In 13 of his 15 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant has been voted onto the league’s All-NBA team, including nine straight appearances on the first team after 2011′s teams were announced on Thursday.
With five players selected to a first, second and third team each year, Bryant made the third team in his third year (1999), and again in 2005, the second team in 2000 and 2001, and the first team from 2002-11, minus 2005.
To further translate, Bryant has been selected by a panel of selected media members as a top two guard in the NBA for 60 percent of his career, and as one of the top six for 86.7 percent of his years.
Shaquille O’Neal used to join him as the center on the first team in the early portion of Bryant’s career, while Pau Gasol has now been there alongside him for the past three seasons, in 2009 and 2010 on the third team, and now the second team in 2011.
Yet another selection brings Bryant still further into elite status, just two behind record holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15). Karl Malone and Shaq are next with 14 total honors, with Kobe and Tim Duncan next with their 13. Duncan was a third-team selection in 2010, but did not make the cut this season. Malone’s 11 selections to the All-NBA first team are the most, with Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Pettit, Bob Cousy, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Michael Jordan next with 10 apiece.
Bryant would have to continue his torrid pace for two more seasons to catch Malone on the first team, no easy task with players like Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose in their primes, but would catch Abdul-Jabbar’s 15 with a place on any of the three teams in the next two seasons.