What stans think: That he's better than Jordan. Jordan said he wasn't sure if he could beat Kobe one-on-one so there's proof!
What haters think: That he's *yawns* on par with AI, T-Mac, and Dirk. Shaq's responsible for three of those five rings on his fingers.
What realists think: That he's an aging and maturing baller in the twilight of his (super) superstardom who's benefitted from being on incredibly talented teams.
You can't blame a guy for being put on a dominant team. Like the aforementioned Jeter, Kobe's situation is chicken and egg. Does Kobe win titles because he's on the Lakers? Or, do the Lakers win titles because they have players like Kobe? That's a debate that's, believe it or not, conductable without the dropping of any four-letter words.
One of the knocks on Kobe was that he didn't have a non-Shaq aided ring. Then he won in 2008-09 and the hater said "fluke." Then he won in 2009-10 and the hater said "Jordan had six." That's what we were referencing in the intro about being unable to alter anyone's mind who's joined either of these two contemptable groups. You just have to accept it as part of the reality of being a fan.