#MambaMonday is in full effect for the third week in a row at dofgamesports! The penultimate entry of our four-part series (Part I; Part 2) takes a dive into the most polarizing era of Kobe Bryant’s career: his days as “Frobe.” This era featured Bryant as a high-flying, boastful young star with immense potential.
Following Michael Jordan’s second retirement (in 1998), the NBA was desperate for another marquee draw to become the face of the NBA and further develop its dramatically evolving brand.
Frobe’s similarities to Jordan, at the time, were closer than any other player ever compared to MJ. From his tremendous confidence as a scorer and athlete to his undeniable will to win, Frobe shared a lot of the same traits.
However, instead of becoming an immortal figure like his “predecessor,” Frobe was vilified for his antics and inability to establish his own identity. It did not help that he constantly feuded with fellow Laker star, Shaquille O’Neal, in the midst of competing for championships.
As tumultuous and “fire-starting” as Frobe was, he absolutely got the job done night in and night out. Some people look back on LA’s dominance in the early millennium and attribute their success to Coach Phil Jackson & Shaq, while briefly acknowledging Frobe’s impact. However, it was tremendous. Once a graceful athlete and always a gifted scorer, he had no trouble making his mark on the game.
During the championship years of 2000-2002, Frobe’s regular season scoring peaked at just over 25 points/night. In the playoffs, however, he raised the bar even higher. The 2001 postseason was a thing of beauty, with averages of 29.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 6.1 apg. In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Frobe went ballistic. Take a look:
The misconception that Shaq “carried” Frobe could not be further from the truth. Not only did he devastate opponents, Frobe cultivated his legacy as a fierce competitor in the meantime.
Whenever you feel like making an educated comparison to vintage MJ, re-visit the Frobe era, blink twice and notice the congruency.