The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Kobe Bryant is the second best basketball player of all time.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/25/2012 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,615 times Debate No: 25269
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




Hello, even though this is the first debate I have ever done, I don't want anyone to take it easy on me. For this debate, I would like to establish these guidelines:

1. No hateful or inappropriate language, please.

2. Grammar is not a big deal, but don't get carried away.

3. Lebron isn't up for discussion since he is still in his prime. We can all agree that Kobe is past his prime, right?

4. Let's have a good debate.


I accept, I will prove that Kobe is not the second best basketball player of all time.

Best of luck to my opponent, I look forward to an interesting, spirited debate.

You're up Pro, let the game begin!
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. So lets get started.

First, let's compare him to five other players fighting for second place. These players will be Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain.

Kobe vs. Magic

Magic Johnson and Kobe have the same amount of rings with the same team. Magic, however, is a 3x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, and was an overall "more likable" guy. However the big difference between two of the greatest Lakers of all time (other than Magic went to college) is that Kobe is the better all around player. Magic was great at running an offence, but when it comes to scoring, defense, and athleticism, Kobe dominates Magic. Basically, everything that makes Jordan better than Magic, makes Kobe better than Magic.

Kobe vs. Bird

If you took everything you take Lebron James and make him a better shooter, you get "The Hick from French Lick". If you look at Larry Bird's accolades and Kobe's, you can see Kobe's been the most successful one. Even though Bird's statistics really dominate Kobe's, I'm still giving this one to Kobe Bryant because of his accolades. Why, you may ask? Well, even though stats are really important, in the end, the awards are what get you over. This is what makes Charles Barkley and Karl Malone one step behind Tim Duncan.

Kobe vs Kareem

Kareem was an unstoppable force back in his day. Especially with his signature "Sky Hook". With the accolades and the stats, Kareem looks great on paper against Kobe. However, the reason why he is under Kobe is the fact that in order to gain six championship rings, he left his team. This could be easily debated and I expect my opponent to attack me on my "team-switching" logic.

Kobe vs Russell

When the finals MVP trophy is named after you, you got to at least be halfway decent. Bill Russell was a rebounding machine. He was always the man to get the ball. Perhaps the greatest rebounder of all time. However, what else is there. Rebounding and defense was it. Kobe is obviously the more versatile player. This comparison may seem unfair because of the position, but people make unfair comparisons all the time (ex. you vs a super-model).

Kobe vs Wilt

100 points in one game! 30.1 points per game in his career! 22.9 rebounds per game in his career! Change the debate topic! Let's start the MJ COMPARISONS! Wait, but when did he play? Yes, the 60s. Not taking anything away from the late, great, Wilt "the Stilt" Chamberlain, but it was just a different games back then. It's as simple as that.

I would now like to open the floor for my opponent.

(Disclaimer: Out of all of the players I have named, the only one that I have seen play is Kobe Bryant. All other players are coming out of prior knowledge and highlights.)


Sources (Wikipedia, used it for accolades only):


Kobe Bryant. While he may be past his prime he has long been thought of as one of the elite players in the NBA. There is no doubt he is a fantastic player but is he really just one spot behind the great Michael Jordon as pro claims? I think not.

First of all I would like to point out a contradiction in my opponents arguments. When comparing Kobe to Larry Bird he states: "even though stats are really important, in the end, the awards are what get you over"

However, when comparing Kobe Bryant to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar he states that, "With the accolades and the stats, Kareem looks great on paper against Kobe. However, the reason why he is under Kobe is the fact that in order to gain six championship rings, he left his team."

Furthermore when comparing Kobe to the great Magic Johnson he argues that, "Magic, however, is a 3x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, and was an overall "more likable" guy. However the big difference between two of the greatest Lakers of all time (other than Magic went to college) is that Kobe is the better all around player."

My opponent has already contradicted himself. You can not simply change the reason why one player is considered better than another when it suits your cause. Pro has said that the reason why Kobe is a better player than Bird is because of the awards he has received, however when he compares Kobe to Magic these awards are irrelevant because Kobe is apparently, "the better all around player."

If we accept Pros assumption that Magic Johnsons' awards are not what makes him a better player than Kobe, then, by the same token, we can not accept Pros claim that Kobe Bryant is a better player than Larry Bird because of his awards. If pro wishes to stand by this claim that accolades do not matter then he has not proven that Kobe is a better basketballer than Bird and Kobe is, at the most, the third best basketballer of all time and the debate must go to me.

If, on the other hand, pro chooses to stand by his claim that accolades are what makes one player better than another, then Kobe Bryant looses out to both Magic Johnson, pro himself stated that his awards were better than Kobe's, and also Kareem because not matter how he won them, he still has 6 rings plus 6 NBA MVP's. So this line of thinking leaves Kobe with a highest possible finish of 4th place, not the stated second. Either way, whichever line of thinking you take, Kobe Bryant is not the second best basketballer of all time.

Enough of that. I would now like to further prove that, the above argument non-withstanding, Kobe is still not the second best basketballer and while we are talking about Kareem, lets continue along that path.

Kobe vs Kareem

At one point, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the NBA record for both shots blocked and points, showing he could play both defensively and offensively. He held the league record for most MVP's (6) and also won 6 championship rings across careers with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Now Pro states that the only reason that Kareem is not a better player than Kobe is that he left his team. This is a debate about the talents of basketball players, not their loyalty to teams. Also, I feel that this point helps to emphasise the talents of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was such a gifted player that the Lakers identified his as someone that they needed in order to win a ring, so they went out and convinced him to join up. 

Kobe vs Wilt

I would like to thanks my opponent for pointing out the illustrate stats that are accredited to the late, great, Wilt Chamberlain. Pros main argument for Kobe's superiority over Wilt is that: "when did he play? Yes, the 60s. Not taking anything away from the late, great, Wilt "the Stilt" Chamberlain, but it was just a different games back then."
Wilt Chamberlain did not have any control over when he played basketball, all he counld do was adapt his game to best suit the playing conditions of the day, and he did this perfectly. He was able to dominate the game that he played in. Also, Kobe's stats are boosted by the introduction of the 3 point line in for the 1980-81 season, an aspect of the game that Wilt was not able to exploit. 

In conclusion, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are far superior players to Kobe Bryant. Pro must also clarify if be believes accolades are what determine whether one player is better than another and change his arguments regarding Magic, Bird and Jabbar accordingly.

Debate Round No. 2


Yes, my opponent has shown that I have contradicted myself plenty of times. With that being said, I only have one way to combat my opponents responses. Yes, I know we are all tired of these two being used in the same sentence, but it may be the reason I win this debate. The two people I am speaking of is.....Kobe and MJ.

Now just watch this video.

This shows how identical MJ and Kobe are. I am not calling Kobe better than MJ (That's a debate for another day) but what I am saying is that Kobe is the closest thing to MJ of all time. So, if my opponent is right in his quote,

"This is a debate about the talents of basketball players, not their loyalty to teams."

then let us compare skills. Magic Johnson was a very advanced player. It was pointed out to me as something I completely forgot in a comment on this debate by Loserboi by that Magic could play all 5 positions. However, I know as a Laker fan that the greatest Laker of all time, Kobe Bryant (opinion, but would be a great debate for me to do later on), is a much better player. You can't win a dunk contest and have more than 13 all star appearances if you are an average player. Larry Bird and Kareem's skills were great. Were they Jordan great? So if they are not, and Kobe and Jordan play the same style of ball, how could they be better than Kobe. As for Wilt, on paper, his skills were better than Kobe's, perhaps better than Mj's. However, this is where the whole generations thing comes up. If you compare the talent in the 60s and the talent now, now obviously wins (another debate topic for the future). Also, with no "3 in the Key", Wilt would obviously average that many boards.

Before I finish and allow my opponent to completely murder me in this round (like he did in the last), I have a few questions to help me for the next round.

1. Who do YOU believe is the greatest Laker of all time?

2. Which players do you believe are better than Kobe?

3. Which NBA franchise is the greatest of all time?

4. Are we done using Bill Russell in the debate or did you just forget to include him?


ObiWan forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


ch33zey forfeited this round.


First of all, my apologies for missing my last round of debate. I was out in the bush with school all week and have not had Internet access, although my opponents forfeiture has evened things up a little.

I will start by addressing the questions that were asked of me at the end of Pros last arguments:

1. I must admit I am not a Lakers fan and have not payed all that much attention to comparing their players over the years, however I would have to go with Magic because of a) The way he could fill practically any role in the team and b) his ability to bring his team mates into the game with his passing, something that makes his contribution and value to the team and franchise as whole greater than Kobe's'

2. I believe Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain are better than Kobe. I also feel a strong case could be made for Shaquille O'neal. I also think Lebron and KD will surpass him eventually.

3. The Boston Celtics, just ahead of the Lakers and Bulls.

4. I do not feel the need to make a case for Bill Russell.

In his previous arguments Pro argued that since Kobe Bryant is the closest basketball to Michael Jordan in the way in which they played the game. And since Kobe is the closest thing to Michael and Michael is the greatest ever basketballer than Kobe must be the second greatest player of all time.

However this argument fails to account for two things: first of all, differences in positions and overall types of players must be considered when comparing players, you need to include the tall men along with the point guards, like natural variation or diversity.
Secondly, no matter now much lakers fans may not like to admit it, there is a definite gap in class and skill between Kobe and MJ, a gap that is filled by others who may not be like Michael in the way that they play, but are still greats in their own rights.

I would also like to once again touch on my opponents claims that Kobe is better than Wilt because of the times in which they played. While his reference to the '3 in the key' rule not being around when Wilt played makes sense I would like to again point out that Wilt was not able to choose when he played, or the players that played around him. Sure he may have been ahead of his time when you look at the talent of the players around him but aren't all great players ahead of their times? Isn't one of the things that sets them apart to ability to do things like no one else has ever done them before? Wilt certainly did this, and no one can argue that he did not have a huge impact on the game of basketball and will go down as one of the greatest players of all time.

A similar line of reasoning can be applied to Kareem. His sky hook was something new and extraordinary, something that sets him apart from the rest. This alone does not make Kareem great though, he was a player that could change a game himself and was an essential part in championships at both the Bucks and the Lakers.

Magic Johnson was also a player like no other, capable of playing any position on the court, holding the team together when someone went down with injuries or there was a weakness in the team. Ranking third for all time assists he was also able to bring his team mates into the game, something Kobe has been criticised for not being able to do.
Debate Round No. 4


Although we both forfeited a round, I had no idea that my opponent had forfeited also. my laptop has been broken for a while and I haven't been able to debate. Since I am currently using my mom's computer and I am supposed to be doing homework right now, I cannot debate this topic any longer. I would just like to thank my opponent for giving me my first debate. You have shown me that I have way more to learn in the art of debating. I was really beat badly in this debate, but I would like to once again, thank you for teaching me so much. I will be sure to take the skills I learned and use them in the future.


Due to unfortunate circumstances this debate must come to an untimely end. I acknowledge that there is not that my opponent could have done. I would like to thank him for a fun, interesting debate and I think we should leave it up to voters to decide who won. Despite his attitude I think pro put forward some convincing points that would have benefited from being expanded upon further. I hope our paths cross again in the future and we can have a full debate.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by imaboss05 4 years ago
Oh I forgot to mention. Again about stats. Everyone says he only averaged 25 points a game for his career and all these other players average more. Kobe played with Shaq who was the primary scorer his first few years. Then when Shaq was gone and Kobe was the primary with almost no help he puts up 30 a game atleast for 4 years in a row until Pau Gasol arrives, and Andrew Bynum gets better. Magic and Kobe is a no brainer, probably even if you brought stats into it. Sure Magic was a great passer and had great size for rebounding, but are we really going to say someone is better because the averaged more assists?(Not to mention Magic was a horrible shooter and played with players a lot less athletic then those of todays era) If thats the case then Rajon Rondo should be the best player in the game today if we base it off assists. Stats wise Kobe is a top 20 player top 10 at best. But if you pay attention and break everything down and compare everyones complete game, nobody other then Mj has any argument of being a better complete overall basketball player
Posted by imaboss05 4 years ago
Kobe Bryant is the most talented and complete basketball player to ever play. He is better then Mj, Magic, Larry, Lebron, Durant, Wade, whoever else you want to compare him too. Now let me make myself clear, this is not about stats. This is about who is the best talent wise.(They do everything great). You can always argue Mj over Kobe here but that is the only argument. He is the only player close enough in overall talent as Kobe. Now as I say this everyone is going to point straight to stats. Before you do, take this into consideration. Lebron for ex: is a better passer then Kobe, which makes it hard to double team him because he can pass to a 3 point shooter or cutter and get an easy basket. Thats the only plus Lebron gets. He is bigger faster stronger, which is natural athleticism, so when he does get double teamed he gets out of it much easier. Kobe on the other hand, gets double teamed nearly the entire game, unless he is behind the three point line. He isn't as fast or as strong as Lebron, but yet he still puts up just as good if not better shooting numbers, and thats with a strong double team and most of shots coming from outside as to where Lebrons are in the paint. And here come more stats arguments. Lebrons FG% is better, but I would say about 65% of his FG's are layups and dunks. Only about 30% of Kobes are. Take that into consideration next time you compare the two. Anyone who brings rebounding into this is being unfair because Kobe is 3 inches shorter and plays a position farther away from the basket. Kobe plays as good of one on one lockdown defense as anyone except maybe Jordan has him beat there. He makes more difficult shots on a consistent basis then anyone ever has. (Best pure shooter in history imo). Kobe's ball handling skills are as good as anyones who is comparable to him. And he is smarter then anyone except maybe Mj. So other then people comparing a 34 year old to someone in their prime how is anyone better? Not stats just pure talen
Posted by Loserboi 4 years ago
Magic Johnson I don't know how someone can question his athleticism. Magic Johnson had the ability to play every single position. Magic Johnson was a once in a lifetime point guard, he was basically unguardable because he was so much bigger than all his opponents. Yeah Kobe scored mote than he did, but kobe's main purpose is to be the scorer. Magic Johnson played point guard his main job was to facilitate, and he led the league in it 4-5 times. if you look at the numbers Kobe just has more points. There is a significan difference in rebounds and assists between the two.

Kareem switched teams, but he has way too many accolades. 6x MVP, 6x champion discussion over already. They have the same amount of finals MVP.
Posted by Loserboi 4 years ago
Is Kobe really considered the 2nd greatest player of all time by people???
Posted by imabench 4 years ago
a five round debate is also a deal breaker
Posted by yuiru 4 years ago
Oh... the second best! Of ALL TIME, huh? No time will there EVER be a second best basket ball player?
That is just second rate bollocks
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a lot of sources, but Con completely trashed Pros arguments by pointing out contradictions that were admitted to later on by con.