Let's be done with all the hating. It's been a year now since the Black Mamba retired, so it's about time we all started to appreciate the man for what he truly was. Kobe Bryant is an All-Time great. He's a top 10 player hands down and one of the biggest knocks critics use to hold against Bryant is the fact that he only has one league MVP honor. Of course, the MVP distinction is always arbitrary and often times comes down to things aren't even in the player's control. Yes, Kobe only had one MVP, but he very easily could've (and should've) had more.
Here are the top four seasons where you could argue that Bryant was robbed of what was rightfully his: the MVP trophy.
The 2002-03 MVP trophy was certainly up for grabs. This year, Tim Duncan won the MVP with a stat line of 23.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.9 blocks a night leading the Spurs to a 60-22 record. This was Duncan's second MVP in a row.
Kobe on the other hand averaged 30 points, 5.9 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 steals. The Lakers finished with a 50-32 record after winning the championship the year prior and Kobe improved on most all of his totals from the season before, while some of Duncan's dropped. He even shot 38 percent from three, up from 25 percent in '01-'02.
Kobe was largely excluded from the MVP race in the 2004-05 season due to a number of factors. First, he only played in 66 out of 82 games that year which is still a pretty big sample size, but voters thought that counted against him. This was the Lakers first season since Shaq's departure so there was a lot of bad press following Kobe around and him missing games was just yet another reason for people to shoot him down.
He still managed to ball out this season regardless to the tune of 27.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.3 steals. It also didn't help that the Lakers would finish with a losing record this year which just about banished any of Kobe's chances this season.
He still put together a better season than Steve Nash.
2. 2006-07 Season
At the end of the 2006-07 season, it was Dirk Nowitzki who hoisted the league MVP trophy into the air. That season, Nowitzski averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists en route to leading the Mavericks to a 67-15 record. That was also the season in which the Mavericks would be beaten in the first round by the eighth seeded 'We Believe' Golden State Warriors (this is pre-Steph Curry I might add).
Meanwhile, Kobe was still tasked with functioning as a one-man show. The Lakers second leading scorer this season was Lamar Odom with 15 points a game followed by Luke Walton, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown with 11, 11, and 8 respectively.
Bryant didn't have much of anything to work with and yet was still able to drop 31.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.4 steals while leading LA to the playoffs.
1. 2005-06 Season
It seems Kobe always got robbed by repeat offenders. Much like Duncan's MVP in 2003, Nash won his second MVP in a row in the 2005-06 season, and this is easily the most egregious defeats of Kobe's career.
The MVP trophy should have been Bryant's hands down in 2006. He led the NBA with a ridiculous 35.4 points a night along with 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.8 steals.
The biggest factor that played into Bryant being snubbed for the award was the fact that the Suns had a better record, but if you take a look back at that Lakers squad, you'd see just how impressive it was for Kobe to do what he did given what he had to work with. The Lakers started guys like Smush Parker, Chris Mihm, and Kwame Brown for goodness sake.