Is Kobe Bryant a ball hog?

Originally Published: December 21, 2005
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Mention the name "Kobe Bryant" to any basketball fan, and you'll get a rapid stream of opinion. Sometimes it may be positive and sometimes it may be negative, but few players engender such a strong reaction from fan and foe alike.

Supporters will tell you Kobe is a Jordan-esque talent who has already proven his worth with three championship rings, not to mention Tuesday night's stellar 62-point outburst. Detractors consider him an egotistical stat fiend who was riding Shaq's coattails, not to mention an alleged criminal. Rarely will you hear somebody stake out a middle ground between those two positions.

Today I want to focus on a particular aspect of that negative impression -- Bryant's rep as a ball hog. A year ago the Lakers rebuilt the team around Bryant, and some skeptics had visions of Kobe launching 50 shots a game while the other Lakers stood around and watched.