Jason Richardson says Kobe Bryant is the 2nd greatest player of all time

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

Back in the day, Jason Richardson was a very good swingman for a number of teams, including the Phoenix Suns.

When they went up against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Finals, he came to the realization that, in his mind, Kobe Bryant was the second-greatest player in NBA history.

“It was a great matchup, they had Kobe and Pau Gasol, they were championship experienced and we weren’t,” said Richardson.

“They had one of the greatest players to ever play the game in Kobe Bryant and it was just a battle.

“That’s when I realized Kobe was the second-best player in the world ever in my opinion.

“In game six he went to a whole new level and we couldn’t do anything with him.”

That series was fairly competitive, as it pitted the defending NBA champion Lakers against a freewheeling Suns team that had knocked them out of the first round of the playoffs in 2006 and 2007.

In 2010, the Lakers won the first two games of the matchup as Bryant was playing at his usual otherworldly level, but Phoenix was able to tie the series with solid performances at home in Game 3 and Game 4.

Los Angeles took Game 5 back at home on a game-winner from Ron Artest, setting up a potential clincher back in Arizona in Game 6. The Suns challenged late, but Bryant made contested shot after contested shot to put them away for the summer.

In all, the late Lakers legend had 37 points to send his team to the NBA Finals, where it outlasted the Boston Celtics in seven games to win it all for the second straight year.

Bryant’s accomplishments speak for themselves, as it is why just about everyone considers him one of the 10 greatest players in the history of basketball and arguably the greatest player in the storied history of the Lakers, even if fans and historians cannot agree on his exact place in the pantheon of the team or the league itself.

He and eight other people were tragically killed in January of 2020 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., which is less than an hour away from downtown Los Angeles. The Lakers used his memory as motivation for the rest of the season, and it resulted in their 17th Larry O’Brien Trophy in October inside of the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.