Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the history of the NBA. Bryant was one of his generation's most proficient scorers and knew how to win on the biggest stage. Without Bryant's contributions to the game of basketball, the sport would be in a much worse place.
Shaquille O'Neal doesn't believe anyone can compare to Kobe Bryant
There may never be another player like Bryant in the NBA. He constantly found a way to lead his team to victory, no matter the opponent on the other end of the court. Of course, one guy who knows this better than most is Shaquille O'Neal.
When asked if he believes that anyone in the NBA today compares to Bryant, O'Neal quickly shot down the notion. O'Neal said he doesn't compare anyone to Michael Jordan and gives the same respect to Bryant in refusing to compare anyone to him based on how great he was throughout his career. O'Neal nonchalantly rattled off his top three players of all time in the process: Jordan, Bryant, and LeBron James.
"Similar to Kobe? No one even close. I don't think they want to be compared to Kobe, I think they are trying to make their own mark. You always ask people 'who you compare to Michael (Jordan)?' I don't compare anybody to Mike, but if I had to answer the question, Kobe is the closest thing to Mike. And is there somebody that's close to Kobe? No…When it comes to ranking, it's always going to be Mike, then it will be Kobe, and then probably LeBron."
Shaquille O'Neal, Full Send Podcast
Shaquille is correct to say there isn't a player close to Kobe in the NBA today
Everyone always likes to compare players from the current generation to players from the old generation, and everybody wants to know who the next Kobe Bryant will be. Shaq believes most players don't want to be the next version of someone but rather the first version of themselves. Chances are that belief is correct.
In truth, there isn't a player in the NBA like Bryant right now, either. Even if some players are fantastic isolation scorers like Bryant, there isn't a player among that group that has the winning pedigree that Bryant had. Steph Curry is probably closest in the winning category, but his skillset is much different than Bryant's.
For that reason, Bryant ranks so high on O'Neal's all-time top three list. Bryant usually doesn't get ranked as high as O'Neal ranks him, but it's certainly justifiable. James may eventually be able to pass Bryant, but for now, Bryant rests ahead of James on Shaq's all-time top three.
Bryant may be a bit high on O'Neal's top players of all time list here, but it's a justifiable inclusion. There may never be a player like Bryant again, and there certainly isn't one in the league right now. O'Neal's assessment feels pretty accurate and shows that Bryant's legacy continues to stand the test of time.