With Kobe Bryant playing in his 17th season in the NBA, the five-time NBA champion is starting to come to grips with the fact that the end of his career is drawing near. Although Kobe may only have two more seasons left in him, the perennial All-Star and future Hall of Famer still playing a very high level that has left many to wondering if father time will ever catch up to him before he calls it quits.
In a recent interview with Chris Palmer of ESPN The Magazine, Kobe was asked about only winning one NBA MVP award during his career thus far. Kobe quickly responded with the following:
“Because I played with Shaq. It’s that simple. A lot of the time we cancelled each other out. I sacrificed a lot playing with him. I really did. I did it for the success of the team. If I never played with him, my numbers would have been ridiculous.”
Regardless of the sacrifices made while playing alongside Shaquille O’Neal for eight of his 17 seasons in the league, Kobe has three of the five championships won due to Shaq’s presence in Los Angeles during that time.
There’s no question that Kobe should’ve been given more consideration for the award throughout his career in the league with the distinction as the league’s best player before LeBron James became the consensus top player in the NBA, but Kobe’s accolades will still have him in the conversation for the best player to have ever played the game along with Michael Jordan.
Kobe was also asked by Palmer whether or not he believes he’s a top-five player all-time:
“I don’t know. I hope so. I’ve still got a little time left, but honestly I haven’t thought a whole bunch about legacy and that kind of stuff. I just feel like there will be plenty of time for that.”
At this point in his career, it’s hard to leave Kobe out of this category with everything he’s accomplished in almost two decades playing in the league.
With potentially two or more seasons left before officially calling it a career, Kobe may be able to pad his resume and cement his place among the all-time greats with another championship and possibly moving up a few more notches on the league’s all-time scoring list.
It remains uncertain what the future holds for Kobe and the Lakers, but there’s definitely time to improve upon an already spectacular career.