Kobe Could Surpass Wilt as Philly’s Best Player, But Not Best-Loved

Lower Merion product Kobe Bryant this week became the youngest player—at age 34—to score 30,000 points in the NBA. He could surpass Wilt Chamberlain, another Philly native, on the scoring list next season. But is he the best basketball player Philly has ever produced? “There remains an aura around Chamberlain — not to mention deep-seeded bile toward Bryant — in Philadelphia that may make it impossible for Bryant to ever rise above the Big Dipper in the city’s imagination,” Ben Watanabe writes. “Therein lies the problem for Bryant, because no one who is adored by Lakers fans can ever be embraced by Philadelphians, even if he is a native son. Chamberlain was born and raised in Philly, played half his 14-year career there, and still has devotees like Sonny Hill, the guru of amateur basketball in the city, and Harvey Pollock, the official scorekeeper for the infamous 100-point game, to spread the Stilt’s gospel. Bryant’s crew of promoters includes Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer, and that is about it.” [NESN]