense
9 time All Defensive 1st team
3 time All Defensive 2nd team
1828 Steals – Lakers All-Time Steals Leader
These are the accolades that Kobe Bryant holds for his defensive ability and efforts in his career. This is a remarkable accomplishment considering that Kobe is one of the greatest scorers this game has ever seen, yet he has still found energy and determination to be a great defender.
At 6 foot 9 and playing the point guard position that typically has much smaller quicker guards, Magic Johnson was known as a below average defender. While Magic had the smarts, he didn’t have the lateral foot speed or athleticism to be the great defender that Kobe was during his career.
Kareem was known as an elite defender when he was young, but there was a good portion of Kareem’s career with the Lakers that were spent his slower, geriatric years where he was mainly a defensive liability.
Jerry West was the defensive marvel of his time, unfortunately for his time the NBA didn’t have give out the accolades that are handed out in present day NBA. In West time they didn’t even keep track of steals. Once they began recognizing the other half of the game, West was acknowledged. In the first year of the All Defensive team, West was named to the 2nd team. In total, West was named to All Defensive 1st team 4 times and 2nd team once.
Taking everything into account, Magic, Kareem and West can not compare to the defensive accolades that Kobe has accomplished and defensive ability that he displayed in his career.