Is it OK to hate Kobe Bryant because he's so cocky? He effectively chased Shaquille O'Neal out of Los Angeles because of a clash of egos, would stop shooting in crucial games just to prove a point, and straight up told the media "I don't give a fuck what you say." He's also slightly selfish with the ball and will get a coach fired with just a stare. That's all defensible though. After all, to be the best shouldn't you have to believe it? Bryant definitely does, and when we printed "Kobe Bryant doesn't need your love. He just wants to win" on our 2009 cover with him, it was a truthful assessment.

It has been that way since he came in the league fresh out of high school. Determined not to be overlooked by the stars of the waning Golden Era, Bryant impressed many with his eye-grabbing athleticism and raw potential. There's also that will to win, which has led to some of his career's most dubious moments. It has also led to his greatest moments, like that spectacular Game 7 comeback against the Blazers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals and his legendary 81-point performance against the Raptors. He's also earned numerous other distinctions like being the youngest NBA All-Star and Slam Dunk Contest winner.

Bryant has the accolades to prove he's the greatest player in the league since Michael Jordan. A few years down the line, we'll be talking about who's the next best thing to Bryant because his highlights, goofs, and accomplishments stand out on their own. Check out some of his best moments in GIF Gallery: The Best of Kobe Bryant.

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