Kobe Bryant is the league leader in field goal attempts, current active leader in field goal attempts, and is seventh all-time in attempts for his career. Needless to say even though I have just said it, he shoots a lot.
In fact, he shoots so much, some call him a ball hog. Like at least 67,000 people have said it. But Kobe Bryant doesn’t believe that is true. He doesn’t think he’s a ball hog, it’s just that he shoots a lot. From ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“I wouldn’t say I’m a ball hog. I’m a shooter,” Bryant said, continuing with his 20-minute postgame media session when he described his love for scoring points the way a millionaire describes every one of the dollars he has made. “I don’t necessarily hog the ball, but I put them up though.”
There was more: “I definitely much rather shoot it than pass it. That’s just how I am.”
And more: “I’m a scorer, man. You don’t get 30,000 points without knowing how to put yourself in positions to shoot it. The ball just finds scorers and I can always, no matter what system you’re in, you can always find a way. Getting up 30 shots ain’t easy. A lot of people don’t know how to do that.”
And even more: “That’s what I do. It’s like superheroes. Superman can fly. Spider-Man has webs. Steve [Nash] can pass. I shoot. … I get ‘em up! I make no bones about it. That’s what I do. That’s what I do. Some nights they fall, some nights they don’t. But, [Dennis] Rodman was a rebounder, Coop [Michael Cooper] was a defender, I’m a shooter.” With that, he added a laugh. [...]
“I like shooting,” Bryant said. “I don’t care how it comes. I like putting them up. It doesn’t matter how it comes. I’m being honest.”
So just to get things straight, Kobe Bryant is not a ball hog. He just likes shooting, likes “putting them up,” doesn’t care how he gets his shots, would “definitely much rather shoot it than pass it,” and describes himself both as a “shooter” and “scorer” who can “always find a way” to get a shot “no matter what.” This is almost exactly what a person describing a ball hog would say, except they would probably use the phrase “Kobe Bryant” when doing so.
This would be like Rajon Rondo saying he doesn’t gun for big assist numbers by rationalizing things with “I just like to pass” or Rasheed Wallace trying to argue that he doesn’t take a lot of threes because that’s what the Knicks’ system demands. We don’t believe you, Kobe Bryant. You need more people.
But hey, ball-hogging has won Kobe Bryant five titles, an MVP and a sure-fire Hall of Fame bid. He’s taken this ball-hogging thing pretty far, so why stop now? Embrace it. Keep finding a way to get those 30 shots a game up. Someone has to be our Gunner General Supreme, and it’s been Kobe for a few years now. Let’s just keep the status quo. I feel like Kobe would be OK with that.