Kobe Bryant, A.K.A Vino and the Black Mamba was definitely the most iconic player to ever lace them up in purple and gold (sorry, Magic Johnson) and he became an ambassador of the game both on and off the court to make millions of fans fall in love with the game.
Love it or hate it, you just can’t disrespect the Mamba, and even if you try to do so, he just won’t care, flashing his 5 rings and a plethora of personal accomplishments that nobody can ever take away from him.
Of course, over the course of his career he made a lot of enemies and detractors even among his teammates, as his determination to win made him a very difficult guy to deal with, regardless of if you were also an All-Star with a huge paycheck.
Nonetheless, and even considering how successful this guy was, perhaps he could’ve been even bigger had he played alongside other guys, and today we’ll let you know about the top 10 players that would’ve thrived besides him.
10. Russell Westbrook
Could you just imagine this backcourt? They would just be offensively unstoppable, although they might be some defensive struggles from time to time. Still, considering how athletic and explosive Brodie is, no defense could contain both guys on any given night, and you know you just can’t leave the Mamba open or you’re going to pay for it every single time.
9. Reggie Miller
Kobe thrived the most when driving towards the baseline or attacking the rim, using his hops and his ability to either finish through contact or create space with his turnarounds and fadeaways. So, that allowed defenses to focus on him and try and help on the post, but with a three point scorer like Reggie beyond the arc, they would have to choose who to guard and that would most likely leave Miller wide open to shoot the three ball.
8. Ray Allen
Just like Miller, Allen would be unstoppable playing off the ball with Kobe on the team as a primary ball handler, killing everybody from distance or allowing Kobe to attack the rim with almost no opposition whatsoever, creating a very dynamic one two punch that would make opposing defenses crazy on a nightly basis.
7. Carmelo Anthony
Most people would hate this, as this two guys thrived in isolation and are considered to be ball stoppers, so offenses would be kind of static with both Melo and Bryant on the court at the same time. Still, considering the fact that Melo is perhaps one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game, no defense in the Association could handle both of them in their primes.
6. Hakeem Olajuwon
Bryant proved to be amazing in pick and roll situations and had a lot of chemistry with both of the best centers he played with, Shaq and Pau Gasol. So, just imagine pairing him with the most talented center in the history of basketball and you got yourself a dreamlike team, with defenses focusing on Hakeem to leave Bryant wide open to either attack the lane or score from distance.
5. Dwyane Wade
Wade’s considered to be the best shooting guard of this era just behind (what a surprise) Kobe Bryant. During his prime, there was simply no stopping Wade on the open court while driving to the basket, and pairing him with the actual best shooting guard of our time would be incredibly just a thrill to the fans of this game.
4. Allen Iverson
With Iverson running the team’s offense and Kobe Bryant on his prime, they would perhaps be the most athletic and dominant backcourt in the history of this game, while Iverson would’ve definitely won his desired ring. With their ability to posterize opponents and their clutchness, they would definitely be an unstoppable duo in purple and gold.
3. Tim Duncan
Duncan was also a defensive specialist like Hakeem, and his offensive game was way more versatile and developed than most people think. So, with Kobe running the offense and Duncan there to clear the paint and protect the rim, you’d be just a three point shooter away from having perhaps the most balanced squad in the Association.
2. LeBron James
If the 2000s were Kobe’s era, the 2010’s have definitely been King James time, and there would be absolutely nobody that could’ve stopped the Lakers if LeBron would’ve landed there as they speculated that many times. With LeBron running the offense and Kobe playing off the ball, and James also making up from some of Kobe’s defensive lapsus, they would’ve won another threepeat. They would’ve also hated each other, though.
1. Michael Jordan
I just can’t imagine how incredibly exciting this would’ve been. Of course, there’s also the possibility of this becoming mayhem, considering how much of a competitive freak both of this guys are. So, either they would self destroy while trying to score more points than the other, or they would’ve completely crashed every opposition. Who knows? Maybe even both... just imagine Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan...