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Squashing the Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan debate: A fan’s take
Dwight Howard(notes) could join the Los Angeles Lakers and get Kobe eight rings. Bryant could score 101 points in a game, and none of this would ever change the fact that we've seen enough and the skill levels aren't even close.
Simply put, Michael Jordan did everything much better than Kobe Bryant, except for hit three pointers.
Scoring. Rebounding. Passing. Defense. Efficiency. Winning.
There are numbers and tapes to prove all of it, and yet somehow there are delusional Kobe fanatics out there declaring that Bryant is the greatest of all time. The "GOAT," they claim.
Folks, he's not even in the top 10 yet.
The argument has already been decided.
Every shot these ballers take, every pass they make, every steal they rake has been recorded.
What's the verdict?
Kobe's numbers are almost identical to Dominique Wilkins's, not Michael Jordan's.
Kobe's career numbers:
25.3 PTS - .454 FG% - .339 3P% - .837 FT% - 5.3 RB - 4.7 AST - 1.5 STL - 0.5 BLK
Kobe's playoff numbers (Mamba time?):
25.4 PTS - .448 FG% - .335 3P% - .815 FT% - 5.1 REB - 4.8 AST
The man has made some historic game-winning shots for the Lakers, but he's also missed a bunch, too. If you're a Kobe fan, you just happen to remember the ones the media keeps playing on a loop on ESPN; the highlights that contribute to the Mamba Myth.
As the numbers above prove, Kobe plays exactly the same in the playoffs.
So before we make a joke out of the Jordan-Kobe comparison, let's take a look at Dominique Wilkins's numbers. Wilkins was as awesome as Kobe, but he had the bad fortune of playing for bad teams in small markets.
'Nique's career numbers:
24.8 PTS - .461 FG% - .319 3P% - .811 FT% - 6.7 RB - 2.5 AST - 1.3 STL - 0.6 BLK
'Nique's playoff numbers:
25.4 PTS - .429 FG% - .281 3P% - .824 FT% - 6.7 RB - 2.6 AST
Basically, the human highlight reel was, like Kobe, the same player in the playoffs and their numbers are almost identical, save for the fact that 'Nique was a superior rebounder and an inferior passer to Kobe.
He was also less efficient in the playoffs, but guess why?
While Kobe has always had Shaq or Pau drawing defensive attention, the best players 'Nique ever teamed with were Doc Rivers and Kevin Willis.
In a defensive environment like the playoffs, not having help makes it nearly impossible to get a shot off—unless you're the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan's career numbers:
30.1 PTS - .497 FG% - .327 3P% - .835% - 6.2 RB - 5.3 AST - 2.3 STL - 0.8 BLK
Already, Michael is on a completely different level from Kobe or Dominique, but check out Jordan's demigod mutation in the playoffs:
33.4 PTS - .487 FG% - .332 3P% - .828 FT% - 6.4 RB - 5.7 AST
Take a long look at these numbers.
Now look at Kobe's numbers.
Get the picture?
<< Watch YouTube Highlights of His Airness if you're too young or don't remember >>
Understand that on top of all of this, Jordan was a defensive player of the year and a more vicious defender than Kobe, and if you still think that Kobe is better than Michael, seek help.
Unless you're 15 and never saw Jordan play and are speaking based on ignorance or have a homerish man-crush on Kobe, there is simply no excuse for comparing Kobe to Jordan.
Just like saying Dominique Wilkins was better than MJ.
That's how dumb it is.
And honestly, it's a disservice to Kobe, an all-time great, to continue to embarrass him with the comparison.
Compare Kobe to D-Wade and LeBron. Those three will battle it out for spots in the top 15, just get Jordan out of these conservations.
And you don't even have to trust me or the numbers, if you're that skeptical.
A few months ago, I wrote an article debating Dwyane Wade versus Kobe Bryant with a Laker Nation writer and included this nugget: "Phil Jackson, who knows their games as well as anyone in the world and coached both of them in their primes, told the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers about comparing Kobe to Michael:
"Kobe has patterned himself after Michael, and there are a lot of identical things there, but it's one thing to hope to be like him, it's another thing to be like him. We have to take Michael Jordan out of the equation. Stop comparing anyone to Michael Jordan. It's just not fair. He was remarkable. Kobe's in his own sphere… He doesn't shoot the same percentage [.455] as Michael [.497]. He has the same characteristics as Michael, but he's not the same player. It takes nothing away from him - he's a great player in his own right.'"
Phil nailed it. Because Kobe has emulated a lot of Jordan's moves exactly, people who don't know basketball or aren't keen observers get confused.
They see a similar fade-away or spin-move and they don't remember or don't know Jordan did it all more efficiently, faster, while hanging in the air a few more microseconds than mere mortals and with unmatched improvisation.
"Creativity, thy name is Michael."
Heed Phil Jackson's advice, Kobe lovers.
Take the emotion out of it and stop comparing anyone to Michael Jordan.
It's just not fair.
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