City Sports Report

Kobe Is Great, But He Can Never Be Michael

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Two greats but only one is greater: Michael (picture courtesy of www.cbssports.com)

Kobe Bean Bryant made history again in the NBA. But instead of making history for something no one wants to be known for (most missed shots in NBA history), he made some positive headlines. The 19th year guard of the Los Angeles Lakers has been known to fill it up on the basketball court. And on December 14th, history happened again for the Laker great. With two free throws midway through the second quarter, Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jeffrey Jordan on the NBA all-time scoring list, now owning third place all on his own. As the years have gone by and Kobe has achieved many levels of success, many have begun to chatter about Kobe being better than Michael Jordan. And to some, they believe that he is better than Michael. Both are great players, but there may not have ever been a Kobe Bryant without a Michael Jordan. And with that being said, Kobe will never be better than Michael Jordan.

Jordan was one of the first rare breeds of freakish athleticism wrapped in a 6’6” frame. We all knew him for his excitement and charisma for the game, but what many do not speak about is his defense. Jordan was dedicated to the defensive end from the start of his career. Jordan was named to the NBA All-Defensive 1st team nine times in his illustrious career. Now Kobe was named to the NBA All-Defensive 1st team nine times as well, but he was never named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year (Jordan won defensive player of the year in 1988). For a scorer the caliber of Jordan to be given that award so early in his career was unfathomable, especially from a guard. Another thing that Jordan accomplished defensively that Kobe never came close to was the steals title. Jordan led the NBA in steals three times in his career, including 1988. Kobe, for all his greatness, never led the league in that category in his career. Seeing Jordan and Kobe throughout their careers, I can definitely say that Kobe was not the defender that Jordan was in his career. Kobe gambled a little bit more defensively earlier in his career while Jordan was a little bit more stable on that side of the floor. Of course at the end of their careers, Kobe may have had more athleticism. But Michael had more defensive savvy at the end of his career in Chicago and was still considered a great defender at that point in time.

But Michael not only had the advantage defensively but offensively. Kobe Bryant is one of the best offensive weapons to play the game. He has great range and he also had the same type of versatility that Michael Jordan had in regards to going into the post game. In fact, Kobe can thank Michael for that facet of his game completely. Michael Jordan was one of the more prominent guards that could go into the post and dominate a game. In the Bulls second three-peat, Michael was almost exclusively in the post working on opposing team’s guards. And he would completely dominate guards down there at will. Just think about this: Jordan did not shoot a ton of three’s in the Bulls second three-peat, yet he led the NBA in scoring each and every one of those years. Of course, after Michael began to do this, Kobe took notice and began to develop that part of his game as his career went on. Kobe even went as far as to add the patented fadeaway jumper that Michael perfected before him. Of course Kobe has less scoring titles, but that is not the issue at hand here. Jordan seemed to be more efficient as his career went on and made things easier for himself. And he was still able to be as effective a scorer as he was when he first entered the league. Kobe is still an effective scorer, but it seems like he has to be a volume scorer at this point and time. And sometimes that is not the best thing for him and his team.

Offensively and defensively Jordan was better, but he was also better when it came to playoff time. Jordan seemed to always take it to another level in all phases when he entered the playoffs. Sans the one year he came back later in the season and the two years he missed for baseball, Jordan led his teams to the playoffs and also to the NBA Finals. And when he got into the Finals, he always closed the deal. Jordan averaged 33.5 points per game in the NBA Finals and he also was named the MVP of the NBA Finals six times. As far as Kobe, he has made one more NBA Finals appearance than Michael, but his scoring was much less impressive at the most important time of the year. Kobe averaged 24.7 points per game per his seven NBA Finals appearances. And unlike Jordan, Kobe lost two of his seven appearances. Kobe has killer instinct, but his killer instinct comes in second to Michael Jordan’s killer instinct. And to add more to statistics, Kobe was the MVP of the NBA Finals only twice. Of course most will talk about how Kobe played with another great player (Shaquille O’Neal) and that is why he did not win more Finals MVPs, but Jordan played with a great player also (Scottie Pippen) and he still lead those teams and won the MVP.

Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players of all-time and that cannot be denied. But as far as I can see, he is not better than Michael Jeffrey Jordan. And with the state of the Lakers, it is hard to see him adding to his legacy anymore besides maybe a scoring title and climbing up the charts more in the all-time scoring lists. Both are great, but Michael is the greater of the two.

For more sports conversation, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. ASR

    December 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    True Kobe is a alltime great this fact can’t be denied but the modern day NBA lends itself to give a decided advantage to offensively skilled players. Jordan would have averaged 35-40 points in the modern era

  2. Lee Love

    December 22, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Kobe is certainly up there as one of the greatest to play but I can’t realistically say he’s better than MJ. The facts speak for themselves and for those that haven’t seen just read or checkout youtube replays and the evidence is right there. Not taking anything from Kobe but of the 2 MJ ranks higher.

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