If there is one stigma and narrative that was constantly around for Kobe Bryant's career, it's the notion he doesn't pass the ball. Kobe was a scorer, but that doesn't mean he couldn't have been a distributor if he and his team wanted him to be. This story from his former teammate Chris Duhon is the perfect example.
Kobe could do it all
Kobe was always viewed more as a scorer in his career and with sound reasoning. The various ways in which Bryant could score the ball and torch his defenders were unlike anything we have ever seen before -- averaging 35 ppg for a season or scoring 81 points in a game is all you need to know about that.
But what many faulted Bryant for was his lack of distributing ability and willingness to involve his teammates. Sure, in those years when Shaq left and before Gasol came, Kobe became a one-man show because the personnel on that team had to rely on him. But that didn't mean Kobe couldn't pass the ball. He was simply doing what his team needed.
His former teammate, Chris Duhon, played with Kobe for one season back in 2012-2013, and he shared a hilarious story that showed just how capable Kobe was of putting up triple-doubles.
"I was sitting next to him at the time, and I was like:'LeBron gets another triple-double. Sh*t, your as* ain't ever gonna get one of those. Your as* don't pass.' And he starts laughing. 'I'll bet you $5000 I get a triple-double the next game!' I'm like, alright, bet it. Sure enough, he was one assist and one rebound shy at halftime. We talked after the game, and it just goes to what his mindset was. 'If I wanted to, I could get a triple-double every game, but my team needs me to score, and I wanna take the hearts out of anyone that's guarding me.' That's just the Mamba Mentality."
Chris Duhon, Karter Kast
Well, that was the easiest $5000 bucks of Kobe's career, and Duhon had to learn the hard way what "The Mamba" is capable off. Sure, he was never viewed as an all-around player, and you can't compare him in that sense to LeBron, especially when you look at the fact that Kobe has only 21 career triple-doubles as opposed to LeBron's 105 and counting.
But that is simply never what Kobe did. Bryant was a killer and scorer that won in his own way, while LeBron has always been more successful as a distributor. As much as you can say Kobe wasn't near the all-around player LeBron was, you can say LeBron will never be a scorer or killer of Kobe's magnitude.
Everyone has their own style of basketball, and winning is all that matters in the end.