Draymond Green offers compelling points on why Kobe Bryant isn’t in GOAT convo

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green believes that Kobe Bryant should be in the conversation for the greatest player of all time, but he also had interesting thoughts on why the Los Angeles Lakers legend isn’t in that conversation for some.

Green shared his thoughts with one of Bryant’s former teammates, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, on O’Neal’s podcast.

“For sure, 100 percent,” Green said when asked if Bryant should be in the conversation for the greatest player of all time.

O’Neal then asked Green to explain why he thinks that Bryant isn’t in the conversation all the time.

“Here’s why I think he’s not,” Green said. “Number one, he played with you, and people hold that against him. Number two, Kobe kind of fell in a weird time. And what I mean by that is Mike (Michael Jordan) left the league. When Mike left the league, y’all were dominating. And then, when you left the Lakers, they had a few rough years – wasn’t great. They didn’t have great rosters. It wasn’t great.

“While it wasn’t going great, there was a young guy in Cleveland starting to make his hay. And so in the years where Kob could have been dominating, which he was from a numbers standpoint, but they weren’t winning nothing. In those years, Bron (LeBron James) was making his hay and starting to make his name and, ‘Is he the best player?’

“And I think the amount of time that it was a consensus that Kobe was the No. 1 in the league – the top guy – I don’t think it was long enough for everybody to say to put him in that conversation because Bron then came and put his name in the conversation. And so from that point on, it’s tug of war – Christmas Day games between those two guys. And so, I don’t think he accumulated enough people in saying that he dominated the way Mike dominated in the length of time that Mike dominated.

“Bron, the length of time that he’s dominated, I don’t think Kobe dominated himself for that length of time.

“I think he’s definitely in the conversation, but I do think that’s the reason why most people don’t put him there.”

Green offers a solid point, as the Lakers missed the playoffs in the first season after O’Neal left the franchise and joined the Miami Heat. It took two first-round exits after that before the Lakers reached another NBA Finals while Bryant was on the roster.

While it was just a three-season hiatus from the Finals, that time saw the rise of James, who was drafted in the 2003 NBA Draft and made the NBA Finals in the 2006-07 season against the San Antonio Spurs.

Still, Bryant’s resume is one of the best in NBA history. Over his storied NBA career, Bryant was named to 18 All-Star teams and won two scoring titles.

He is a five-time champion – winning three of those with O’Neal and two without him – and a two-time NBA Finals MVP. The Hall of Famer averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc.

He also will forever be one of the most important figures in Lakers history and now has a statue outside of Crypto.com Arena in his honor.

Bryant proved later in his career that he could win without O’Neal, winning back-to-back titles alongside Pau Gasol to cement his legacy as one of the greatest winners in NBA history.

There are only 13 players in NBA history with more titles than Bryant, and many of them were a part of the legendary Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls dynasties that won several titles over a short period.

Even if Bryant doesn’t ever receive as much love in the greatest of all-time conversation as some believe he deserves, he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Lakers to ever play.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.