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Richard Hamilton Criticizes Kobe Bryant Being Ranked As 10th Best Player Of All Time

Hamilton took exception to CBS Sports ranking Bryant as the 10th best player of all time.

Richard Hamilton was not happy that CBS Sports ranked Kobe Bryant as the tenth best player of all time. 

Hamilton, a former NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, was among the panelists who weighed in on the list and he strongly disagreed with Bryant's eventual placement. 

Bryant was behind Michael Jordan (No. 1), LeBron James (No. 2), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (No. 3), Bill Russell (No. 4), Magic Johnson (No. 5), Wilt Chamberlain (No. 6), Shaquille O'Neal (No. 7), Larry Bird (No. 8) and Tim Duncan (No. 9).

"First of all, whoever voted and put Kobe [at 10] just flat out disrespected him," Hamilton told CBS Sports. "I feel like Kobe Bryant is the closest guy to Michael Jordan that we have ever seen. When you look at his stats and see, yes, he was an 18-time All-Star, he was a 15-time All-NBA player, tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but when Magic Johnson comes out and says, 'Kobe Bryant is the best Laker of all time,' that means better than him, and better than the guy Magic played with, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar."

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, a two-time Finals MVP and a one-time regular season MVP over his 20-season career with the Lakers. He's the fourth all-time scoring leader in the NBA with 33,643 points, but Hamilton said he easily could've been ranked much higher. 

"If he didn't play with Shaquille O'Neal, he probably would be No. 1 on the scoring list," Hamilton said of Bryant, who played alongside O'Neal from 1996-2004, winning three-straight championships together in 2000, 2001 and 2002. 

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After James passed Bryant in points in a game against Philadelphia on Jan. 25, James said Bryant was impossible to guard

"He had zero flaws offensively, zero," James said. "You backed off of him, and he could shoot the three. You body him up a little bit, and he'd go around you. He could shoot the midrange, he could post, he could make free throws. He had zero flaws offensively. That's something I admired as well, just being at a point where the defense will always be at bay, where they can't guard you at all. We just felt like he was immortal offensively because of his skillset and his work ethic."

Hamilton added that Bryant inspired fear from his competitors. 

"He's probably the only guy -- and Raja [Bell] can probably attest to this -- the only guy that I competed against in my 14-year NBA career that when I would come into the game, I was low-key scared," Hamilton said. "The reason why is, Kobe was the type of player that was gonna try to kill you when the first minute of play started, all the way until the final buzzer went off."

Hamilton said that if Bryant was hot, there was nothing that a defender could do to stop him. 

"You couldn't let him get 10-12 points in the first quarter, because he was gonna try to give you 50," Hamilton said. "He scored 81 points in a game. He was probably one of the most complete players that we have ever seen in our game of basketball."