Re: Kobe/Shaq & Rings
posted at 8/31/2010 1:17 AM EDT
I'm not sure how much motivation there is from Shaq to beat Bryant per see. He'd like to contribute to a championship team, I don't know if the Celtics were the only option available to him. If Bryant didn't want him back in L.A. then it's another pox on his house as far as I'm concerned. Although I don't know if they are still feuding?
They should have gotten over all that by now. But both 'men' suffer badly from the Peter Pan syndrome.
Shaq's arrival helped us sign Byrant, that's the first piece in the puzzle. Divac was traded for Bryants rights. Fortunately Bryant turned out to be a good player, and not a Gerald Green type. If not for Shaq being in L.A we may not have made the move for Bryant. So things would have been completely different in L.A. if not for Shaq. I'd say that even though he's not with us any longer, he is still partly responsible for Bryant being a Laker and therefore has a minor part in our last two championships.
I think the most valuable person during the last 5 titles is Phil Jackson, we didn't get past Utah before he arrived and it's was the implosion at Chicago that led him to join us. Two interesting points with that. We needed Jackson to get into the finals. And also in turn we needed Michael Jordan out of the league, before his bizare come-back with Washington, to rise to dominance. Utah had their window in 1997 and 1998. And even in our first season with Jackson we still couldn't get into the finals.
My personal loathing for Bryant will always cloud my opinion of him. And saying that Jackson is the key. It's cruel however to say that Bryant always needs help to win championships. But who hasn't? Nobody wins a NBA title on their own, this isn't tennis so it's not fair for people to say that Bryant needed help to win. Magic, Bird, Jordan etc all needed at least one good to great team mate to help them win titles. Very rarely does an indiviual on their own lift a team to the finals. One I can think of is Iverson. But this wasn't the case with Bryant with help from Shaq (Bryant in a support role)) and (Bryant leading) Gasol. For an individual do take their team to the finals, everything must fall their way.
I think Shaq's accomplishments, in 1995 shouldn't be over looked when rating both he and Bryant. Shaq took a very young team to the finals. The only team to come out of the East when Jordan was playing for the Bulls after they'd won their first three championships. I don't think Bryant has accomplished anything like that. I can't think of anything that compares to it. His team beat the BEST team of his generation to get to the finals. Yes they were thumped by the Rockets. But they still made it to the finals. Which was a massive achievement for Orlando. If only they'd won, that Orlando team would almost be up there with Kareem's championship Bucks side.
That achievement in 1995 gives Shaq the edge. He's also the reason the we won our 3 titles in a row, and a reason why Bryant is a Laker.
I look forward to seeing #34 retired at Staples in the very near future. Although given our history with honoring players this may well not happen.