Is The Kobe Bryant Era Over After a Torn Rotator Cuff Ends His Season?

If you are a Lakers fan, a Kobe Bryant fan, or just a fan of basketball, yesterday was a truly tragic day for you as it was announced that Kobe Bryant suffered a torn rotator cuff and that his career is likely going to be over, barring a change in plan or a rapid recovery. If this is the end of the Kobe Bryant Era, I think now is a good time to take a look back at all the highlights of Kobe Bryant’s Career. Follow us after the jump for more.

Kobe Bryant came into the league in the loaded 1996 NBA Draft as the 13th pick for the Charlotte Hornets. However, he was immediately traded to the Lakers for a few scrubs. Ever since then, he has built up his legacy as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He has an unbelievable will to win and has led his team to victory countless times when staring in the eyes of defeat. He is a five time NBA Champion, including two after Shaquille O’Neal left the team. His legacy is hotly debated by NBA analysts in terms of where he places among the all time greats. Should he be criticized because he was not the best player on his own team for three of his five Championships? 
I think, looking back on his career, he is easily a top ten player in the history of the NBA. With 32482 career points, 6122 assists, 6800 rebounds, and 1882 steals he is one of the most highly accomplished players ever. In terms of per game numbers, those equate to career averages of 25.38 points, 4.78 assists, 5.67 rebounds, and 1.57 steals per game. Those numbers put him up there in the conversation of bests of all time. However, it is his playoff statistics and performances that truly put him into the All Time Great category. 
In the five years where Kobe won titles, he averaged 27.3 points, 5.78 rebounds, 5.22 assists and 1.5 steals per game. However, it was his performance in the biggest moments that make him special. He is also a two time finals MVP, 16 time All Star, 2 time scoring champion, one time MVP, 11 time First Team All NBA, 9 time First Team All Defensive Team, and he is the Lakers all time leading scorer. He has also played great for his country, winning two Olympic Gold Medals. 
Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the greatest players of all time and if this is the last time we will ever see him, it is truly the end of a dominant era. His knack for taking over games late in the contests was simply extraordinary and I am not sure we will see  a player with his assassin mentality ever again in the NBA. While he is not on Jordan’s level, he is a top ten and possibly a top five player of all time. Take a moment to enjoy this career highlight video of Kobe one more time. 
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