The Miami Heat have already lost three games, and don't appear to be a threat to break the 72-10 record this season, however, the forming of the three kings might have a tremendous impact if the record falls this year.
There were a lot of reasons the Bulls broke that record, but perhaps the biggest reason was Michael Jordan felt he had something to prove that year. After getting knocked out in the playoffs the previous season and everyone wondering whether he was slowing down, he wanted to dominate everyone, every night, so no one would doubt him again.
Kobe may be similarly motivated this season. The whole off-season talk was about LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. The forming of a potential dynasty. Book deals had been signed before they stepped on a court, a nationally televised show announced LeBron's decision, people were counting up the rings for Miami already.
The talk of the NBA is not the Lakers. It's the Miami Heat. While many are giving lip service to the Lakers winning the title this year, it typically sounds like that talk is simply trying to make up an excuse as to why the Heat won't win. They started 24/7 coverage of the Miami Heat in ESPN to capitalize on their fame. Through all the media day interviews for every team, every player was asked what they thought about the Heat.
You can't help but think that Kobe and the Lakers are left thinking "what about us?". Granted, many people have picked the Lakers to win the title. In fact, perhaps more picked the Lakers than the Heat, but the buzz is all in Miami, and while I'm not a psychological profiler for the FBI, I bet this grates on Bryant like you wouldn't believe.
I bet he goes out there with that burning desire to stomp on everyone, to earn back the spotlight, to become the main story again, to shut up all those talking heads.
Yes, the Miami Heat might be the best thing to ever happen to Kobe Bryant, because it might motivate him to push the Lakers to the 70+ win heights. The Lakers are off to an undefeated start, and while it's too early to talk about the record (especially given a weak schedule that's home loaded for LA), the Lakers look focused this season.
It goes beyond the potential drive toward a win record though, the Miami Heat represent an opponent like none that Jordan ever had to go through. Wade and LeBron are legitimately top 5 players in the NBA, and if the Lakers could beat the Heat in the finals for say two seasons and Kobe wins two more Finals MVPs then the debate will really be on.
In my mind, Jordan still easily wins this debate, but if Kobe finishes with 7 rings and beats a legitimate superstar filled team in the NBA finals a couple times there will be plenty of ammo for Kobe supporters and the passage of time will further remove the talking heads from Jordan's greatness.
Will it happen? No. I don't think so. I don't think the Lakers stand a shot in hell at the 72 win record. I don't think they'll win the title this year (though clearly it wouldn't be shocking if they did), and I really doubt they can win two more.
However, the odds of Kobe ever making a legitimate case to top Jordan seemed nonexistent to me, but the Heat represent a villain team so disliked that they'll propel anyone beating them to new heights even if the stats (and especially the playoff ones) don't back it up.