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Jackson: Jordan better than Bryant

The SportsXchange

In his upcoming book, "Eleven Rings," former NBA coach Phil Jackson writes that Michael Jordan was a better leader, shooter and defender than Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Times published excerpts of the book, which is scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

In comparing the leaderships skills of Jordan and Bryant, Jackson wrote: "One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael's superior skills as a leader. Though at times he could be hard on his teammates, Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he'd yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had."

Jackson wrote that the most "pronounced" difference between the two players was their shooting ability. Jordan shot nearly 50 percent for his career while Bryant has made about 45 percent for his career.

On defense, "No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender (than Bryant)," Jackson wrote. "He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense."

Bryant responded to Jackson's assessments, via Twitter.

"The comparisons are apples to oranges," he wrote. "Wonder what the perception would be if (Jordan) played (with Shaquille O'Neal) instead. Different roles, different career paths."

Jackson wrote on Twitter that he was not putting down Bryant by believing that Jordan was better.

"Listen friends of (basketball)," he wrote. "Don't get hung up on words. I was most fortunate to have the chance to coach two of the greatest (guards) ever."
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