Now, I must say I hate making arguments like this when one guy's team is doing well and everyone is pulling for him and another guy is now setting up tee times. But, for Kobe I will make an exception. I think it is interesting how similar Kobe is to mafia kingpin John Gotti, the "Teflon Don." No matter what he does he stays out of jail, keeps selling jerseys (suggesting many people somehow still like him), people keep calling him a winner and the best player in the NBA and blaming everything on his supporting cast, Phil Jackson, Sammy the Bull, etc.
First of all, I don't think you can judge Kobe's career based on when he was playing with Shaq, who was probably the most dominating force in the history of the NBA. I think to accurately judge Kobe as a player you have to look at what he's done without Shaq. The interesting thing is how similarly it parallels T-Mac's career. First year without Shaq: Kobe did not make the playoffs with past All-Star Odom and future All-Star Caron Butler (a better supporting cast than McGrady's had until the past two years). Second year: Lakers went way up in the first round (3-1 to the Suns) as a serious underdog then got run out of the playoffs - eerily similar to T-Mac with Orlando against Detroit.
Then this year, the Lakers are getting so embarassed by the Suns that I am seriously concerned about Lamar Odom's mental health. And I can't blame him. Besides the personal issues Odom's been going through, NOBODY seems to appreciate what a truly great player he is. Odom is a Top 20 player in the league and he's stuck playing with an absolute cancer in Kobe. Also, has anyone else noticed what's happened with Caron Butler since he left the Lakers? He was an All-Star this year and that's while playing with Arenas who isn't excatly a pass first guard! So everyone is making the argument that Kobe has had no supporting players since Shaq even though the Lakers got 2 All-Stars in Butler and Odom to play with him and he simply ruined their games.
I haven't seen anyone receive this many excuses since the mentally disabled kid in my 1st grade class. It just boggles the mind especially because there is no indication that Kobe is anything other than an egomaniac with all the charisma of Barry Bonds. And yes I am a SF Giants fan, but it just hasn't been the same since they signed Bonds and had to dump Will Clark and Robbie Thompson. And yes, I realize by the numbers that makes zero sense... That being said, Lakers fans kill me because a number of them are also serious Dodgers fans who can never understand how Giants fans can root for the Giants with Bonds on the team... ummm, hello?! I'll take steroids allegations over rape allegations any day and I would hope everyone else would too... it is kind of sick how the media can't get over steroids in sports, but Kobe's rape charge was yesterday's news once he hit a fall-away jumper... bizarre.
That being said, I don't think there's any way that you can argue Kobe's career has been more impressive than McGrady's if you factor in Kobe playing with Shaq. Not to mention the fact that you have to mark Kobe down for the elbows, the attitude, the criminal charges, and for breaking up one of the great basketball dynasties. Would McGrady have won those same 3 championships in Kobe's place? Absolutely. Would he have let his ego break up a 3-time Championship team? Hell no. Factor that in and I say McGrady over Kobe any day of the week...