Tracy McGrady Makes Case For Kobe Bryant As A Top Five Player Of All-Time

Rob Schumacher/The Republic via Imagn

Former NBA player Tracy McGrady is tired of the disrespect directed toward Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.

McGrady recently made his case for the late Bryant as a top five player of all-time. He is rarely mentioned in that category but McGrady wondered why during an Instagram post.

The main knock against Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2020, is he won three titles while playing alongside Shaquille O'Neal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Guess what the reason they say he's not top five? Oh because he played with Shaq," McGrady said. "Didn't Magic Johnson play with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was the all-time leading scorer," McGrady said. "But you're going to sit here and talking about Kobe playing with Shaq? You've got to play with great players to win championships, right? Why are excluding Magic Johnson playing with James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hall of Famers?

McGrady pointed out Bryant won two titles after O'Neal left Los Angeles. Bryant led the Lakers to wins in 2009 and 2010, defeating the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. He also lost to the Celtics in the 2008 Finals.

"You want to associate Shaq with Kobe but then when Shaq leaves, he goes and gets Pau Gasol and wins two more," McGrady said. "... They're so disrespectful when it comes to Bean."

McGrady said Bryant is the closest player he has seen to Michael Jordan, who is often considered the greatest in league history. That alone, McGrady thinks, makes Bryant a top five player.

"He's the closest thing to MJ," McGrady said. "... Ain't nobody closer to MJ, so how is he excluded out of this conversation if he's close to MJ and MJ is the greatest of all time. Help me understand that. That man is top five. You ask anybody that has played against Michael Jordan and played against Kobe Bean Bryant in that era, they will tell you Bean is top five, all time."

Shandel Richardson is the publisher of Back In The Day NBA. He can be reached at

Shandel Richardson


Shandel has covered the NBA since 2010, with previous stops at The Athletic and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  He has covered six NBA Finals, one Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball tournament. He has also been a beat writer for the Miami Hurricanes and contributed on every major beat in South Florida since 2003, including the Miami Dolphins and Miami Marlins. He can also be read in the Sportsbook Review for gambling coverage from around the NBA. A native of Bloomington, Illinois, Shandel attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He's also worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star.  TWITTER: @ShandelRich EMAIL: