Kobe Bryant passed Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer on Monday night against the Grizzlies in Memphis. Bryant now has 25,208 points in his 14 year career. We’ve watched all of Kobe’s career as well as that of Magic Johnson and we were witness to the sustained excellence of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 2nd half of his career that he spent as a Laker. We were too young, though, to see the play of the balance of the Forum Blue and Gold pantheon, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.
Our Dad’s move out here to the West Coast coincided with the Lakers’ move out to L.A. in the early sixties and as a Laker fan (or was he just a Chick Hearn fan, first?) “Pops” is eminently qualified to comment upon Kobe’s place within the pantheon. Here’s what he wrote us in an email:
I am not much on picking all-time teams because the game has improved some much over the years. The four you mentioned were phenomenal but I watch Kobe and think "this guy is not of this earth, he's an alien in disguise." His ability to sling one up out of his jock strap, as we used to say, with the clock running down is phenomenal but the most incredible thing about him is the way he goes thru, around, under, whatever, a double team and makes it look like a walk in the park. I run the tape back, watch it again and still can't figure out how he did it. It was great defense (they were playing on him). So, I guess I am saying that Kobe is the greatest but Fisher is still my favorite Laker.
“I run the tape back…” Hey, you don’t mess with old dudes and their VCRs, capiche?
We leave you with a crappy video (because we care) of some of Kobe’s end of the game buzzer beaters that when all is said and done will comprise just some of his portfolio that will back his claim to being the greatest clutch end-of-the-game shooter in NBA history.
Fear the leg kick