Love him or hate him, one cannot deny that Kobe Bryant is one of the three greatest shooting guards in the history of the NBA. I firmly believe that if Kobe wins a ring without Shaq, he's Top Ten all time and universally hailed as the second greatest shooting guard of all time, behind his Airness, Michael Jordan, and just ahead of The Logo, Jerry West. If Kobe doesn't win a ring, he'd have gone deep in the playoffs in three/four seasons without Shaq, and essentially failed to win the whole shebang. I'd then have him in the Top 15-20 range all time. Here's two clips showing what future generations will probably recall when they hear the name of Kobe.
The 81-Point Game
Below is the infamous game where at the end of the third quarter, Kobe had 62 points to the Dallas Mavericks's team total of 61 points. Because the game was a blowout, Kobe decided to sit for the fourth quarter. Who knows what may have happened had he decided to be selfish and go all out for the record ? I think he would have hit 90.