Kobe Bryant

While there have been some valid criticisms of Kobe Bryant one thing can never be argued is his intense desire to win.
While this is not exactly a surprise, a true end of an era will be happening.  37 year old Los Angeles Laker, Shooting Guard, Kobe Bryant has announced on the Player’s Tribune website that this will be his final season in the National Basketball Association.

Citing that his body “knows it’s time to say goodbye”, Bryant is entering the end of a two year contract, and it was not necessarily a given that the Lakers would like to resign him, though with the recent news, the official farewell tour can begin.

Bryant has nothing left to prove as he has won the MVP once, the NBA Championship five times, was named an All Star seventeen times, two Olympic Gold medals and at third overall in scoring, Bryant is having his worst statistical season and has obviously lost a step or two.  “The Black Mamba” has been plagued with injuries over the last few seasons and the mileage over the past twenty years, including the NBA Playoffs and International participation, the toll of the game has finally caught up.

Kobe will go down as a locked in first ballot Hall of Fame entry and will enter the Hall in 2022, barring any decision to go back on this decision.

Let’s enjoy the final ride for Kobe, and let’s hope it is a good one!

The Los Angeles Lakers have announced what many of us have long suspected they would do, they will be retiring the numbers 8 and 24 of Kobe Bryant this season. It is notable that he played ten seasons for Los Angeles in both numbers.

An All Star for 18 of his 20 seasons, Bryant retired ranked third all-time in Points and was named to 11 1st Team All-NBA rosters. More importantly, he is a five time NBA Champion.

Like Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers will retire his number before his eventual Hall of Fame induction.

Bryant becomes the 10th player in Lakers history to have his number retired. He joins Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).

We here at Notinhalloffame.com will definitely be watching when it occurs!
As we methodically put together our all-time Top 50 of every team from the big four of American sports, the next goal will be to look at how each franchise honors their past players. As such it is significant news to us that this evening the Los Angeles Lakers will be retiring both the #8 and #24 of Kobe Bryant, which will mark the first time in a major North American sport where two numbers were retired in honor of one player.

This is perfectly fitting, as Bryant’s performance wearing both numbers is more than good enough to warrant retirement.

In what is now considered a lopsided trade. The Charlotte Hornets traded their 1996 13th overall pick (Bryant) for Vlade Divac. Bryant took #8 and before long he was multi-time All Star and along with Shaquille O’Neal would be part of three NBA Titles. Following the split between Shaq & Kobe, Bryant looked for a fresh start in the 2006-07 season, and he adopted #24, the same number he wore in Prep.

The overall results were pretty much the same as Bryant would again go to many All Star Games and would again win the NBA Title twice, though as #24 he would also win the Scoring Title twice. Actually, the results were scarily similar. Bryant scored only 89 more Points as #8 and 10 less Assists and regardless of what number he wore, he was regarded as one of the best.

Out of respect, the Golden State Warriors stayed out for the ceremony.

We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to congratulate Kobe Bryant on this latest honor and we will see him soon as a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

28. Vlade Divac

Vlade Divac was one of the great International big men ever.  He was a vital member of the great Yugoslavian teams of the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Divac had guard like skills in the post and was probably the most well known European transfer to the NBA when the flood gates opened.  13,000 points and almost 10,000 rebounds in the NBA do not hurt either.  He would almost a shoe in to be elected someday as the Hall definitely puts a high standard on International contributors.  If Arvidas Sabonas can get in with all of his injuries then Divac should have no problem getting elected but we suspect they will make him wait awhile.

38. Byron Scott

Byron Scott is one of the most heralded shooters and finishers in league history. His run with the great Laker teams of the 80s proved he was a winner. Scott came from Arizona State as he 4th pick overall in the draft and was the perfect piece missing for Showtime. So the Lakers went out and got him. Trading Norm Nixon to the Clippers for Scott before he played a minute Scott was the perfect complement to Magic in the backcourt.

40. Robert Horry

If you look at the career statistics or even the season stats of Robert Horry, you would not think that he belongs on this list at all. However, the man known as “Big Shot Rob” won seven NBA Championships with three different teams, and was known for always performing in the clutch. It was not a misnomer, as constantly when the need was at its greatest, Horry was at his best.  Those seven championships were no accident and though his stats do not reflect it, this was a player, everybody wanted to have on their team.

50. Eddie Jones

A popular player and a stealing machine, Eddie Jones was a very good Shooting Guard who strung together solid seasons in the late 90’s for the Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets. Jones was just adept at steals, but was also a dangerous threat from behind the arc. He would three times be named to the Second Team Defensive squad along with three All Star Games. We are sure many who were fans of Eddie Jones are chanting “Eddie” in their mind right now.

51. Michael Cooper

Michael Cooper is one of the most popular players in Laker history.  Why?  He wasn’t that great of a scorer though he did develop a very solid three point shot as his career progressed and he could always finish a break.  His popularity was stemmed from doing whatever the team needed him to do to win.  This mainly meant playing shutdown defense on perimeter players.  Cooper may be the best defender ever to wear a Laker uniform.  A five time champion and five time All First Team Defensive NBA Selection, Cooper is one of the best sixth men ever; and man did he look good in yellow and purple!

57. A. C. Green

The Cal Ripken of basketball with 1192 consecutive games played, A.C. Green’s hopes of enshrinement rely on amazing consistency and ability to do whatever it takes for the good of the team.  A star out of college winning PAC-10 player of the year at Oregon State, Green came to the Lakers and immediately developed a role as the power forward who would bang down low, grab boards, and show up for work every day.  12,000 career points and almost 10,000 rebounds as well as the being the only player to play on both Magic and Shaq’s championship teams don’t hurt.  Oh and did we mention that he was never in competition for chicks with Magic?

71. Ron Harper

Ron Harper was a great basketball player who knew what it took to win.  The greatest player ever to come from the Miami of Ohio, Harper was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and was the perfect complimentary player on some sensational professional teams.  Unlike most complimentary players, Harper was once a superstar.  He averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds in his collegiate career and was second in Rookie of the Year voting.  Injuries cut back on his skill but Harper did not give in and became a huge part of the Bulls teams in the late 90’s.  He then followed Coach Phil Jackson to Los Angeles to the Lakers and won two more titles.  13,000 career NBA points tells you he could play and five rings tell you he was a winner.  What more do you need?

73. Norm Nixon

The unfortunate mid career trade for Byron Scott that took Norm Nixon from the Lakers to the Clippers may have extremely hurt his chances of getting in the Hall.  The Lakers did not need another point guard with Magic Johnson around though they did peacefully coexist through two titles together.  Nixon is number ten all time in assists per game even though he shared the ball with Magic for a few years. He was also a Laker for two of their title runs which we all tend to forget.  In his first full year in San Diego he led the league in assists and made his second All-Star game.  A solid rest of his career in the oblivion of the NBA does not highlight one of the quickest and best all around point guards of the 80's.

75. Rudy Larusso

Rudy Larusso came from Dartmouth and would become a standout in the NBA averaging seventeen points and ten rebounds a game in ten stellar seasons. A five time All-Star, Larusso was one of the best defensive power forwards of his generation.  Like many on this list, he is another forgotten great of the 1960’s.

101. Dick Barnett

Dick Barnett led tiny Tennessee State to three straight NAIA titles in the 50’s before becoming a star with the Lakers and the Knicks.  He was on both of the Knicks championship teams.  Barnett had 15,000 career points for “Fall Back Baby” as Chick Hearn dubbed him as he was as infamous for the way he shot his great jump shot (he actually kicked both of his legs out when shooting his jump shot). He was elected in the second College Hall of fame class in 2007, which will likely hurt his chances of getting in the real one.