Write on Sports’ Tribute to Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant had an immense impact on the sports world and those, children in particular, who followed him.  His passing will be a great loss to the sporting world.  WoS campers have often used Kobe as an inspirational icon and written about him. Below are two articles published by our campers in 2018 and 2015.

K8BE BR24NT: 8 or 24? 


By Nathaniel K., Oranges Camp 2018


The fans are chanting as Kobe Bryant sprints down the court. Sweat is dripping down his face. He shoots…he scores…the crowd goes wild! This was Kobe Bryant’s last game. April 13, 2016, he missed his first 7 shots. Could this have been an upsetting final game? With this question in the back of the fans’ minds, Bryant went on to drop 60 points. What a game! Was this Kobe Bryant at his finest, wearing number 24? Or was he better as number 8? This is a question that has stumped the people for too long. 

Kobe Bryant started his career in 1996 with number 8 until 2006. This is a very different player from 24. Number 8 was flashy and risk taking being young and having a team behind him. He had Shaquille O’Neal, a dominant big man, on his team. This changed everything for him. Bryant accomplished many things in this era. He won three championships in a row in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He also won the slam dunk contest in 1997 and had a career high of 81 points. “He was explosive, he so great. When people watched him, they talked about Jordan!” said First Take’s Max Kellerman. 

In 2007, Kobe Bryant changed his number to symbolize a rebirth for him and his team, especially without Shaquille O’Neal. Number 24 is a mature player that thinks less about making it look good and more on efficiency. Here he had a whole different team full of rookies and no one to help him. Bryant said at the time, “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess”. He didn’t want to stay there though. He demanded a trade but it did not end up happening. “I’d rather play on the planet Pluto than remain in the Los Angeles Lakers uniform. I was betrayed by the organization” stated Bryant on Stephen A. Smith’s radio show. He had a lot of pressure he had to respond to, because he was perceived as being the reason O’Neal left. He also needed to play a bigger role because O’Neal wasn’t there. Believe it or not, he went on to accomplish so much that it made this whole question. He won two championships and became league MVP.

Number 8 had better defense than number 24. This is understandable since he was younger and more athletic. It’s not like number 8 had better defense by far. Number 24 had very good defense with a rating of 107 since he had to play multiple positions. Number 8 had a rating of 104, just a bit lower than 24. Though #8 stopped the other team from scoring more than 24. Overall, defense does come down to preventing the other team from scoring. This gives 8 the advantage for defense.

When it comes to per game stats number 24 wins. 24 had 26.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 3.1 turnovers per game. While number 8 had 23.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.9 turnovers per game. As you can see 24 had more points, assists, and turnovers, although 8 had more rebounds, steals, and blocks. We know number 8 had better defense making more steals and blocks and he was also more active and all over the place causing more rebounds. These are very important stats, but per-game numbers never tell the full story. In his first season he had 10-plus games where he produced over 50 points (without Shaquille O’Neal). Kobe Bryant 24 had better per game stats with more points, assists, and turnovers.

In shooting efficiency number 8 is better by a nose. Number 8 had a 45.1 field goal percentage, 33.6 3-point shooting percentage, and 83.4 free throw shooting percentage. While 24 had 44.3 field goal percentage, 32.5 3-point shooting percentage, 84.0 free throw shooting percentage. As you can see, 8 had the better field goal percentages, but 24 made 1.6 more triples wearing 24. Though as he changed to 24 it dropped from 0.399 to 0.365. 8 wins because of a better free throw percentage and field goal percentage. 24’s three’s made this a close debate.

When it comes to playoff performance, 24 has the edge. He brought the team to two championship victories without O’Neal. It makes sense that 24 wins this category since 8 made it to the championships much easier than 24. “I remember how hard it was for me each night to get up and play, it was a grind,” said Kobe Bryant. In the playoffs he averaged 29.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 dimes per game wearing 24. While wearing 8 he averaged 25.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. As you can see, 24 had more points and assists during the playoffs. Especially during the playoffs, 24 had to be a leader, not just a scorer.

Lastly 24 had a better legacy. For 8, he had three championships, eight All-Star appearances, 16 times of being Player of the Week, six times of being Player of the Month, and winning All-Rookie Second Team, All-NBA First Team four times, All-NBA Second Team twice, All-NBA Third Team twice, All-Defensive First Team four times, and All-Defensive Second Team twice. 24 is obviously better when it comes to legacy. 8 did win 3 championships while 24 had 2, but O’Neal was with 8. Number 24 didn’t have the same support from his teammates. 8 didn’t have a MVP or a Finals MVP. 

When it comes to defense and shooting efficiency, 8 is superior, although 24 is greater in per game stats, playoff performance, and legacy. Bryant the player might have been slightly superior while wearing 8, but Bryant the Los Angeles Laker was more important and more successful after changing numbers. This shows that No. 24 is the better Kobe Bryant.

Who’s a Better Laker?

By Anthony V., Newark 2015

Who’s a better Los Angeles Laker: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, or Kareem Abdul
Jabbar? Some people say Kobe is the best, others say Magic, and others say Kareem. It makes sense to compare them because they are all great Laker players.

Let’s talk about Earvin Johnson, also known as Magic. He is a 6′ 9″ 220lb point guard.
They called him Magic because the plays he made were like Magic. He was one of the
biggest guards anyone has ever seen. For his career, he averaged 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds per game. His style of play was pass first, then score. Sometimes in games Magic would have more assists then points. Magic liked fast tempo offense because he could pass more.

Kobe Bryant is also known as the Black Mamba because when a defender tries to guard him the Black Mamba strikes. Kobe is a 6′ 6″ 212lb shooting guard whose playing style is to score the ball. He is a player coach on and off the court. He’s constantly telling his teammates how to improve their game. The good and bad side of that is some players like that and others don’t. Kobe’s career averages are 25.4 points, 4.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. He’ll pass the ball if he thinks you have a great shot at scoring, otherwise you are not getting the ball. Some people say he should have gone to college instead of coming straight out of high school but he would have been just as good either way. Kobe said if he did go to college he would have gone to Duke. Overall Kobe is a great scorer because no matter what type of defense, he always finds a way to score.

Then there’s Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the creator of the sky-hook. Kareem is a 7′ 2″ 225lb center. He averaged 24.6 points, 2.0 blocks and 7.9 rebounds throughout his career. His playing style is working in the post and blocking shots. Kareem was one of the most dominant big men of his time. In his prime, nobody could stop him, especially with his patented move the sky-hook, because no one could jump that high. In his third year in the league he averaged 34 points per game, and you don’t really see a third year player average that many points.

In conclusion, I would have to rank them in this order. Kobe is first because he did have nearly as good a team as Magic or Kareem when he won his forth and fifth championships. Kareem would be second because he was an all around player and Kareem could dominate his area and others. Magic is third because he had to retire early. He was still an outstanding player and the plays he made were magic – maybe if he didn’t have to retire early he would be higher in the list.

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