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Other players say Kobe is most clutch. Great, this debate again.

Apr 20, 2011, 3:44 PM EST

Kobe Bryant, Lakers Getty Images

It’s a debate as circular and weary as congressional budget battles (whichever party doesn’t have the president is suddenly filled with deficit hawks, not so much when there guy is in there).

Is Kobe Bryant clutch?

Other NBA players say yes. When polled by Sports Illustrated and asked to anonymously say who they would want taking the last shot, 74 percent of the 166 players surveyed said Kobe.

Followed by Kevin Durant (8 percent), Dwyane Wade (3 percent), Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki 2 percent each).

Knicks fans will note that Jared Jeffries and Bill Walker are not on this list.

We’ve been down the road before showing you numbers that say Kobe is not as clutch as you think he is. He hits a lot of key shots, but he takes and misses a lot more. But then you get into how to define clutch. And questions like does leading a team to rings count as clutch?

Circular argument. I’d rather watch him, and just enjoy what he brings. Because he is one of the all-time greats and we are not going to have him around to wow us that much longer.

  1. passerby23 - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Also, what about free throws with the game on the line? That goes down as clutch in my opinion. We can crunch the numbers, but it seems to be the impression left on players and viewers as to who is most clutch. He’s hit a lot of big shots and won 5 rings. That’s pretty clutch and the players agree.

  2. fouldwimmerlaik - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I know that my Kobe Bryant Action Figure – Playoff Edition has a super kung-fu clutch grip built-in. I am sure it was just for this reason. This is just one among many reasons why Kobe is my dream idol. He makes me smile.

  3. zblott - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Regardless of any one fan’s specific thoughts on the issue, or all the facts that keep coming out, can we at least agree that modern-day players’ opinions are pretty much the worst for anything like this because they usually always say/vote the way they’re supposed to? Coaches aren’t much better, but at least most of them have a) graduated from college, and b) read at least one book before their final year of school (see also: not Kemba Walker).

    • aqzi - Apr 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      First off, 79% of general managers this season chose Kobe to take the shot with the game on the line:

      http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/10/27/fan.survey/index.html

      and http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/20224/gms-picking-against-lebron-james

      Second of all, is it that players say what they’re supposed to because Kobe has built up a false reputation for hitting clutch shots, or is it that the players say that because his reputation is true?

    • passerby23 - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:43 PM

      Disagree that modern-day players’ opinions are worthless: a) they actually play in the games and experience it on a nightly basis; b) this is an anonymous poll so their vote shouldn’t be influenced by what they’re “supposed to” do; c) having a college degree doesn’t make you any more accurate in assessing whether a player is clutch or not.

      You can crunch percentages and ratios until you’re blue in the face, when you make a lot of clutch plays throughout your career and win 5 rings, that’s a clutch player. As a guy who can’t stand Kobe, he strikes fear in my heart everytime he has the ball late in games because of how many big shots he has made.

      Also, I’m not sure why Kobe is the person other players feel they are “supposed to” vote for in an anonymous poll.

  4. stinkfingers - Apr 20, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    That broad in Colorado agrees. Not matter how tough you play defense you play against him, he will go to the hole at will.

    • duhgrate1 - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:05 PM

      Right. She put up about as much defense as the Phoenix Suns did this past year.

    • louistaylored - Apr 20, 2011 at 5:57 PM

      lmfao oh my god oh my god I usually smh at comments about the case but damn yo this was funny as hell man. Much props

  5. delius1967 - Apr 20, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    There are a lot of myths in basketball. “Clutch” shooting is one of them. If Kobe makes the shot, it’s “Wow, Kobe did it again! What a clutch player!” But if he misses, we say things like, “Even Kobe couldn’t save the day” implying that it was a lost cause and no one else would have, either. Then we quickly forget about it.

    What’s important to note is that BOTH OUTCOMES help further his reputation as a “clutch” player. Even he misses, it isn’t on him; it’s just the way it goes sometimes. He literally cannot lose. This is a common problem in mistaken thinking, so common it has a name: confirmation bias, where we only acknowledge data that confirms what we already believe to be true.

    In truth, Kobe Bryant is a fantastic basketball player. But how much is him and how much is the situation? Let’s not forget how ordinary the Lakers were before Jackson returned, and before Pau Gasol arrived. Even the absolute king of confirmation bias, Michael Jordan, got booted out of the playoffs early on many times, before the team was built around him.

    • passerby23 - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:48 PM

      The fact that Kobe is even entrusted at all to take all the big shots at the end of games proves that he’s capable and often has made them in the past. They don’t run plays for Pau Gasol on the final possession. They don’t run plays for Dwight Howard at the end of the game.

      It’s also important to remember that no player is ever going to make every clutch play he has/had the opportunity to make. You can find lots of failed game winners from Jordan. Would anyone deny he was a clutch player? The reason we say things like “even Kobe couldn’t save them” is because you can’t expect a guy to be clutch everytime. Now, if he NEVER made a clutch play but kept attempting them, we wouldn’t be saying that at all. But, he has done it on several occasions.

      Again, I don’t like Kobe, but I give credit where credit is due. The guy is clutch.

      • borderline1988 - Apr 27, 2011 at 9:54 AM

        They dont give the ball to Howard b/c he shoots like 50% from the FT line (duhh).
        And they probably should give the ball to Gasol once in awhile at the end of games, but there’s someone else on that team who would have a fit if that happened.

        Is Kobe really clutch?
        When I watch Lakers games, I find it remarkable how tight their defense gets at the end of games, with Gasol and Bynum/Odom literally blocking up the paint and forcing teams into turnovers or poor shots.
        Kobe usually goes like 2 for 7 in the last 2 – 4 minutes, and the Lakers win b/c the other team does even worse. Everyone talks up Kobe for the one tough fadeaway he made, but of course that wasnt the reason why they won.

  6. ocgunslinger - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    74% of anonymous peers (who all have enormous egos) AGREE and think Kobe is the best clutch player, then who else is in a better position to know? (You could ask the Ref’s if they would want him shooting when they have bets down)? Case closed.

    • passerby23 - Apr 20, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      Agreed. It’s an anonymous poll of guys who have seen it over and over again. Two guys draped over him and he makes the shot. Say what you want about shot selection, shooting percentages, ball hogging (at various points in his career), but clutch? I don’t really think it’s debatable. You’re right, who is in a better position? Statisticians? Casual fans?

  7. ghostlaker - Apr 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Clutch doesn’t only mean buzzer beating shots. Kobe seems to have a knack for hitting shots at pivotal moments throughout a game, like when it’s dangerously close to slipping away, or when a team is making its last push to stay in it. There’s a reason he is known for hitting “dagger” shots and is called the best closer in the game. It’s about making plays that take the other team’s heart out of the game at just the right moment, not just in the last few seconds. It take big brass ones to take some of the shots he does at the times he does (this goes for Fisher too), when no one else wants the ball and when everything’s on the line.

    Players, coaches and GMs, the people whose opinions really matter, all seem to agree that Kobe is the most clutch. Why? Because Kobe has demonstrated no fear and succeeded in clutch situations over and over again. They have played and coached against him so they would know better than even the most accomplished armchair Internet couch potato expert.

  8. therookie773 - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    The stats don’t matter because Kobe wasn’t as clutch in his earlier years than he is now.

  9. gilgameth - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a shoot…I say give the ball to R.Horry, because no one will be guarding him…

    • rapmusicmademedoit - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:17 PM

      Just so you know he retired, a long time ago but if you want to give him the rock be my guess.
      I know Mamba is taking the shot for me, and sinkin it too.

  10. fouldwimmerlaik - Apr 26, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    Perhaps the perception of being clutch is magnified because Kobe’s Lakers have gotten more SIGNIFICANT WINS translated into championships and almost always a Finals appearance this past decade.

  11. rapmusicmademedoit - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Kobe doesn’t care about what you say, he only listens to me, dat boy is whicked bad.
    I want this man to take the shot every time, anytime cause he is big time.
    Phil this one is for you baby!!
    See you at the parade fellas.

    brookyn Laker fan

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