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Thursday , Aug , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant measured by championships, not scoring

The odometer keeps rolling. Now that Kobe Bryant's turned 32, how much of a decline can we expect in his game over the next few seasons? [When Michael] Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls late in the 94-95 season -- at 32 -- he'd played only 778 NBA regular season and playoff games. By comparison, Kobe Bryant has already played a whopping 1,219 games, 57% more than Jordan at the same age. Kobe is clearly the NBA version of a Ferrari with high mileage. ... Bryant's stats have also dipped in several categories in the last five seasons: --Scoring per game: 35.4, 31.6, 28.3, 26.8, to 27.0 last season. --Free throw attempts per game: 10.2, 10.0, 9.0, 6.9, 7.4. --Minutes per game: 41.0, 40.8, 38.9, 36.1, 38.8.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: His numbers don't matter. Their numbers do.

The days of measuring Kobe Bryant's greatness by individual statistics are done. Instead, Black Mamba should be measured by championships he wins with the L.A. Lakers.

Nothing more.

The great ones, the creme de la creme of NBA talent, worry about one thing: the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Like it or not, Bryant's five championships put him on par with Magic Johnson. Another championship means he's in the conversation with Michael Jordan.

And when it's all said and done, total championships - not scoring, free throw attempts, and/or minutes - will be the real indicator of Bryant's greatness.

--Oly Sandor.

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