The real surprising thing about this is that it’s Brandon Jennings saying that Kobe is the greatest basketball player ever, and not Kobe implying that himself.

Controversially, Jennings based his argument on the teams that each was surrounded with.

Saying that Kobe merely had Shaq is a bit misleading. While Michael Jordan was unquestionably the driving force behind all six of the Bulls championships during his run, the relationship between Shaq and Kobe in the early 2000s isn’t as neat. Shaq was such a dominant force during the Lakers’ three-peat and MJ never had the luxury of playing with anyone near Shaq’s level.

Here’s Shaq during the peak of his powers with the Lakers.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 at 3shaqright


And Kobe over the same time period:

Screenshot 2014-08-19 at 3kobe

Shaq averaged more points, blocks and rebounds, had a much higher shooting percentage and he did all of this while shooting on less possessions on average than Kobe. Kobe had more assists and steals and he averaged 26.7 points per game but it’s hard to overstate how much Shaq warped the game around him (right down to “Hack-a-Shaq” and flopping).

Scottie Pippen was an all-time great and Dennis Rodman was a one-of-a-kind player but Shaq may be one of the ten most dominant basketball players ever. That counts for a lot.

Also, poor Pau Gasol will never get the credit he deserves I guess.

After taking some heat on Twitter, Jennings backed off a bit:

[Twitter] [Basketball Reference]