Jordan had it. Kobe has it. They don’t go for the tie, they go for the win and for the kill. What players have an elevated will to win and deliver with game-winning performances?
With Kobe Bryant retiring we are losing one of the most assassin-like players in the history of the game. Whether he was up 40 at halftime or tied with 3 seconds left, Kobe was never going to take his foot off the gas. He was going to step on the throat of his opponent and not stop until the clock struck zero. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this, but it is the first time since Michael Jordan. Jordan’s records and championships speak for themselves. Six Finals appearances, 6 wins.
With one of the game’s best hanging them up at the end of the season, it brings up the question, who’s the next Kobe? Who’s the next player with that killer instinct that made Jordan and Kobe so successful?
LeBron is the obvious answer. He’s been compared to Jordan since high school and he may be the most talented player to ever enter the league. Since losing in the Finals to the Mavericks after taking his talents to south beach, something just clicked. He became the player that everyone knew he could be. His 2015 finals could not have been any more indicative of that. Averaging nearly 40 points against a younger, healthier and more talented basketball team. Although his team lost LeBron proved he is no longer afraid of the big moment.
Since the topic of the 2015 Finals came up, why not talk about the man that won the ring? Steph Curry is as scary as he is talented. Making a strong case to be considered the best shooter in NBA history, Chef Curry is looking to do so much more than just win. He looks to embarrass people. No moment has ever been big for this MVP and World Champion. To start the 2015-2016 season they became the first team in NBA history to win their first 20 games. This doesn’t happen unless the best player on a team has a desire to go out there and win each game at all cost.
He may not even be the best player on his own team, but he’s the most fierce player on this list. When Russell Westbrook gets the ball in his hand, get out of his way. He can score pass and doesn’t mind getting gritty. The reason Westbrook makes this list and not Durant is defense. When the games on the line Russell Westbrook can take just about any player in the league out of the game. He is a lockdown defender with the ability and desire to dominate a game. When Russell and Durant can stay healthy for a whole season, watch out league.