Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Blogs [Print without images]

Friday, November 7, 2008
THE MAG.COM PRESENTS:
ALL WORLD POWER RANKINGS



Oh, Kobe. You made us look smart.

WHEN IT COMES TO OUR GOOD IDEAS WHEN SELECTING "NEXT," WE'LL GO WITH KOBE BRYANT IN '98

[Ed's note: Not sure what All-World Power Rankings is? Please click here.]

Voting for NEXT 2009 begins on Monday, November 10th right here (it runs for a week). We've been doing this whole NEXT concept for the entire duration of ESPN The Magazine ('98 is when it started). In that time, we've gotten some right and some wrong. (Hey, it's a rough world we live in, ya know?) This is a list of the ones we think we've gotten right. For a list of the ones we think we've gotten wrong, please go here. Think we're patting ourselves on the back too much or missing the boat? Holla at us, dear reader.

TOP 5
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
1 (14) KOBE BRYANT ('98) Here's the first cover we ever ran. Note Mr. KB24 on there. This was spring 1998. At the time, he had no NBA titles. He now has three and while you can certainly make a Lebron vs. Kobe argument, likely over 50 percent of hardcore NBA observers would call him "the best player in the league." Heck, you think Shaq hates Kobe? Naw. He called him the best player in the NBA this past season.
2 (410) RANDY MOSS ('99) He's doing pretty well for himself since then, we'd argue. ( Uh, ignore this.)
3 (21) LEBRON JAMES ('03) You can holler at us and say that, at the time, this was a no-brainer. It probably was. Still, this counts as "a hit." Know why? 2007 NBA Finals. You're telling us you thought the Cavaliers would be there four years after drafting him? You're lying and frankly, your mother should have taught you a lot better.
4 (127) ALEX RODRIGUEZ ('98) We had a harsh debate about this dude at Friday happy hour a few weeks ago. Where do you come down: (a) one of the five most talented players ever or (b) total headcase/bust? The real answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but we'll say this: if he ever gets in a fight on Madonna's behalf, well, taking punches from Derek Jeter would hurt more. All those rings scraping on your forehead, you know?
5 (899) DWIGHT HOWARD ('07) Cue the peanut gallery: "Too soon!" Naw. This guy is a manchild. He could be in his first Eastern Finals in about a week.

HONORABLE MENTION
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
18 (144) BRIAN URLACHER ('02) He's probably the second-best LB since Lawrence Taylor, behind only Ray Lewis. He basically came out of absolutely nowhere. (Rebuttal: "Scouts had him high!") We're still proud of this one.
28 (701) YAO MING ('01) Nice e-mail exchange just now between Magazine EIC Gary Belsky and our boss, senior editor Scott DeSimon, regarding the value of this pick. Here's the debate: is putting Yao on the cover 18 months before he went No. 1 a sweet call, or is the fact that it took him this long to get out of the first round despite towering over everyone a deterrent? We'll let you decide.

RISING AND FALLING
MOVEMENT WHAT
ADRIAN PETERSON ('05) (He could become one of the top 5 RBs of all-time.)
JOBA CHAMBERLAIN ('08) (Not really "falling," just don't know what to make of it yet.)