ESPN Page 2 has an interesting column by Jemele Hill titled “Putting Kobe in Perspective.”

Is Kobe better than Jordan? Maybe, maybe not. The thing is — I don’t really care who people think is the better player. I don’t respect Kobe Bryant as a person, so I’ll always think higher of Jordan. Kobe is selfish. Enough said. No one can sway my opinion — I watched the 4th quarter of the Lakers vs Sonics, which, if my memory serves me correctly, ended up being his 8th straight game with 40 points in 2003. I don’t have a problem with Kobe scoring 40 against my hometown Sonics — I have a problem with the way he got there.

Bryant was stuck at 39 points with about 3 minutes to go with the Lakers ahead by more than enough to not worry about winning. However, every possession, the Lakers gave him the ball and he attempted to score by taking forced shots. It was obvious all he cared about was reaching his 40-point milestone. Rashard Lewis did a stellar job at defending him into missing about 7 shots. With less than 30 seconds to go, Kobe finally drew a foul and reached his 40 point mark with a free throw. Truthfully, if I was defending Kobe in that game, I probably would have shoved Kobe head-first into the stands. Since when is it acceptable to taunt a team by attempting to reach a point milestone when the game is clearly already in hand? Truthfully, Kobe shouldn’t have even been on the floor. In case Kobe missed the memo — basketball is a team sport. Since when is WINNING NOT ENOUGH? I don’t think Michael Jordan ever would have sacrificed his integrity by forcing shots to reach a record point milestone with a game already in the bag.

One quote really irks me as a reason Kobe is better than Jordan: “The NBA is tougher now” — meaning Kobe has tougher competition. Are you f**king kidding me? Nowadays, players may be stronger and taller, but it is absurd they are tougher. I’d argue exactly the opposite. Do you not remember how the Pistons, Bulls, and Knicks used to play? Easy lay-ups and dunks didn’t happen. If you went inside, there was a good chance you’d get a elbow by the likes of Charles Oakley, Bill Laimbeer, or Anthony Mason. NBA players play for the money now — there’s no comparison as to what generation of players was more passionate about the GAME. I think it’s a given that more passionate players will fight harder to win, meaning Jordan had tougher competition.

  • dan

    kobe is still getting better.

  • Mark

    The argument that the current players are taller and more athletic isn’t supported by evidence. The average height of NBA players since 1985 has been slightly over 6’7″, the tallest being 1986 and in the last few years, average height has actually dropped slightly below 6’7″. The common argument is that guards are bigger than they were when Jordan played but this would mean forwards and centres would have to be smaller to maintain the 6’7″ average. Clearly (just by looking at the players of today), this hasn’t happened.

    Average weight increased up until 1993 but has remained within 4 pounds since. Again, average weight has actually decreased in the last few years. This suggests that players are no more bulky/muscular than they were in the Jordan era.

    Speaking of athleticism, MJ could level his head at the rim (from the free throw line no less). Being 6’6″, this means his vertical leap was around 42 inches. There were a number of elite players in the 80s and 90s that could achieve this – similar to today.

    I’ve listened to a lot of the pro-Kobe arguments that claim MJ couldn’t dominate like he did if he were playing today. In every case, I’ve given the argument credit and then looked for evidence that would support the argument. In *every* case, I’ve found stats or video evidence that *refute* these claims.

    To get away from the MJ comparison, let’s just compare Kobe to Kobe over the different styles of defense he’s faced during his career:-

    MJ era D:-
    18.5 PPG, 0.454 FG%, 4.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG.

    MJ era D without first two years (full minutes):-
    24.0 PPG, 0.466 FG%, 5.9 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.6 SPG.

    Zone D:-
    26.8 PPG, 0.449 FG%, 6.0 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.7 SPG.

    Hand checking changes:-
    30.5 PPG, 0.459 FG%, 5.6 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.6 SPG.

    “But Kobe is improving” I hear the fans say. Well that may be the case. Back to comparing him with MJ – Jordan entered the league and dominated. He got injured and was out most of his second season, returns in the playoffs and breaks the playoff scoring record. The next year he averages 37.1 PPG. The next year, in response to claims he couldn’t play defense, he leads the league in steals, the Bulls in blocked shots, gets Defensive Player of the Year, League MVP, Leading Scorer and All Star MVP.

    “Kobe is better at Defense”. Kobe’s best year for steals isn’t as good as MJ’s career average (including his time at Washington). To be fair to Kobe, his stats are at a disadvantage due to the hand checking changes. Regardless, his best season occurred before the change.

    Without drawing a comparison, I’ll point out one other MJ fact that few people know. Towards the end of the ’89 season, Phil Collins ran MJ at point guard. For 24 games Jordan ran the show. He achieved 12 triple-doubles in these 24 games and had the following stats:-

    30.4 PPG, 0.498 FG%, 9.2 RPG, 10.7 APG, 2.5 SPG.

  • Mark

    Oops. Of course I meant “Doug Collins” in that last post – not “Phil Collins”. LOL.

    The latest Kobe fan claim that I’ve run into is “MJ only scored 40+ at the Wizards against poor teams and he took a lot of shots to show that he could still score.”

    Once again, I give the claim enough credit to make me investigate. What I found was that MJ scored 40+ eight times as a Wizard. Six of these 40+ games were against 0.500+ teams. Averages for these eight games:-

    PPG 43.8 (not that relevant given we’re talking about 40+ games).
    0.554 FG% (better than his reg. season career average).
    0.455 3PT% (better than his reg. season career average).

    Conclusion:- He scored 40+ in these games because he was hot.

    Another myth de-bunked.

  • Mark

    I was reading the comments above. Another claim in there somewhere is that Kobe’s FG% is worse because he has to take more shots than MJ.

    Discounting Kobe’s first two seasons (apparently it’s not fair he was a young player) and only taking his stats from his third season (when he was playing full minutes), it works out like this:-

    FG attempts per game – 21.1
    FG attempts made per game – 9.6
    FG% – 0.457

    Jordan Career
    FG attempts per game – 22.9
    FG attempts made per game – 11.4
    FG% – 0.497

    MJ’s FG% as a Bull was over 50%. It only dropped at Washington.

    Another point is that Kobe has to shoot so much because his team is no good. People forget that when Scottie and Horace first stepped on the court as Bulls, they weren’t much help. Only after working at it and coming together as a team under Phil Jackson, did they have success. Jordan’s FG% actually declined after the team matured and got their first championship in ’91. Shouldn’t it be the opposite if he had all these great players around him?

    Detroit is the only team to win a championship without a quality centre since the Bulls had their run. The Lakers couldn’t do it after Shaq and they’re only looking like they will do it this year after bringing in Gasol (an All Star). MJ did it with Bill Cartright and Luc Longly at the C position.

    This year, the Lakers might just get there but as Kenny Smith said after Orlando got Game 6 against Cleveland, “the Lakers are the most talented team in the world”. So no more “Kobe doesn’t have a supporting cast” tears, OK?

  • Aaron

    I’m a die hard chicago fan and this is a ridiculous argument. I found this song on the internet that says it all. Pretty clever. Search The Kobe Jordan Song. It is a stats war and the Jordan side clearly wins. No comparison.

  • david

    u said kobe will never win a championship lmao i bet u feelin stupid now! plus mj’s bulls damn near won the chapionship the years he retired before coming back so stop acting like jordan played with scrubs dumb asses! gasol avg 18 pts a game how much did scottie pippen avg with cicago more than 20 a game so the bulls were the most talented tea in the world too…and if simple stats made jordan the best then wilt>Oscar>jordan….but its not that simple kobe has 5 60 pt games(2nd all time, behid only wilt)25 50 pt games, 94 40pt games (both third behind mj and wilt)…lol also about that 81 pt game kobe shot for 28-46 (61%)while wilt shot for 36-63(57%) to score one hundred

  • Mark

    MJ also has 5 60+ games. One of those is the scoring record for the playoffs against Boston who won the title and ranked first in the NBA on defense. All 5 of those 60+ games were against 0.500+ teams.

    Kobe has 5 60+ games. None of those are in the playoffs. Only 1 of those 60+ games was against a 0.500+ team. In fact, the four against losing teams were against teams that went worse than 0.400 with one of them at 0.268 on the season.

    All of MJs 60+ games went to OT or ended with the score differential < 5 pts.

    2 of Kobes 60+ games were blow outs (including the 81 against a Raptors team that was second last in the NBA for Defense).

    The Bulls lost the ECSF both years MJ was out. That’s not “almost” winning the championship. That’s winning the first round and then going home.

    Kobe is an awesome offensive player. He can score. The only reason he makes All Defense is that there’s nobody else at SG in the league worth mentioning. Kobe has never led the league in steals. He’s only been in the top 10 three times and in the top 5 once. He’s never had more than 200 steals in a season.

    MJ is second all time in career steals and he only has less than Stockton because he played less games (higher average per game).

    Kobe has never won a ring without an All Star 7 footer. MJ got 6 with Bill Cartright and Luc Longley in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, those Bulls teams were great teams. MJ had a great supporting cast.

  • david

    i meant to say kobe has 1 more than jordan becuse when he scored 61 in ny he past mj. and he had scottie pippen? all star? and does it matter that pau gasol plays pf or sf it doesnt help is help they both avg the same with scottie averaging 22 a game during the champion ships…(pau gasol avg 19)and that 81 point game was from 20 plus down stop trying to distort the facts! plus the fact that jordan need over time to score 60 60 is just a testament to how amazing it is KOBE toppes jordan all time regulation only game (61) in only 3 quarters against 62 points in three quarter no player ever did that out side wilt stop tryna down play kobe i said mj is great but kobe is as well

  • Mark

    There’s no distortion of fact here. All I’ve stated is facts backed up by evidence – hard statistics.

    Kobe has 1 more regular season 60+ but MJ has one in the playoffs making it 5 each in their careers.

    The point Drew made when he wrote this post is that Kobe goes after stats and often it’s at the cost of his team. Kobe has 12 of the bottom 40 50+ games ranked by FG% and the majority of those are losses. In other words, he reached 50 points by shooting a lot, not by shooting well. I’m just adding to Drew’s argument by pointing out that 60% of Kobe’s 50+ achievements are against losing teams while 79% of MJ’s 50+ games are against 0.500+ teams.

    Yes, Scottie had good averages. More than Gasol in points. Scottie was similar to MJ though – not a player that added an inside presence. My point is that Jordan’s Bulls are the only team in memory that have dominated without a capable big man. If you put Kobe on that team instead of MJ, they wouldn’t have achieved two three-peats. No question.

    Did Kobe score more than MJ in a game? Yes.

    Is Kobe great? Yes.

    If you put Kobe’s overall game and his achievements in context with his opponents and defensive rule changes designed to favour offense, do they stack up against MJ and show he is better? No.

  • david

    my bad kobe only has five my mistake but regardless also i must mention kobe’s team won every game he scored over 60…and i kno for a fact jordans best game ver was a lost?/? i thought u said it was about winning… gues for jordan we wont meantion the negative only for kobe well do that

  • david

    this saids it all, “To suggest that MJ is the better scorer than Kobe because he had 8 of 13 seasons averaging 30+ ppg is wrong. Most praise MJ for his scoring while conveniently leaving out shot attempts. Shot attempts have to be in the discussion of scoring. During those 8 seasons of 30+ ppg MJ took 15, 544 fga’s. A look at 8 of Kobe’s highest seasonal scoring averages shows he has taken 13,535 (as of now). And at least 3 of those 8 seasons Kobe played with a dominant center that demanded shots. MJ never had to do that, he had the green light from day 1. So MJ only scored more because he shot more.

    People praise MJ for his 37.1 ppg but never mention that he took 28 (rounding it off) shots per game to get it. Kobe too 27 fga’s per game to get his 35.4 ppg. If Kobe had taken the extra shot maybe he makes it, maybe not, we don’t know. If he makes it he equals or surpasses MJ’s 37.1 average. Also for his career MJ took 23 fga’s per game( the highest since Elgin Baylor), Kobe for his career averages 19 fga’s per game. MJ scored more than Kobe not because he’s the better scorer but because he shot more than Kobe (or anyone else).

    In fact I believe the evidence shows Kobe is a better game by game scorer than MJ. Kobe’s 3pt ability gives him the edge. Of MJ’s 5 top scoring games of 60+ points, 4 of them were in overtime, one of those was in double overtime. Kobe has scored 81 points in regulation, 62 in 3 quarters, 52 in a half….and has moved past MJ for consecutive 50 point games…..Kobe has set scoring records 2nd only to Wilt. MJ played against bad teams also, he had every chance(especially during his selfish years) to get 81 or even 71, but didn’t, and he even needed OT to get 60+ most of the time. Kobe Bryant is the best scorer ever in the NBA not named Wilt Chamberlain.” jordan’s argubly the best but mark my words kobe will finish top five all time at the end of his career idc what yall say just appreciate kobe for what he is because hes done plenty things we’ve never seen before and he change the way ppl play oneone basketball by using countless counter moves to dominate

  • Mark

    The comparison of the 37.1 MJ season against the 35.4 Kobe season is flawed because you’ve rounded off. You’ve said “if” Kobe took another shot he “might have/would have” had a higher scoring season. He didn’t and he didn’t.

    For the sake of entertaining you, let’s look at the numbers (but don’t forget that Kobe had his 35.4 ppg season in the exact year they changed the hand checking interpretation to favour offense).

    Kobe 35.4 PPG, 12.2 FG, 27.2 FGA, 0.450 FG%, 2.3 3P, 6.5 3PA, 0.347 3P%, 8.7 FT, 10.2 FTA, 0.850 FT% in 41.0 MPG.

    MJ 37.1 PPG, 13.4 FG, 27.8 FGA, 0.482 FG%, 0.1 3P, 0.8 3PA, 0.182 3P%, 10.2 FT, 11.9 FTA, 0.857 FT% in 40.0 MPG.

    Breaking this down into what Kobe could have done better to have a better season average than MJ is more complicated than just saying “take 27.8 shots per game”. There’s a mix of free throws, three point shots and two point shots. FGA/FG% includes 3 point attempts and makes.

    We’ll break Kobe’s stats down and use season totals and games played to avoid rounding errors:-

    FG% for season 0.450.
    2 pt shots on the season = 2173 FGA – 518 3PA = 1655 2PA.
    3 pt shots on the season = 518 3PA.
    Percentage of total shots that were 2PA = 1655 / 2173 = 0.762
    Percentage of total shots that were 3PA = 518 / 2173 = 0.238
    Average points per shot attempt = (2 x 0.762 + 3 x 0.238) * 0.450 = 1.0071

    If Kobe had taken and extra 0.6 shots per game, on average, he would have scored 0.6 * 1.0071 = 0.604 points per game more. So 35.4 + 0.604 = 36.0 ppg (rounded).

    The deal breaker here is MJ getting more free throws per game and hitting a higher percertage of them in an era that allowed more hands on defense than in the 2005-2006 season. People forget that in 1986 the defender could push and steer the offensive player with a bar arm. Despite this, MJ got the line more often than Kobe (comparing these seasons).

    This is just one “what if” scenario. There are lots of ways to speculate and they really mean nothing because they didn’t happen.

    “What if” MJ didn’t wait until later in his career to develop a 3 point shot and average 0.427 on a season. His career 3P% is not far behind Kobe despite it basically sucking in the early years.

    “What if” MJ played 41 MPG in the 37.1 PPG season like Kobe did in his 35.4 PPG season? If you break it down to points per minute, MJ is even further ahead.

    “What if” Kobe took less three point shots and went after more 2 PT field goals at a higher percentage? Maybe he’d have a higher season average than MJ.

    It’s all “what if” and it doesn’t mean anything.

    None of this looks at defense which is again the reason MJ is regarded as the greatest. He wasn’t just the best offensive player, he was an unbelievable defensive player. In addition to 37.1 PPG, he averaged 5.2 rebounds (2.0 offensive), 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.5 blocks. Kobe averaged 5.3 rebounds (0.9 offensive), 4.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.4 blocks in his 35.1 PPG season.

    MJ followed his 37.1 PPG season with 35.0 PPG, 3.2 AST, 1.6 BLK that got him leading scorer and defensive player of the year, All Star MVP and League MVP.

  • Alex Kent

    Honestly, you guys are completely wrong. Your use of statistics is remedial at best. Did Jordan have more 60 pt games? Who has a better 3pt percentage? These are the wrong questions. Basically David and Mark don’t know what they’re talking about. The right question is, who helped their team win more games? Try using some REAL statistics guys. The way to identify who helped their team win more games is who had more win shares. A quick look at tells me that Jordan has 214.02 win shares for his career, while Kobe had 136.51. For their best single season, Jordan had 21.23 win shares while Kobe had 15.29. This would seem to point to Jordan being better. But, is Jordan even worth comparing Kobe to? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a 273.41 career win share and his best single season is 25.37. So is Jordan better than Kobe? Yes, but who cares? Kareem blows them both out of the water. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Who helped their team WIN MORE GAMES? Forget Jordan, we should be talking about Abdul-Jabbar. Quit wasting our time Mark and David.

  • Mark

    Thank Alex. Last time I looked, the post we were commenting on wasn’t a discussion about Kareem. If it had been, we would be making contributions relevant to Kareem.

    The Win Shares stat is interesting and has some value but the site does mention it’s an “estimate” and explains how it’s been formulated – it’s not a “stat” as such.

  • Alex Kent

    Of course the site needs to qualify the win share stat. I don’t dispute that. But, how is it any less relevant than any of the other stats in this thread? In fact, I’d argue that win shares is a better “estimate” of a player’s true talent level and contribution to his team than points scored, minutes played, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, etc. And the reason I brought up Kareem is because Drew obviously compared Kobe to Jordan because he thinks Jordan is a great player. And he used Kobe because many people argue that he is the best current player in the game (or at least best player still playing over the past decade). In terms of win shares, Jordan is fourth behind Kareem, Wilt Chamberlain, and Karl Malone. Comparing a current player to a past player is interesting, but Drew should be comparing Shaquille to the three above mentioned players. That would be more interesting then this example of sports navel-gazing.

  • Ok, let’s be real here — how the FUCK did Karl Malone get brought into this conversation? Last I checked, he had ZERO titles, zero scoring championships, and every other meaningful statistic.

  • Alex Kent

    Drew: Karl Malone got brought into this conversation because, while Kobe is pretty widely considered to be the best player of his generation, Jordan is not. KARL MALONE has a better win share, a better eFG% (which is his true shooting percentage, .518 to .509), has comparable ORtg (113 to 118) and DRtg (101 to 103). It is not at all clear that Jordan is even the best player of his generation. Malone is only lacking in that Jordan had more media attention and a MUCH better team surrounding him. I guarantee you, if Malone hadn’t been stuck with Stockton and Hornacek, you would be comparing Malone and Bryant right now.

  • This is absolutely the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. Name me one person who knows SOMETHING about the NBA that agrees with you that Karl Malone should even be in contention as the best player of his generation. Anyone who doubts Jordan is the best player of his generation, or in the top 5 ALL TIME, clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

  • Alex Kent

    Drew, you’re totally misguided. You’re like the Fox News of NBA analysis.

  • Wow, really? really? Who brought Karl Malone into this conversation? Oh yea, that was you. EPIC FAIL. Karl Malone is terrible — end of story!!!

  • alex kent

    All I’m saying is that Jordan is not unanimously considered to be the best player of his generation. He was surrounded by incredible talent and won a bunch of championships. But, the statistics tell a different story, If you were a GM in a fantasy draft, you would have to take Malone over Jordan. And honestly, in this draft, when it came down to picking a guard, I’d take Kobe over Jordan. Kobe is unanimously considered to be the best player of this generation.

  • Mark

    Jordan wasn’t always surrounded by incredible talent and was widely regarded as the best player in the league well before the Bulls started winning. Scottie had to develop into the player he became and IMO, would never have done what he did without MJ as an influence.

    You can’t look at Karl’s achievements without considering Stockton’s influence. Pick-roll. Pick-roll. Pick-roll. Without one, the other doesn’t get a mention.

    All of this depends on your definition of “best”. I could put down Kareem by saying he wasn’t the best passing centre or MJ because he didn’t rebound as well as Shaq. For me, “best” transends the stats. The way other players looked at MJ in awe, how they feared him and how they were defeated by him, that’s what defines “best” in my book. MJ was a guy who always found new ways to be great – he had determination and a will to win that few have matched. The stats (which are also pretty compelling) just support the notion. As a package of skill, stats and influence on the court, he’s hard to top.

    Everyone is going to have a different opinion. If you could boil it down to a single number that demonstrated greatness, perhaps someone is better, but the topic of this post was Kobe vs MJ and in that instance, MJ all the way.

  • Surrounded by incredible talent? Sure. But no one ever won a championship without a supporting cast.

    “Kobe is unanimously considered to be the best player of this generation.”

    Really? I know plenty of people who think Labron James is the best player in the NBA, so your statement is simply not true. End of story.

  • alex kent

    Come on, you’re telling me Jordan was regarded as the greatest player before he won his first championship? Back when he was known as a dunker and Bird and Magic were in their primes? And you have it backward on Stockton and Malone. It’s not that you can’t look at Malone without Stockton. You can. It’s that you can’t look at Stockton without Malone. Pick-roll. Pick-roll. Pick-roll. Malone got a short white guy from a no-name school in eastern Washington INTO THE HALL OF FAME! How can that greatness not be considered? And Drew, your post isn’t about whether the 2009 Lakers are better then the 1992 Bulls. It’s about individuals. So your last comment sucks.

  • Dude, I really hope you are just arguing for the sake of arguing. Saying Malone is in the same category as Jordan is absurd.

  • alex kent

    Dude, if you would actually read what I’m saying, then it wouldn’t sound so absurd. You just can’t get past the shoe contract and the cereal commercials. Think about what is going on on the basketball court, then maybe you would make a response that doesn’t suck.

  • Chris Anderson

    hmmm… the stats actually make a pretty good case. maybe alex doesn’t mean malone is as great, but that his value is similar to jordan. i dont think its that crazy.

  • hmm…maybe Alex and Chris are the same person?

    Regardless, Malone never won a championship. So there’s no question who added more value to their team. You forget that Malone lost to Jordan TWICE in the finals.

  • Mark

    It’s worth noting that all of this crap coming from Alex started when he decided one stat was worth more than the others – win share. As I eluded to earlier, win share is an estimate based on an arbitrary calculation that the author of basketball-reference came up with. It does very little in the way of examining every aspect of how a player impacts games. If you’re into this sort of thing, “Player Efficiency Rating” which was conceived by ESPN’s John Hollinger is a little more complete in its analysis. It looks at offensive and defensive stats and normalises them again league season averages and scoring pace. Again it’s just an arbitrary calculation but it’s a bit more complete.

    To answer your question Alex – Yes. MJ was widely regarded (not everyone agreed but most did) as the best individual player in the league before he had a ring. I’ve got plenty of games pre-91 where the commentary said as much. Remember 1988? MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Scoring Champ, Dunk Champ, All Star MVP? Ring an bells? Trying to say the guy was all dunks is crap – I’ll say it again – “Defensive Player of the Year”.

    Again it depends on your perception of great.

    If I was an NBA player and my team was up by a point and the opposition had the ball with 1 posession to play, my choice for the guy I don’t want to be defending out of everyone in this conversation is Jordan.

    If I was an NBA player and my team was down by a point and we had the ball with 1 possession to play, my choice for the guy I don’t want defending me out of everyone in this conversation is Jordan.

    As Drew said, you must be arguing for the sake of it. One of these folks that needs to have the last say it seems.

  • I heart me some Kobe. Buy me a diamond ring Kobe!

  • Pingback: One on One with President Obama on and My Favorite Michael Jordan Moment — My Thoughts on Microfinance, Life, Web 2.0, Blogging, and Business()

  • 10. Scoring

    Jordan scored 3000 points in a single season; Bryant hasn’t. During that season, Jordan not only averaged 37 points per game (compared to Bryant’s career-best 35 points), but he did so with two huge disadvantages. First, Jordan was playing in an era when hand-checking was permitted: defensive players were allowed to place their hands on a player at the perimeter. That means, on average, a player could put anywhere from 10-50 pounds of pressure on Jordan’s body, making it near impossible to get off a quick jump shot. Without hand-checking, Jordan likely could have gotten off many more shots during that season.

    Second, Jordan managed 37 points per game while only shooting 66 three pointers the entire season. Bryant shot over 500 three pointers to reach that 35 points per game average — he relied on his jumper to get him points while Jordan had to earn them the hard way, attacking the hoop.
    9. Rebounding

    Jordan was a far superior rebounder. Bryant has averaged over six rebounds a game only three times in his career and never managed to average more than seven rebounds in a single game. Jordan, on the other hand, averaged more six rebounds per game nine times in his career which includes a season in which he averaged eight rebounds per game. Jordan was particularly good at getting boards at key times in the game and could dominate that area in spurts to win when it counted. Bryant has never yet been able to do this.
    8. Steals

    Jordan average more than 2.2 steals per game nine times in his career while Bryant has managed this only once. Jordan filled the passing lanes for the entire game and was always a threat; Bryant seems to pick and choose when he plays that kind of defense. Thus, Jordan has better steal stats.
    7. Field Goal Percentage

    Not once has Bryant averaged more than 50% from the field for a season. Jordan, though, made more than 50% of his shots 6 times in his career without shooting nearly as many three pointers. That means Jordan was far more efficient offensively.

    Cavaliers Lakers Basketball
    6. Assists

    Bryant is getting much better at setting up his teammates but only once has he averaged six assists a game. Jordan averaged more than six assists three times, including a season where he averaged eight assists per game. There are many teams in the NBA that don’t have a point guard who can give eight assists — Jordan, however, was able to average that many assists and score 32 points a game at the same time.
    5. Blocks

    Jordan averaged more than a block a game four times in his career. Bryant? Just once. Since both guys are near identical in their height and weight, it’s obvious that Jordan was more dedicated to playing defense by getting his hands up in the face of shooters, resulting in far more blocks.
    4. Turnovers

    In his entire career, Jordan only averaged more than three turnovers per game in a season five times. But this was in the first six years of his career, which means Jordan got better at protecting the ball as he got older. Bryant has averaged more than three turnovers seven times but is inconsistent about it: his worst season was in ‘04-’05, when he had more than four turnovers a game, something Jordan never did.
    3. Off-Court Drama

    Although Jordan recently had a rather messy divorce, during his playing career he never created off-court drama the way Bryant has. First, there’s Bryant’s very public extramarital affair in Denver, which was an embarrassment to the Lakers. Let’s not forget Bryant’s pre-season tirade two years ago, asking for a trade then changing his mind and staying.

    The biggest off-court drama that Jordan ever had that greatly affected the team was the death of his father, something he had no control over. Luckily for the Lakers it has all worked out, but Bryant’s drama could have been avoided and needless stress is tough on a locker room.

    2. Dunking and the Shoes

    With Nike, Michael Jordan revolutionized the way we look at athletic shoes, which was in large part due to Jordan’s artistic performance in the dunk contest. Both Bryant and Jordan were dunk contest champions but the difference is Bryant’s performance was far from memorable. Posters of Jordan’s dunk contest are still sold today, whereas you would be hard-pressed to find a poster of Bryant’s dunks. Jordan’s flair created a sports culture (or maybe just cult) of sorts. Bryant, though, has not achieved nearly the kind of successful image Jordan did.
    1. Hardware

    Finally — and most importantly — it comes down to the hardware. Let’s run the numbers: Bryant has played 13 seasons, has one MVP award, four championships, one finals MVP and two scoring titles. Definitely impressive. But after 13 seasons, Jordan earned six championships, six NBA finals MVP awards, five regular season MVP awards, 1 defensive player of the year award and ten scoring titles. (Not to mention an NCAA championship and two Olympic Gold Medals; Bryant has only one Olympic gold medal.)

    There’s no denying Kobe Bryant is one of the most dominant players of his era. Years of hard work and training have resulted in a terrific game, very fluid and graceful, and he’s hitting the peak of his abilities. His career’s not over yet so we’ll see what else he has in store. But until then, when it comes to Jordan, nobody compares.

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