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Kobe and Jordan: A look back

Perhaps the most famous intersection in the careers of Michael Jordan, set for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame Friday, and Kobe Bryant came at the 1998 All Star Game. Jordan was in his 13th season, on theKobe Bryant and Michael Jordan 1998 All Star Game tail end of his iconic tenure in Chicago, Kobe his second, just ramping up his in LA. Rather famously, the two went head to head for much of the game, giving the crowd- and NBC execs- the show they were looking for. 

When it was over, Jordan's side had the victory (and MJ took the game's MVP trophy), and the link between the two, already strong, was more solidly forged. Wrote Selena Roberts in the New York Times:

"...Beneath the commercial fluff of this game, there was a basketball court and a challenge. There was the daring teen-age pinup, Kobe Bryant, who was staring into Jordan's watery eyes. And the 19-year-old kid, the youngest player to start in an All-Star Game, was on the attack. It was the perfect remedy for Jordan. He watched Bryant's helicopter dunks and playground moves add up to 18 points. But in the end, Jordan had 23 points, a 135-114 victory for the East All-Stars and his third most valuable player trophy.

''He came at me pretty early,'' Jordan said of Bryant. ''I would if I was him. If I see someone that's maybe sick or whatever, you've got to attack him. He attacked. You know, I liked his attitude.''

Jordan saw a little of himself in the player so often picked to slip into his place after he retires. And Jordan had to admit it was a fun matchup...

The fun continues from there. 11 years later, Roberts' description of Jordan's game could just as easily be written about Kobe, while Jordan's comments certainly seem prescient. 

...(Jordan) does not leap from the foul line to dunk anymore. He is a complete player now, but it was a process.

''Kobe is going to go through the same thing,'' Jordan said of the second-year Laker. ''When you come to these games, it's O.K. to have the creative game, but with good, solid basketball, you'll be able to play with anyone.''

Bryant is more flash than fundamentals at this stage, making him the perfect All-Star Game participant. But more than that, Bryant seems to have that certain something that makes him Jordan-like. Maybe it is the telegenic quality of Bryant, a player who makes teen-age girls squeal and high school boys grow their hair high like his. Bryant is not a starter for the Lakers, yet he was voted to start for the West.

It took Bryant to bring a somewhat docile crowd of corporate types and celebrities to their feet as he did a 360-degree dunk on a fast break in the first half of a game in which ordinary jumpers brought yawns.

Unless, of course, that jumper came from Jordan. He scored the first points of the game. Then he took Bryant's dunk and raised him a dunk and a couple of fall-away jumpers.

''He hit those two turnarounds,'' Bryant said. ''And I was like, 'Cool, let's get it on.' ''

And it was on. Everyone on the court seemed to clear the way for Jordan to face the future of the league in Bryant..."

While the road has hardly been smooth- even that game was a point of controversy, as Karl Malone was irritated that Kobe at one point waved off his screen in order to go one-on-one with Jordan- no player since Jordan has played the "Jordan role," whether through remarkable athleticism and skill on the floor, the ability to transform himself into a craftier and more versatile player, or the relentless drive and competitiveness to be the game's best, like Kobe.  

So while the comparisons and debates don't interest him (nor, given that Kobe is still active and building on his career, do they all necessarily make sense*), it's impossible to ignore Jordan's influence on Bryant's game. It's just too obvious. Take a look at the game clips below. Think those MJ baseline turnaround J's wouldn't look familiar to some of LA's 2009 playoff opponents?

Pretty uncanny. Los Angeles has experienced Kobe for so long that it's sometimes hard to remember he arrived as an (extremely mature) 18 year old, with signs but no guarantees of superstardom. Obviously I'm not the first person to notice the similarities (that train left the station over a decade ago), but it's fun to look back to a teenage Kobe and an aging Jordan to see how basketball's proverbial circle of life operates. Supernatural a player as LeBron James is, he's not cut from the same mold as Bryant or MJ (this is not a dig, but an aesthetic observation), rather something altogether different.

A few years from now, will there be an All Star Game in which Kobe passes the mantle on to the next next Jordan? Would they call him the next Kobe instead?

BK

*With that said, I don't think Kobe will surpass Jordan when it's all said and done. Remarkable as Kobe's career has been and will continue to be, the numbers and accomplishments of MJ are, frankly, kind of absurd. Particularly between '86-'87 and '92-'93, what Jordan was doing, whether measured by traditional stats or advanced metrics, was transcendent. In those years, Jordan never averaged fewer than 30.1 points a game (while going as high as 37.1), never shot below 48.2% from the floor (while five times going above 50%, twice nearly hitting 54%, stunning output for a guard), averaged six assists or beyond four times and 5.5 and up six times, and in all seven seasons led the league in PER and win shares (all with figures superior to Bryant's). And this is without even getting into playoff accomplishments or awards.

Take a look at Jordan's numbers, then Kobe's. The answer, at least to me, seems pretty clear. This is, by the way, more a compliment to Jordan rather than a dig at Kobe. But by the time it's all said and done, Kobe will have done a lot to make it a more interesting discussion, which is a testament to his skill. I wasn't really planning on getting into this- I found the history and the old NYT article more interesting, but figured it would eventually come up anyway, given the forum.

(Photo: AP)

 
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He was playing against slow pokes. Easier points blowing by those chumps.

Jamie,


>>> Is Gasol Kobe's Goose...or is he the Ice Man?


Liked them virtual crunches. Staying in virtual shape is a hell of a lot easier than staying in physical shape. LOL. As for duos and trios, give me the Prince of Los Angeles and his four Knights any day. We will best any of the 2-man or 3-man teams out there. Maverick and Goose were a great duo but it takes a lot more than just a couple of stars to win the NBA championship these days. The Lakers are more like a fully crewed starship than a 2-person cockpit jet fighter. Kirk and Spock and the entire Enterprise crew would be a better parallel to Kobe and Pau and the rest of the Lakers.


Tom

AG,


>>> Will the likes of Jordan, Kobe or LeBron stick out from the crowd of the "greaest players ever"
>>> that has accumulated over time! Will players keep getting better and better? Or will the guys
>>> we watch today, with wide eyes and open mouths but the pinnacle of our sport?


Thanks for the nice comments. We pretty much see things the same way. Like everything else in the world, time will pass and someday in the future, when AK’s and BK’s kids are running the blog and the Lakers have won 25 championships, there will be fans who never saw MJ, Kobe, or LeBron play and will saay that they probably couldn’t keep up with the latest greatest ESPN pimped superstar du jour. Of course, then Blitz’s kid will chime in that nobody was greater than Hakeem or Duncan or the Bulls, at such point my grandson LakerNick will point out that Kobe won 10 championships and Andrew Bynum was a better player than Hakeem or Duncan. LOL.


Tom

All I know is that more people hate on Kobe than they did with Jordan. As Kat Williams mentioned that the more people hate, the more successful you are.

Well, Jordan was NOT the greatest basketball player of all-time.
He was simply a great player. Jordan was probably the most SPOILED player of all-time!! Jordan did what he wanted to do, and the NBA COMPLIED!!
Jordan wants to quit the NBA for baseball, he does that. Jordan decides he's tired of basketball, and wants to come back to the NBA, no problem says the NBA; come on back!! Jordan decides that he can't play without his retired jersey #23, no problem says the NBA!!
The NBA COMPLIED WITH HIS EVERY WISH!! Fouls are a part of basketball right? NOT WITH JORDAN!! The NBA says: THOU SHALT NOT TOUCH MICHAEL JORDAN!!!
One time when the Phoenix Suns were playing the Chicago Bulls, in the NBA FINALS; Charles Barkely get called for a foul, that was questionable, and Barkely shouts at the referee: You know that's wrong man, I don't care if it is MICHAEL JORDAN!!
That statement speaks VOLUMES, as to why Jordan had the success he had in the NBA!!
Bill Russell has the most Championship rings of ANY PLAYER in the HISTORY of NBA BASKETBALL, right??? He also has the longest winning streak of CHAMPIONSHIP RUNS, right??? The Celtics with Russell, won the NBA CHAMPIONSHIP, a RECORD 8 TIMES IN A ROW, right?? So why is Jordan's run of 3 in a row, at two different times in his career, SO CELEBRATED!!!???

These are the things that really gets under the collar of basketball historians!! Also, if it wasn't for Scotty Pippen, doing ALL the dirty work: playing the toughest man on the court, saving Jordan from having to play the top scorers on defense constantly, Scotty taking KNOTS, and BRUISES to the HEAD, chasing the top scorers all night every game, and getting beat-up on the basketball court, Jordan may very well, STILL BE LOOKING HIS FIRST NBA CHAMPIONSHIP!!! What gets lost in the HOOPLA, is that JORDAN had GREAT TEAMMATES!!!

Finally, I go back to the testament of one of the TRULY GREAT MEN IN THE NBA: Wilt Chamberlain, who said in one of his final interviews, just before his death, concerning Jordan; Wilt said: "They talk about Jordan's scoring, but how many times do they talk about Jordan getting up off of the floor?"

That sums up my take on Michael Jordan.

Good morning CRUE!!

I don't think you can determine the GOAT in a team sport, unless you're talking GTOAT (Greatest Team of all Time) and even that's pushing the discussion into fantasy land. It's a team game and elevating any one great player over the rest I think disses the game itself to some extent.

That said, Kobe's the greatest LOL! I never liked MJ - too much hype and attitude - although no question a great player.

There's a really nice article in the OC Register today about Mbenga's trip back to Africa, for anyone who's interested. I really like this guy a lot. Hopefully he'll contribute even more this year. Can't wait to get back to Mbanging with Mbenga!

Is it October yet? I'm going to need something to get me through the next few weeks - this waiting is killing me.

BK,

Yeah, not to get all hippy and all, but Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan have the same kind of "energy" about them. I would argue that Jerry West was that kind of player, too. An assassin's energy. Just a certain competitive focus.

Magic Johnson was different. That man played with love. You could see it in everything he did. He just loved playing the game. Kobe loves playing the game, but he is driven to win. Magic played relaxed. He made the drama of the game seem fun, magical. Kobe/Jordan makes it feel more like warfare.

LeBron James? He makes the game feel like reality television. Shallow, exhibitionistic.

I hate reality TV.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

never,

"All I know is that more people hate on Kobe more than they did with Jordan."

There are several reasons for that:

1. Colorado.

2. Kobe's a Laker and there is a strong anti-Lakers/anti-Los Angeles bias in the United States.

3. All the media attention about the Shaq/Kobe feud: Shaq is funny and likeable; Kobe is/was not.

4. Kobe is cut from the same cloth as Jordan; however, Jordan had the Gatorade/David Stern marketing juggernaut COMPLETELY behind him for almost a decade; Kobe has not. As such, Jordan has been deified in the mouthbreather, backwards baseball hat-wearing plebian consumer nation out there while Kobe has not. Any competition with their "god" (Jordan) is emotional FELT as blasphemy and redirected in the form of hatred towards their competition (Kobe).

I see the next generation of marketing/media/propaganda juggernaut machine being revved up for LeBron James and it is producing a similar result. People generally believe what they're told, especially when it is convenient for them to do so.

It really does come down to those four things and little else.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

jackson will glue Mbenga to the bench for another year, they just keep him around for a practice player....but I think he has some game....it's a shame, put him on the Clippers and he'd probably be a 15/10 player....but it wouldn't be as fun of a journey, and in life you choose your path...like Ariza let his be chosen for him, Mbenga chooses the ideal environment.....I think Ariza will get beat up on pretty hard this year, alot of players will be shooting to avenge the ring he got...to show he got it on a team, not as a player. I think he'll probably average 12 pts and almost 5 boards, and be prone to injury....he won't have Kobe in his ear yelling at him to stop pouting or stay focused, he's going to be trying to figure out...."hey, what would Kobe do?" his mind will be distracted and it won't be in the game, I predict about 100 SportsCenter shots of Ariza with a towel on his head......

Was Malone right by being offended when Kobe waved off the screen? Opinions?
In all, you still have to remember the game is different just as it is different to compare Lakers 09' to Lakers 72', the players, the rules, the league changes, let's just appreciate that we were able to watch 2 great players. What makes it interesting though is they had the same coach. The time span in Kobe's championships, is a plus, it's like he had 2 careers, just as he has worn 2 different jersey numbers. I think that is a plus, not a huge one, but still a plus.

justanothermambafan,

"Is it October yet?"

I wish.

A big component of my being simply wants to go into a bear-like hibernation and wake up after training camp.

I feel like a six year old kid in early December waiting for Christmas.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Fun stuff to read. The Jordan/Kobe debate's been going on forever it seems and it will continue until another truly great player comes along to create his own undeniable legacy. LeBron's not that guy yet and I don't think he ever will be - nothing against his skills but the whole package is just too rare. I personally stay away from the "who's better" aspect of Michael and Kobe... I just remember how amazing Michael was, how glued to the set I was... and I marvel at Kobe - I have never seen another human being do what he does. Those of us who can appreciate good play without caveats, are truly fortunate to have been around during a time when both of these guys lit it up live and in the present.

IMO, Jordan is the greatest player of his generation, but his generation was one of the worst generations of basketball. The late 90s were the most individualistic period of American basketball ever. The rule changes to get back to earlier basketball and the success of international basketball teams (coached mostly by american ball players of the 80s espousing movement of ball and man) prove this point. Interestingly, it took a team concept coach like Phil Jackson to finally beat it into Jordan's head that he can't beat everyone by himself.

Jordan ruled over an expanding NBA that had not yet fished the sea of talent that was starting to come forth in the international game. Teams that were once 9 deep were now maybe 6 or 7 deep due to both expansion and a lack of players.

Add to that a total lack of opposition, or even 'Jordan Stoppers' as kobe sees today, and you can see why Jordan was tops. Kobe, Lebron, and Wade see alot more 6-6 to 6-8 defensive specialists on the wing nowadays than Jordan ever did. Hornacek, Starks, or G Wilkins aren't exactly Ron Artest, Dahntay Jones, or Michael Pietrius in size or strength.

IMO, a GOAT title also disrespects the greatness of the game before and after Jordan. the fact that kids born after 1980 were indoctrinated into Nike's culture doesn't help the game either. The game for me will always be greater than just Jordan. There's Jordan, but I will never forget guys like Magic, Kareem, Bird, Hakeem, etc. Nor will I ignore Elgin's sacrifices, West's jumpshooting skill, Maravich's command of the ball, or Russell's defense and leadership. To give Jordan that much credit is a slap in the face to all those who came before him.

He's not the greatest, he's one OF the greatest.

-end rant-

Jamie Sweet,

Based on stats, Kobe did not become more efficient with the arrival of Gasol. His efficiency has been petty steady for the past four years.

Gasol's efficiency, on the other hand, has skyrocketed. His career high FG% in Memphis was 53% in 2007. With the Lakers, he is AVERAGING a ridiculous 58% for two seasons. After teaming up with Kobe, Pau instantly became one the most efficient players in the league. He lifted weights for the first time in his life, and has become a stronger player, both physically and mentally. I'm not suggesting that Pau's improvement is entirely based on Kobe's leadership and the attention that Kobe draws on the floor (Phil, the triangle, and experience also played a role), but you are underestimating how much better Laker Gasol is compared to Memphis Gasol, as well as Kobe's influence on that improvement.

Gasol was an excellent player in Mem., but he was a boderline all-star at best, with a reputation of being soft and wilting under pressure. His reputation was well deserved after failing to win a single playoff game in 12 tries as the
#1 option. His #2 option was Mike Miller (an all-star by the way), and he had solid role players in Battier, Posey, Stoudamire, Jason Williams, and later Rudy Gay, as well as an excellent coach in Hubie Brown. No matter how you rationalize it, there is really no excuse for a player of Pau's caliber to be skunked in 12 tries. Those soft and "wilting under pressure" labels are pretty much dead now, and IMO, Kobe played a huge role in helping Pau shed those labels.

BK,
Funny how Lebron supposedly has passed Kobe or is as good as he is ... yet as MJ enters the hall of fame the one name constantly being linked/compared to him is the mamba

Mamba nation will concede that Kobe's idol accomplished far more than #24 has done so far. Using percentages as a metric, Kobe will probably never surpass MJ. The latter had a better shot selection, in particular MJ took far fewer 3s.
In general, Kobe just seems to take tougher shots.

Granted his shot selection might prevent him from ever shooting a better percentage but I dont think it'll prevent him from eventually being recognized as a better player and more importanlty from accomplishing more. Rather I think the more time he spends leading a very good team (ala jordan teams being good as well as evidenced by 55wins w/o him in the league) the less he'll feel the need to come out against an orlando team in the finals and go on a tear of like 20+ pts in the first quater. We've already seen evidence of this as mamba fans were proven right with Kobe willing to delegate more 1ce we got Gasol/Fisher etc and became a better team.

In the end I think what's most similar btw Kobe/Jordan is not their game but it's their maniacal competitive spirit which fuels an equally maniacal work ethic on the basketball court. When you add that to the talent each had/has, no nba record is safe. MJ came before Kobe and for that reason his legacy is not safe from Kobe's quest. Some of us believe that quest will yield an additional 4+ championships but only time will tell if that's just a pipe dream.

Regardless of the situation though, I think its too early for you to rule that retired MJ will trump retired Kobe. Then again I'm already of the opinion kobe will win that battle, so can't get mad at you for making the prediction especially given that the throne of G.O.A.T. still rightfully belongs to MJ.

On another note how about MJ vs Magic ... this is a purple and gold blog after all ... shouldn't you be comparing MJ to the greatest laker player ever (so far)?

justanothermambafan,

"I never liked MJ - too much hype and attitude "

Shame on you, that man has always lived up to his hype.

Dave M,

"Those of us who can appreciate good play without caveats, are truly fortunate to have been around during a time when both of these guys lit it up live and in the present."

Well said yo ... stan van gundy lebron/kobe comparison i think works well with kobe/mj comparisons too ... which is "you pick first and I'd be just as happy getting the other guy" ...

I'm just happy our guy's got a really good team and has an opportunity to win many more championships. Which means mamba fans get an opportunity to make a case for Kobe (albeit a subjective one) as being eligible for G.O.A.T. tag.

Yet another recent article on kobe/mj:
http://tinyurl.com/mtzobf

I like the part about the bulls being built around MJ but Kobe having to find his way within the lakers.

Anywho yo ... this is MJs moment ... shout out to #23 on his hof induction ... we are not worthy ... lol


I was watching the 1991 NBA finals game 5 between the bulls and the Lakers..A few things crossed my mind..For one, there was a scary segment in there where Magic said he might retire at the end of the season..Amazingly he did,but for different reasons..

Did Magic know he had HIV during the NBA finals that year? It seems that he did and it was eating at him and his play.

Jon K,

Your statement "People generally believe what they're told, especially when it is convenient for them to do so."

It is 200% right, and thats how marketing works. Kudos. Jordan was the commodity marketed by NBA, and now its Lebron. However, we all know who is the greatest, dont we?? (If not, its the guy wearing #24 jersey in Lakers)

Kobe has a better midrange game, Michael was better at driving. Both were similar defensively. The difference is in basketball execution at crunch time. Kobe with three minutes left and a five point lead is much more likely to throw up a three with a hand in his face and 14 seconds left on the shot clock!
It must kill Jackson when that happens.

In fairness to Kobe, his numbers might not be as good as Michael's, but we've got to remember that when Michael retired to play baseball, that team went to game seven of the NBA Eastern Finals withOUT Jordan. None of Kobe's teams during the past 7 years, including this championship team, would have made the playoffs if he wasn't playing.

Julius Erving, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are all cut from the same mold. I am so lucky to have watch all three.

Magic and Larry were both cut in the same mold as well.

Scottie Pippen and Lebron James are more the same.

The only player I have heard who resembles Kobe in the last 1o years in DeRozan, 1st rd draft pick form the Raptors.

Jon K, thanks for the reply in the last post, I enjoyed your perspective being where you are.

Since we talked about the West, Northwest, northeast, and midwest, should we even begin to discuss the psychological underpinnings of the South?

What's the word limit on posts AK or BK?

=)

Kobe is not better than Jordan
Kobe is not better than Magic

None of them are as good as Russell

Posted by: zen | September 11, 2009 at 12:02 PM

I don't remember him saying he was going to retire at the end of the season, but I do remember the Lakers planning on making him into a forward the next season.

IMO, he was a step slower, but in addition to that his teammates were a step slower as well. Can't be a great point guard if you have no one to pass to or that can run with you on a break.

Taliq-

I think the Kobe/MJ comparisons are so thick because the similarities between the two are so obvious, plus they had crossover in their careers, and very early Kobe was deemed "the next Jordan" in terms of his career development. That's why I didn't compare him to Magic- it's not as apples to apples. Not to mention, the article I found was about Kobe/MJ and that particular game :). I agree that there will be places in which Kobe could or will eclipse MJ (notably in cumulative stats and, Lakers fans hope, rings), but on a year to year basis, it's hard to deny Jordan.

What I really hope, though, is that the debate doesn't devolve into some "hater" fest. Namely saying MJ is better is hating on Kobe, or vice versa if that's the case. By definition, the level of respect inherent in deciding who is the best player of all time, or the 10 best or the best at a position or whatever is so deep that you can't "hate" on a player for not putting him on top. The conversation itself is a sign of respect.

Jon-

I definitely agree about the "energy" thing... but you know I won't agree about LeBron. He's an incredible player, and I love watching him.

BK

On BSPN classic, they've been re-playing some of Jordan's greatest games. I watched a few last night & it really strikes me how much alike Jordan and Kobe are. Not to dis Jordan, but I think we've really under-appreciated what Kobe does because we saw Jordan do it first. But I swear Kobe is every bit as good as Jordan was. Seeing how good Jordan's teammates were in Chicago, Jordan didn't do it alone. I'd bet Jordan couldn't get Smush and Kwame into the playoffs, much like he didn't get the Wizards to any post-season play. Oh wait, he did have Kwame, in addition to Stackhouse, Oakly, Laettner and Larry Hughes. Yet they still didn't make the playoffs. Jordan will be one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood, but to say Kobe is not in his league is not accurate.

Matt

Kobe is not better than Jordan
Kobe is not better than Magic

None of them are as good as Russell

Posted by: owenfromburbank | September 11, 2009 at 12:19 PM

That's certainly not unreasonable. However, I do respect eras and I can't say that Russell's era had the competition that the latter players had, nor did the latter players have the certifiable HOF players and coach that Russell did.

But at its essence, Russell had 11 rings and gets tons of respect from me.

I just broke this story, bitches.

I'm a real journalist now!

"Jordan sends coded message to Lakers"
http://lakerbago.com/2009/09/11/jordan-sends-coded-message-to-lakers/

I'll say one thing about 90s era basketball. It has some nice Laker bookends to it.

#4,


Damn, you must have been a pretty good point guard because you know basketball. Aside from the apples and oranges problem, it is really crazy to try and label one player as the G.O.A.T. considering the different positions and eras played by the candidates. That’s why you can put together a coherent argument supporting any of a half dozen great superstars as G.O.A.T. Personally, Magic is probably still my G.O.A.T. but Wilt, Kareem, and MJ are right there with him and I could easily support them. And in time, I have no doubt that Kobe will prove his right to be included in that elite conversation.


I also thought your point about no MJ stoppers was very relevant as was your point about the 90’s being pretty lackluster compared to eras like the 70’s and 80’s. I know the “Jordan Rules” referred to the defensive strategy employed by the Pistons against MJ, but a more appropriate application of the name to me was using it to explain how refs allowed MJ to blatantly push off Byron Russell before nailing that championship clinching jumper we see replayed over and over. That’s an edge that Kobe has never had and one that Wade and LeBron now seem to have inherited. Instead, we now have the “Kobe Rules” which allow defenders to body and brutalize Kobe anywhere on the court with no fouls.


With MJ going into the Hall of Fame today, we can expect more pro-LeBron and anti-Kobe sentiment as ESPN and their biased east coast corps of media manipulators tries again to skip over Kobe and crown LeBron as the true king of the sport even though he may NEVER make it to the NBA Finals or win a championship ring. LeBron will be the Dominique Wilkins to Kobe Bryant’s Michael Jordan. He does not have the killer instinct or leadership character to ever become the G.O.A.T. in my not so humble opinion. You can put that asterisk next to his name right now. Great player who could not win a championship much less even make it to the NBA Finals. He is G.O.A.T. only in him mind.


Tom

Jon K, I liked the energy or 'vibe' analysis on Kobe, Jordan, and West. I'd even add Larry to that sort of player. They are just cold hearted players. They like to win on your weaknesses, both mental and physical.

Magic, it seems, liked to win on his teams' strengths. Joie de vivre that no other player than say Pete Maravich or Isiah Thomas (pre bad boy era). These overlap to an extent, but suffice it to say, Magic was okay with wounding you. The other 3 would wound you, put salt on the wound, and deny you any first aid. Ruthless.

Jon K - that's it EXACTLY. The feeling a kid has waiting the 3 weeks or so before Xmas - it's an eternity that eats away at your very soul LOL! I need another drink...

Taliq - sorry Sherrif but I think you misunderstand what I meant when I said MJ is too much hype and attitude. The hype that came when he played was already overblown (see Jon K's posts on that). I mean the hype that goes on now. It's everywhere. The rabid MJ fans who denigrate Kobe's talents and then some. Who put MJ in the same class as god, for crying out loud. No question MJ was a great player - one of the greatest ever. But the GOAT?? As I said - there really should not be a GOAT discussion in a team game IMHO. Too many variables to quantify. That being said - I've seen them both play and I'll take Kobe Bean Bryant every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

LakerTom, thanks for the reply and the compliments. I like to believe I'm not 'old' but I'm an old basketball soul. Simply, we as basketball freaks can't ignore the greats just because there is something new or something the media pushes.

My perspective changed on 'new is better' when I watched a movie on Pete Maravich. Basketball wasn't lackluster or as stupid looking as they make it look when they show black and white footage with that basketball whistle song. Pete was awesome, his dedication freakish, and his skill unfathomable. I started to look at older players in a different light. West was simply a majestic shooter and I'll even say that I enjoyed watching Cousy dribble the heck out of the ball before I knew any better.

Kids today, or even from my generation are enamored with the latest and greatest. They show they have no perspective when they talk about Jordan being GOAT. GOAT is saying way too much, IMO, especially coming off a time that had just featured Dr. J, Magic, Bird, Kareem, etc.

Lebron's followers are afflicted by the same sort of media saturation that MJ got (and Kobe lost). However, I believe Lebron has had his epiphany yet, and may never get that; more like Dominique than Michael, or Vince/T-Mac than Kobe. He has no Phil Jackson or Pat Riley on his bench, but is treated like royalty (King James). I don't hate the guy, and he's freakishly incredible, but he's missing elements of a dominant basketball player. Athleticism isn't all there is to dominance.

BK,


>>> With that said, I don't think Kobe will surpass Jordan when it's all said and done.


>>> Take a look at Jordan's numbers, then Kobe's. The answer, at least to me, seems pretty clear.


I am going to disagree with you, Brian. As great as he was, #4 is correct in his post that Jordan did not face as tough a competition to win his titles as Kobe has. The Jazz, Supersonics, Suns, or Trailblazers whom the Bulls faced to win five or their six championships were not really very difficult opponents. I think the Celtics of two years ago and the Lakers of last year were superior teams as are the Lakers primary potential opponents this year – Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, and San Antonio.


I also find it interesting that you are now using individual stats as a way of proving that MJ was better than Kobe. I don’t buy your argument that the stats PROVE that MJ was better. The differences more realistically reflect the makeup and needs of their respective teams as their individual talents but I expect we will start to see a lot of pro-MJ and anti-Kobe media go that route now that it seems obvious that Kobe has a real shot to surpass MJ in championship rings. I also believe that MJ got breaks from the refs that Kobe has never gotten, which just add to the inflation of MJ’s stats.


Finally, as you always point out, Kobe still has many years of accomplishments to add to his resume before a final face off can be conducted. If Kobe leads the Lakers to another 4 championships in the next 5 or 6 years, he will end up with 9 rings. If that happens, I believe there will be a consensus among NBA fans and the media that Kobe was greater than MJ and the prevailing attitude might be one of sour grapes for the MJ lovers to tout and pimp his inflated stats as proof he was greater.


So about the only thing we will ever be able to agree upon is that MJ and Kobe were two of the greatest NBA players ever. You say Jordan. I say wait until Kobe is done because he will prevail.


Tom

It's nearly impossible to compare Kobe and Jordan based on stats. There are too many variables involved: rule changes, quality of teams, expansion teams, being the #1 or #2 option, coming into the league after high school versus college, treatment from the refs, marketing, number of elite international players, the evolution of offensive and defensive schemes, the increase in athleticism of the average NBA player, salary caps, players copying and learning from prior generation players, etc. etc.

This is far from scientific, but when I compare Jordan and Kobe, I try to picture Jordan playing on Kobe's Lakers and vise versa.

If Jordan were playing with the most dominant big man in the league instead of Pippin, the offense would have revolved around Shaq, which would lower Jordan's stats. Jordan would have less shot attempts, and more of his shots would be from the perimeter, thereby lowering his points and FG%. Jordan would be forced to limit one of his most lethal weapons (driving to the hole). Without Pippen, Jordan would also be forced to guard the opponent's best perimeter player, which would further limit his effectiveness on offense.

If Kobe were playing with Pippen, Pippen would do the dirty work and guard the opponent's best perimeter player. This would give Kobe more opportunities for steals and blocks from playing help defense. Pippen would also play the point forward position, which would give Kobe the luxury of focusing more on scoring. His FG% would be much higher without Shaq clogging the lane. If you look at Kobe's stats when he did not have a legit post presence, his numbers are comparable to Jordan's.

Let's break it down:

Outside shooting and range - Kobe
Driving to the hole - Jordan
Post up game - Even
Ball handling - Even
Creativity - Even
Work Ethic - Even
Ability to play hurt - Even
Passing - Even
Defense - slight edge to Jordan
Rebounding - Even
Clutch - Jordan for now, but Kobe has about 6 more years to surpass him in this catogory

I'm not saying that Kobe is better than Jordan, not yet anyway, but they are MUCH closer as players than what the stats suggest.

Good Morning Everyone..

I must admit i have read some really good points on both players today...
Let me begin with "It feels like a reality television"...Thats Lebron James summed up perfectly..We live in a reality TV era..And Lebron James fits that mold perfectly...

The energy point is also good....Magic had a smile that said to fans "bring your family to see my team play,i promise you it will be fun"...And people did..

Jordan,Bird and Kobe..They say "Come and watch us play and tear the throats out of our opponents "...And see Kobe and Jordan fly around the rim while team mates stand and watch...That was early Kobe and Jordan...

I grew up with school mates who got hooked on Jordan...I didnt...Because while they got hooked in the 90's,i had already been hooked for 13 years on this other guy named MAGIC JOHNSON...They got sucked in by the high wire act..I got sucked in by SHOW TIME and the Celtics..

What a shame these Lebron fans missed such a great era and have been brainwashed by Sports drinks,Sneakers and Video games...

Lebron thinks he is old school like the others..The guy has no hardware to back it up.....AND I LOVE IT.........Little bratt..

LakerTom-

All of it is somewhat subjective, even the numbers (the data is the data, but people apply them in often subjective ways). Kobe supporters tend to de-emphasize statistical comparisons in favor of other things, be they questions about the level of competition, team construction, or the like, generally because on a statistical basis Kobe doesn't match up as well. Certainly the notion that MJ got calls Kobe never did is completely subjective, and not necessarily reflected in the data on their careers. The numbers are a guideline (an effective one, I think) but it's not like they're the only thing that goes into the pot. Jordan's postseason accomplishments were remarkable, not just in winning titles but how he played en route. He piled up awards and honors, and so on. All of that matters.

Rings do to, and they're part of the equation. I certainly think Kobe has a great shot to catch or even pass MJ, but if he ends up with seven or so, does that make him greater? Are rings the only measurement? Is Robert Horry a better forward than Karl Malone? And Russell would be better than both of them. Again, it's all part of the same pot. I happen to come down on the side of Jordan, certainly for now, and think it'll be tough for Kobe to pass MJ. I also think it's a fun, but not particularly important argument.

Like I've said, all I hope to see is that neither "side" feels the need to tear down the other just to get "their guy" ahead. We're talking about two of the greatest players in history.

BK

Kobe and Jordan at least played the same position / role, but how do you possibly compare players at different positions in a team sport and conclude who is the best of all time?

I just watched some ancient, grainy video of Chamberlain that refreshed my memory. Wilt made plays on both offense and defense than I honestly believe no other player could have made. I can't say that of anyone else. Many of them, like Wilt's 100 point game, have no visual record.

When I was in 6th grade, my mom - presumably following the advice of some uppity co-worker - bought me the first edition Jordan's. "All the kids have 'em, why doesn't yours?" was the mindset that the idiotic co-worker struck into my mom. The kids at school were awestruck. They gave me "props" and "street cred" for rocking my J's.

To me, they were nothing more than kickball shoes. I wore them out in probably 2 months. The kids were pissed. My mom was pissed.

Both were clueless.

I never gave a damn about Michael Jordan. 25 years after that first pair of J's, I still don't! To this day I am boggled at the notion that Mama Banner Holder, who taught me everything I know about the Purple and Gold, would stoop to the level of buying me a non-Laker's basketball shoes.

I don't own any of Kobe's shoes either, mind you. But I'm co-signing w/the Blog Patriarchs. The Banner Holder never drunk the Jordan Gatorade. Never have - never will (didn't Magic do a series of 7UP commercials when they were running that slogan?).

LakerTom and BK,

I'll wait til Kobe's career is over to pass judgement on Jordan and Kobe.

Still, if there is one consistent thing we can say, Jordan had no peers per se, while Kobe has had to play against at least artificially created peers like Vince, T-mac, Lebron, Wade, Pierce, Shaq, Duncan etc. Some would argue, the man himself (Jordan) was an early comparison they made. And this is not to mention Kobe stoppers, or the fact that players of that generation featured 'the next Jordan' i.e. a 6'5"+ athletic shooting guard. Jordan didn't have to deal with guys trying to be exactly the same thing as him.

Of course, this begs the question whether Jordan was peerless due to lack of talented competition or because he was that much better. I believe its from lack of talented competition.

Anyways, I'll leave it at that. Kobe's not ready to be judged yet IMO, but as much as we handicap Kobe for his circumstances, we have to keep Jordan in context as well.

Lakerbago,

Just awesome.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Thirty2-

'The energy point is also good....Magic had a smile that said to fans "bring your family to see my team play,i promise you it will be fun"...And people did..'

Great line...simply great. My friends all got hooked on Jordan too, but Magic (and B. Scott) got me first.

I remember watching a game at the forum with my family, and it was a midseason game against the Cavs or something. I forget to be honest. But the part I remember most? The game got a little tight, and Magic get's a rebound, starts a break, throws an absolute bullet of a pass to Worthy, who sails in for a dunk.

Magic, running down the court, turns and points TO THE ENTIRE ARENA. Pumps his fist. Time out Cavs (or whoever it was). Unlike any player, he played for his team and for the people in the arena, and ultimately for the city of LA.

BK,


>>> Like I've said, all I hope to see is that neither "side" feels the need to tear down the other just
>>> to get "their guy" ahead. We're talking about two of the greatest players in history.


That is something we can both agree upon. As for tearing down players, I leave that for my LeBron conversations. Somebody has to offset the ESPN inspired constant media blitz for LeBron. How can you compare a relative “rookie” with no rings and 1 MVP to a proven veteran like Kobe or legend like MJ? You can’t. That’s why I LOL every time a LeBroniac states that the King is the greatest ever. King of Cleveland is like being a top carp in a fish bowl. Classless and destined never to win it all. That’s my description of LeBronze. Can’t stand the guy, his face, or his attitude. A physical marvel for sure. But the G.O.A.T. when he has not even made it out of his conference? No way! Dude sucks eggs.


Tom

Personally, though I know this discussion is inevitable, I highly dislike the "who's better" discussion between individual players.

Part of that may arise from having to bear the cruel slings and arrows of LeBroniacs for the last couple years screaming "KOBE SUCKS!" in my ear at local watering holes.

Part of it arises from the immaturity of the argument which reminds me of two comic book geeks [keep in mind that I was once a comic book geek] arguing over whether or not Batman would kick Moonknight's butt. [You can't compare heroes from different universes (DC versus Marvel), just like you can't compare players from different eras. It just doesn't work.]

Part of it arises from my distant memory of a pre-Jordan universe where I don't recall this kind of discourse about INDIVIDUAL players. It was more about teams in who was better and the conclusion of that debate would eventually be revealed on the court, not over pints of beer or through blogs.

My final point is this: Basketball is a team sport, something we were more aware of in the pre-Jordan universe. All this discussion of the individual merits of players directly parallels the acceleration of individual players as marketing tools to sell products, services, and even cultural ethos. As players have become celebrities and, with their celebrity status, more effective marketing tools, it has been more pertinent for the economic-forces-that-be to facillitate these kinds of discussions... because these types of discussions facillitate a greater focus on the merits of individual players...

..which increases the focus on individuals in the game...

..which increases the celebrity status of individual star players...

..which makes these super-star players better marketing tools...

..and more effective tools for selling products, services, and cultural ethos...

..which serve the individual interests of the economic-forces-that-be (e.g. David Stern)...

..while only sacrificing a true understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the game AS A TEAM SPORT among the greater public.

In the end all this discussion of who's best ultimately demeans some great player and distracts us from what is truly important and rational.

So, while I am a huge Kobe Bryant fan and I deeply respect Michael Jordan as a player, what will always be more important will be MY TEAM and that TEAM is the Los Angeles Lakers.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

justanothermambafan,

"That being said - I've seen them both play and I'll take Kobe Bean Bryant every day of the week and twice on Sunday."

On the one hand I want to crucify BKs post as being hateration, and on the other hand I find your statement above a complete diss to Jordan.

I guess I'm off the opinion that the Gap between both MJ @ his prime and Kobe currently is not significant enough for you to pick either over the other every day of the week. As your post literarily implied and as BKs simplistic percentages proof seems to imply.

BK,
"What I really hope, though, is that the debate doesn't devolve into some "hater" fest. Namely saying MJ is better is hating on Kobe, or vice versa if that's the case. By definition, the level of respect inherent in deciding who is the best player of all time, or the 10 best or the best at a position or whatever is so deep that you can't "hate" on a player for not putting him on top. The conversation itself is a sign of respect."

And with that bit of verbal gymnastics, the sheriffs office will have to drop any hateration charges lobbied your way.

Darn it, I'm not sure who I like more, Kobe or MJ. I feel like I am betraying my mamba oath. Argh!! Kobe win some more rings already so so so ... argh now I see y some folks will never place another player above Magic ... sometimes a guy lays a body of work down that's so effing beautiful, you can't help but go yeah even if kobe wins another 20 I'd need to see him beat MJ on the court before I rank him higher ... the same can be applied to red/pj, russell/wilt etc etc

Game recognizes game ... With every passing year Kobe will definately build a stronger case for G.O.A.T. consideration ... but like most have pointed out ... comparing eras is almost always an excercise in futility ... it's like declaring the cavs champ on paper, or lebron king on paper ... lmfao ... is it october yet?

Thirty2,

"I grew up with school mates who got hooked on Jordan...I didnt...Because while they got hooked in the 90's,i had already been hooked for 13 years on this other guy named MAGIC JOHNSON...They got sucked in by the high wire act..I got sucked in by SHOW TIME and the Celtics.."

Dude, go watch video of Showtime (and the accursed Larry Bird-era Celtics) and compare that to Jordan-era Bulls. Sure, the Bulls were darned good, but Showtime just played beautiful ball. It was a true pleasure to watch.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

BK,
[Rings do to, and they're part of the equation. I certainly think Kobe has a great shot to catch or even pass MJ, but if he ends up with seven or so, does that make him greater? Are rings the only measurement? Is Robert Horry a better forward than Karl Malone?]

Umm rings ain't the only measurement, but Tim Duncan is a no brainer over Malone cuz of multiple rings vs 0 whilst being star forward on your team. Horry wasn't a main guy on LA so silly to enter into a Malone vs Horry debate.

Bottom line just as using rings alone is silly ... using say shooting percentage alone is silly ... the argument LakerTom and several others are making is when you sum it all up stuff like how many rings kobe won will make up for stuff like "why was his shooting percentage much lower" ... I mean who knows if LBJ/Dwade will end up on the same thing, be declared a lock for the next decade only to have an aging kobe fend their team off and in doing so cement his place as g.o.a.t. ... point being, our boy Kobe rocks so much, that it's kinda silly to be counting him out of the game so early ... even if it's to pay homage to MJ.

whew ... I've got my mamba swagger back

It's impossible to really compare players in a team sport even when they are playing during the same time period, because of the effect that teammates have on the game their teammates. (The proof is in the argument over MVP every year.) To try and do so when they play in different time periods is really an exercise in futility. Not that that ever stops us.

Were they clearly the best player the majority of the time they of their era? Jordan definitely was. I don't think you can say that about Kobe. He certainly was for part of his era. But Shaq was, too. And a good argument can be made for LeBron for the past couple of seasons. That argument is why I don't think Russell should be in the GOAT discussion. I think that, even taking rings into consideration, Wilt was the greatest player of that era.

So J.R Rider is coming back to the NBA.

Maybe the Lakers should take a looksy...

Remember when Kobe gave MJ 55pts as a retirement gift. See link to the game recap if you forgot.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=230328013

MJ is one of the greatest players ever...top 5-6 IMHO (with Kareem, Magic, Wilt, Russ and Big 0). Kobe is fastly approaching that elite group. Someone posted that Kobe's FG% is lower due to more 3pt attempted and degree of difficulty shots. I agree 100%. MJ also played tougher defense more consistently. However, in Kobe's defense he had to exert so much energy on offense (2005-2007 especiall) he had to rest some on the defensive end.

Can't wait to see the last 1/3 of Kobe's career. Also, I do believe Lebron can be greater than both Kobe and MJ if he continues to develop the skill aspects of his game.

LakerTom/#4

I must agree 100% with point of preferrential treatment that MJ was afforded that Kobe doesn't get. Especially after Colorado incident.

Tom, Lebron already led team to finals. Remember he drop 28 of his team last 29 points on the Pistons to make the 2007 finals. He's living up to the hype.

LRob

Laker Truth,

I agree with Kobe/MJ breakdown except ballhandling. I think Kobe has better handle than Jordan....as evident by the various tricks we've seen him do dribbling the ball from the famous all-star game wrap around dribble to his cross overs.

LRob

Nice to finally some intelligent discussion.

--Jordan is the greatest "Non-Center" ever. He was the greatest combination of skill, athleticism, and competitive fire ever seen. But, you cannot teach height. So, in a fantasy draft, there is no way I`m selecting him over a young Wilt, Russell, or Kareem.

--If Wilt had been totally dedicated, and played with the passion of Jordan or Kobe...there would be NO debate as to who was the GOAT!

--Kobe, on any given night, can be a reasonable facsimile of MJ. But, that`s where it ends. Kobe is great...but Jordan was "scary" great. The "original" is always superior to the "copy".

--Put Kobe, LeBron, Bird, Magic, & Jordan in the same room. Lock the door, and return one week later...MJ is going to be the only one walking out that door!

--Bird, at his absolute peak, was better than Magic at his peak. But, due to heel and later back pain, Bird`s peak was over at 29-30. However, Magic {Game 6 in 1980} did turn in the single greatest one-game performance ever.

Honestly you cannot compare these two great superstar. With all the new defensive scheme today basketball is.. It's more challenge than back then.. Don't get me wrong that old school basketball is not up to par.. But look at today basketball they are more skilled and bigger than before.. Personally Kobe is outstanding with his skill and mentality of becoming a warrior. Jordan was the best at his time now it's Kobe..

Also, when Kobe came into the game he was not a starter and when he was he had to play behind Shaq in which it was hard for him to get 30 points a night and maybe the assist to cuz Shaq always demanded the ball down low.. When Jordan came to the league he was already the franchise player of the team and everyone on that team knew that..

exhelodrvr,
[Were they clearly the best player the majority of the time they of their era? Jordan definitely was. I don't think you can say that about Kobe. He certainly was for part of his era. But Shaq was, too. And a good argument can be made for LeBron for the past couple of seasons. That argument is why I don't think Russell should be in the GOAT discussion. I think that, even taking rings into consideration, Wilt was the greatest player of that era.]

If Kobe wins say another 4 rings, history will call him the best of his era. Nuff said.

Nice to finally some intelligent discussion.

--Jordan is the greatest "Non-Center" ever. He was the greatest combination of skill, athleticism, and competitive fire ever seen. But, you cannot teach height. So, in a fantasy draft, there is no way I`m selecting him over a young Wilt, Russell, or Kareem.

--If Wilt had been totally dedicated, and played with the passion of Jordan or Kobe...there would be NO debate as to who was the GOAT!

--Kobe, on any given night, can be a reasonable facsimile of MJ. But, that`s where it ends. Kobe is great...but Jordan was "scary" great. The "original" is always superior to the "copy".

--Put Kobe, LeBron, Bird, Magic, & Jordan in the same room. Lock the door, and return one week later...MJ is going to be the only one walking out that door!

--Bird, at his absolute peak, was better than Magic at his peak. But, due to heel and later back pain, Bird`s peak was over at 29-30. However, Magic {Game 6 in 1980} did turn in the single greatest one-game performance ever.

Posted by: RED`S LOVE CHILD | September 11, 2009 at 03:32 PM

I appreciate this perspective. On point 1, I agree. I'm not picking Jordan first if he and the great centers were up for grabs. Unfortunately for portland, they applied this logic to Sam Bowie.

Point 2: I think Wilt and Shaq unfortunately suffered from a goliath syndrome. Better because they are big and nothing else. Personally, I prefer Kareem, Russell, and some early Walton to Shaq and Wilt.

On point 3, Kobe's the best of his era, MJ is the best of his era. You say the original is always best, but I believe both are copies of older players such as Dr. J, Baylor, etc. I'll judge kobe at the end of his career, if he was able to sustain his dominance of the league presented to him, as MJ did.

On point 4: If we are discussing competitive spirit and utter confidence, Larry and Mike will be last standing. However, if Magic were in there, everyone would come out a winner.

On point 5: At their peak? That's tough to say. These 2 guys had such a long rivalry and such different roles on their team that I think its a disservice to confine it to a notion of peak performance. magic obviously had a better career and larry's bad back is part of the game. but I don't hold that against him. to me, its the ultimate sign of respect to consider these 2 guys the greatest rivalry ever and the greatest players of the 80s. Magic's got a great respect for larry, and I'll just follow his lead on that.

RED's LOVE CHILD,

[ The "original" is always superior to the "copy". ]

Not if you've got photoshop skills

kobe will for ever remind me of the young 18 year old who wanted to be like mike or better than mike. till this day i see him is the guy who trys his best to be the best and beat michael when ever he gets the chance to. meaning stats and championships, mvps, and final mvps. But he knows and we know that he will never be better it's too late to be the next mike but he still can be better than the old mike in the late 90's. Just win, shoot 48% or more, be clutch, and geat finals mvp. If he can do that it can help his case vs mike.

LROB, thanks for the espn recap link ... this part caught my attention
["That was an incredible demonstration,'' Jackson said. "It came to a point where there was that curiosity factor: Was he going to hit 80? I'm sure it went through his head.'']

Ha ... curiosity satisfied a few years later ... 81pts ... it's scary what a young kobe full of energy and hell bent on taking over the league woulda/coulda done if he hadn't been partnered with Shaq ... if he'd been in a situation where going for 60 wouldn't have made folks wonder out aloud but what about Shaq ... still 3 rings is better than watching a young kobe obliterate all sorts of scoring records

Say what you want about the politics of the NBA, but Michael Jordan's game was beautiful. Congratulations to him on his Hall of Fame induction.


#4, (Byron Scott perhaps? :) )

Posted by: #4 | September 11, 2009 at 12:21 PM

A segment during the telecast of the 91 finals, magic said he might retire at the end of the year. It's on the tape..I saw it last night. He might have known he had HIV during the NBA finals and that effected his play


Red,

I would take Jordan over Kareeem and Wilt any day..Russell may be a different story..To me, Jordan was the absolute perfect size for a basketball player.

LakerTom

"Kirk and Spock and the entire Enterprise crew would be a better parallel to Kobe and Pau and the rest of the Lakers."

Hell yeah! I can get behind that idea! I am such a Trekkie nerd.

Seriously, is JR Rider coming back to the NBA? As a player? Ooooookay.

Home boy got left off the playoff roster as a Laker he was so ineffective and that was over 5 years ago.

Jordan's greatness was something we will all feel luckier to have witnessed as time moves farther away. He created the hype around himself with his athletic ability, but became great through his work ethic. If anything Kobe has emulated his ethic more than anything else.

Besides, Jordan got waaay more ark on his fallaway than Kobe does. So far. That behind the back over the shoulder fling shot Kobe makes is just silly. Silly.

People will argue until the end of time between Jordan and Wilt, but they are relly comparing total points scored or career point averages as opposed to what the player did for the team. Jordan's teams won, Wilt's didn't. End of discussion.

Sir Jazz says a lot of Jordan's dirty work was done by Pippen. I'll bet if you asked Scottie Pippen if he was blessed by getting to play with Michel, you'd get an unequivocal yes. Jordan, like Kobe, was a pressure release for his teammates. They never had to worry who would take over and bail them out, just look over at Michael and he'll be ready. He'll never back down.

Similarities indeed.

When Kobe was asked how he compares himself with Michael. He always evades the question simply because he respects MJ so much that some of his plays are ala'Jordan. However, after spending a dozen years in NBA, it is time to move on and let Jordan be MJ hall of famer and Kobe, the present Champ. There are two distinct personalities belonging to different eras. They are both gift of God to us basketball fans, let us appreciate their greatness individually. Our ultimate gauge of the best players should be based on number of Championship garnered for his team, anything short of Championship from good players Sir Charles, Malone, Ewing, Nowitski and James don't belonged to this exclusive club yet, they have to prove by winning one for their team first. This is the motivation of Ron Artest why he joined the Lakers?

I will admit (reluctantly) that Jordan had teh best career ever but skill wise I don't think he is as good as Kobe! I know that may sound confussing but it's just like Wilt and Bill Russsell. It's no doubt Russell had the better career but Wilt was a better player! Just my humble opinion!

"People will argue until the end of time between Jordan and Wilt, but they are relly comparing total points scored or career point averages as opposed to what the player did for the team. Jordan's teams won, Wilt's didn't. End of discussion."

Well Michael nor Kobe faced off against Russell's Celtics did he? The Bad Boy Pistons nor the 90's Knicks were as good as Russell's team was. That team stopped basketball's unstoppable force (Wilt) and the triple double machine Oscar Robertson and even in 1969 fought off a double headed monster of Wilt-West-Baylor.

Place Wilt in any other era than Russell's and he would have been winning more than 2 titles.

Kobe just like MJ just wants to be a winner more than anything else. That factor IMO drove both men to go beyond the norm and excel to become talented players in their own right.

Hey, at least we've gotten past the Ariza versus Artest conversation for a day.

batman would kick moon knight's ass.


"While the road has hardly been smooth- even that game was a point of controversy, as Karl Malone was irritated that Kobe at one point waved off his screen in order to go one-on-one with Jordan- no player since Jordan has played the "Jordan role," whether through remarkable athleticism and skill on the floor, the ability to transform himself into a craftier and more versatile player, or the relentless drive and competitiveness to be the game's best, like Kobe. "

BK

You like most people forget maybe the most controversial aspect of that All-Star game.........Do you know what that is?


George Karl, the coach of the West squad made the arbitrary decision to sit Kobe the ENTIRE FOURTH QUARTER!

At the pace Kobe was playing before the 4th quarter began......I can make a legitimate claim that if Kobe were allowed to play in the 4th (as the fans wanted) Kobe would have been MVP of that game........and upstaged Michael.

BK if you're going to research a story.......research the WHOLE story!

I'm just saying

however, I honestly have to say that in general I think batman would be getting his butt kicked all over the comic book universe, cause he's a forty year old guy wearing a bunch of rubber. But man, Moon Knight sucks.

i started off as a bulls fan when jordan was playing. then when phil moved to la i shifted my allegiances to the lakers cos i got sick and tired of what jerry krause was doing to the team. he was trying to prove that he made jordan. he soon proved that wrong.

Zen, okay, thank you for clearing that up.

And, yes my friend - #4 is for B Scott! I absolutely honor my idol, Byron Scott with my screen name here. He will always be my favorite player (not coach though).

I modeled my game after him, but its too bad that I was too short to be a shooting guard in any league, even rec ones.

exhelodrvr,
[Were they clearly the best player the majority of the time they of their era? Jordan definitely was. I don't think you can say that about Kobe. He certainly was for part of his era. But Shaq was, too. And a good argument can be made for LeBron for the past couple of seasons. That argument is why I don't think Russell should be in the GOAT discussion. I think that, even taking rings into consideration, Wilt was the greatest player of that era.]

Kareem was definitely best for majority of his era from 70-85. He took on all the hall of famers (Wilt, Thurmond, Lanier, Reed, Unseld, Hayes, Cowens, Walton, Parish, McHale, Malone, Hakeem) and outplayed them all - except Moses. I don't think any other great player faced as many Hall of Famers head to head. BTW...can someone please tell me why Artis Gilmore is not in the HOF. That is a travesty.

LRob

"I agree with Kobe/MJ breakdown except ballhandling. I think Kobe has better handle than Jordan....as evident by the various tricks we've seen him do dribbling the ball from the famous all-star game wrap around dribble to his cross overs."

This is why me and Laker Tom are so lucky to have seen the 80's (I'm not as old as he is though). Hello those have already been seen! Oscar Robertson did it followed by Jerry West then Magic Johnson and people forget Dr. J and also Dominque Wilkins had some crazy moves as well as his athleticism. John Stockton had crazy passes and so did Gary Payton, Terry Porter, Clyde Drexler, and even 2000's era with Allen Iverson Dwyane Wade and others.


Make no mistake Kobe has had a killer crossover. Yet compare Michael's and Kobe's assists and Kobe doesn't doesn't even come close to what Michael had. Kobe's highest assist was 6 while Michael's was 8. I will say Kobe is more skilled than Michael but if skill was the one deciding factor then say Allen Iverson is good because that guy in his prime had crazy moves that made him get 4 scoring titles.

Skill set: Michael vs Kobe.

Shooting-Kobe
Post up-Michael (Phil Jackson has said Kobe is the better shooter and Michael the better post up).
Better defender-Michael though Kobe is very darn good
Rebounding-Equal
Assists-Slight to Michael
Clutch situation-atm Michael
Better Athlete overall-Michael
Biggest hands-Michael
Killer Instinct-Equal.


Kobe is great and is the best of his time (cases also made for Shaq and Duncan). Against Michael? Even Kobe said it himself that he isn't better than Michael. For me until Kobe has at least 6 titles there shouldn't be any talk of him even equaling Michael as Michael has 6 Finals MVP's. Kareem has 6 rings yet almost everyone would rank Michael ahead of the cap (since it was Magic who won 3 Finals MVP's during Showtime).

And again Laker Tom I just love it when you try to bring up Bynum and continuelly predict his rise to be above Shaq (the most dominant big man of his time the only other "power" center since Wilt) when he is so less effective off the paint that Stu and the rest of Bynum's fan continuesly cry that he shouldn't get it there when EVERY great center could score inside out (and having a jumpshot less reliable than Pau Gasol's) from Robert Parish to even Willis Reed. Heck Sabonis was the only one who could slow MVP Shaq in the 2000 title run and if he was the one who held Shaq to 26ppg (good numbers but consider Shaq was scoring 30ppg+ in every other playoff series), I would say Sabonis could do quite a bit of damage of slowing Bynum (remember part of Game 7 rally against the Jailblazers was due to Sabonis getting in foul trouble and forcing Rasheed Wallace to play center which Shaq dominated him in turn).

So here's a deal LT and Jon K. since you are a huge Bynum fan as well. If Bynum averages these numbers IN THE FINALS (min 3) then I will say I was wrong and declare him the BEAST:

38ppg on 61% FG, 12rpg, 3apg
33ppg on 57% FG, 15rpg, 4apg
36ppg on 59% FG, 12rpg, 3apg

and also this on a defensive stud (like a Ben Wallace)
26ppg on 63% FG, 10rpg, 1apg

There can be no excuses like (he was injured, he was in foul trouble most of the time, he had another ball dominant player playing with him) otherwise I don't count it.....because Shaq had all those factors going against him and look what he did!

Until Bynum averages near those numbers case is closed and he is just a wannabe who can only dream of being Shaq who can make free throws.

Jon K...

I have some hardwood classics that i save for rainy days.....

I love it..

"Did Magic know he had HIV during the NBA finals that year? It seems that he did..."

Zen, I had never heard that supposition. Interesting thought. Possible. My only comment is that Magic looked truly stunned during his Nov 1991 presser than he had to the retire. Stunned as if he just had a bomb dropped on him.

would like to see Kobe call MJ to introduce him when his time in the Hall comes

Owenfromburbank;

Wise words - my take is Captain, MJ, & Magic are equals, and the equality is in the mind as well as the body. Giants all, and Kobe is not of this level. Body yes, ability yes, work ethic yes, values no.

Both Kobe and MJ are great players. As much as kobe hates the MJ comparisons, he is also partly to blame for it. From the mannerisms, celebrations, to admittedly copying much of MJ's game how can you not be compared to MJ like it or not. To LRob: First, MJ was 39 when KB24 gave him his "retirement gift" Let's see how KB24 does at the same age? Also, your defense of Kobe not playing tougher than defense than MJ because he had to expend so much more energy on offense is sort of moot. Check the offensive stats of the 1987-1988 defensive player of the year: 35.0ppg on 53% fg shooting...I'm just sayin....

I never have much use for GOAT discussions, but I do wonder why Tim Duncan is never in the conversation. I don't consider Manu or Parker to be anywhere near as good as pippen or pau. But I guess you have to be flashy to be good.

Arizona Laker fan,

You could tell Magic was physically and mentally drained during those NBA finals..Maybe it wasnt all Jordan and Pippen's defense..He had more serious issues going with his body and he knew something was wrong, but wasnt sure what it was..He thought maybe it was time to go..Interesting that he thought that during those finals..He knew something was wrong.

phred,

"batman would kick moon knight's ass."

1. I broke out into wild laughter reading this.

2. I'm not sure he would. Moon Knight is fricken CRAZY and he beat Werewolf at Night who, it should be noted, kicked the crap out of Sabertooth. So... I'm just sayin'.

3. Yes. I am a geek and a I started studying martial arts at an early age to gain super-powers, which only partially worked.

4. I have now become interested in the concept of finding a super-hero for every player on the Lakers roster. This will take some thinking, but I feel it is an endeavor that must be realized.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

jfor,

HERE is the REAL truth:

Kobe Bryant is better at certain parts of the game than Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan is better at certain parts of the game than Kobe Bryant.

That's it.

Period.

The only issue is that Michael Jordan gave a wild, emotional, rambling acceptance speech at the Hall of Fame and Kobe Bryant has another 5-10 years left in his career.


That's it.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Otis,

Your comment: "Giants all, and Kobe is not of this level. Body yes, ability yes, work ethic yes, values no."

So, what is this value that you see missing in Kobe?? You mean market value or something else - like respect, spirit and all such intamgibles??

Or are you talking about the Colorado incident. If yes, then exclude Magic from the list (Guys pls forgive me for making this statement). How did he get HIV, by being a saint with so much values???


Both Kobe and MJ are great players. As much as kobe hates the MJ comparisons, he is also partly to blame for it. From the mannerisms, celebrations, to admittedly copying much of JFor,

Actually I think MJ was 40 when Kobe dropped the 55. And technically Stackhouse was guarding Kobe most of the game. I didn't bring it up to infer that Kobe was better than MJ, but just to remind people of Kobe's killer mentality that I'm sure MJ influenced. I'm sure some young hotshot will light up Kobe also.

Agreed on MJ still playing great defense despite carrying the offensive load in 88. His consistent defensive intensity/excellence is his biggest edge on Kobe. But he did have Pippen to share the load defensively in later years. Kobe hasn't benefited from playing with a great defensive player like Pip.

LRob


Wilt was the best. Period. End. His averages are just stupid. 48.5 minutes per game? His first NBA game? 43 points and 28 rebounds.

Watch him play as a 17 year old:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9GPibuasw4&feature=related

It was said he could pick up a 200lb man and throw him into the air and catch him on the way down. Once in a century athlete.
-----------------------------------------------
I know, even if Kobe isn't judged as better than MJ on the basketball court, his hall of fame speech (which he too will get) will definitely be better than Mike's. I haven't ever forgiven him for crushing the Lakers in '91 and it tainted my entire MJ experience. When he walked out on the stage crying, I was feeling like I had made a terrible error until Jordan opened his mouth.

Petty and selfish, he even put down his kids right in front of the entire hall of fame. Complaining about paying for their tickets, "I wouldn't want to be you guys" to your kids in front of all those famous people? 10 bucks says he doesn't catch almost any flak for it either.

Here's how Kobe can do it.

Use the strengths of his younger teammates to continue winning.

If he can stay at this level of basketball for lets say 5 more years----AND---- win all five times (taking him to the ancient age of 36) then he's got a GREAT shot. Even w/o the stats Jordan has.

Because in this scenario, he would have won 6 titles straight!!! I know thats crazy and its one game at a time, let alone one championship at a time---But if he pulls off a STREAK like that (Which I think is totally possible with his age/ability/surrounding talent) he not only makes the case close, I think he seals the deal.

If kobe pulls of something crazy like this, he will have tied Jordan in titles and likely Finals MVP titles in HIS 30's ALONE!! And could likely add 2 or 3 more season MVP titles to boot.

That would leave Kobe with 9 rings (6 post shaq)
3 or 4 MVP's
6 Finals MVP's

A crazy streak like that is more than just winning--its dominating, which is exactly the type of thing Jordan's greatness is built upon. If Kobe can exceed that level of dominating, in his 30's, against greater competition, w/o a true scotty, I think Jordan's edge disappears


Crazy and unlikely---Yes.

Would Laker fans be shocked to see the Kob pull it off---No chance

Did anyone see Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame acceptance speach?

What a tool.

http://tinyurl.com/mqbym5

It reminds us how lucky we are to have Magic Johnson as the historic face of the Lakers. Michael Jordan is the MOST over-hyped player in the history of the NBA. One of the Greatest? Yes. The supremely-unquestionably best player ever? Absolutely not.

But he IS absolutely a toolbag.

I don't even think he thanked Phil Jackson, but he DID threaten to come back and play at 50. You go ahead, Michael. It would be bring me extreme joy to watch Tony Gaffey make you look like a fool... like you did when you decided to take up baseball. What an incredible, idiotic narcissist.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

MJ is now a hall of famer, no more Juanita but a HOF date indeed.

http://tinyurl.com/n4znkv

I wonder if Kobe could match this Jordanesque magnetism. Kobe got the eye of the tiger in Vanessa and the 4.0M diamond. LOL!

Kobefan in Cupertino,

"How did he get HIV, by being a saint with so much values???"

Dude, you need to go to utzworld for confession. How dare you insult Magic Johnson like that?

Just because Magic Johnson contracted a disease doesn't in any way mean that he's an immoral person. Sex is sex. As long as it is done consentually between adults, there's not a darned thing wrong with it, unless it involves breaking the commitment of marriage. Just because Magic Johnson got unlucky, it is not cool that you insult him like that.

Magic Johnson has been a consistently positive force for the Lakers, Los Angeles, California, and the world.

It breaks my heart that he contracted HIV, as it should break your heart. And what did Magic do? He dealt with it like a man, with courage, dignity and hope.

Magic Johnson is my hero and for you to insult him and claim that you are a Lakers fan is simply uncool. You must of been drinking or something because you clearly were not thinking.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Otis,

"Kobe is not of this level. Body yes, ability yes, work ethic yes, values no."

And how does Michael Jordan have excellent values? EVERYTHING he has ever done in his career has been about self-aggrandizement. Just because an incredible player has the full support of an international marketing juggernaut behind him doesn't mean that that self-aggrandized narcissist has evolves values.

http://tinyurl.com/oxmxds

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Edwin Guerco,

Magnetism?

Dude, did you see the speech? He sounded like a babbling lunatic. Crying while insulting his high school coach? What a fool.

With the exception of his mother and a half-hearted, forgetful acknowledgement of his kids, he basically only "thanked" those people who he felt had insulted him by not immediately acknowledging his supreme greatness.

It was a creepy rant of backhanded compliments.

Everyone else was pure class and dignity. By comparison Michael Jordan sounded like a washed-up, alcoholic bully rambling on about his glory days on the high school football team and beating up nerds.

What a tool.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

"Kobe is not better than Jordan
Kobe is not better than Magic

None of them are as good as Russell

Posted by: owenfromburbank | September 11, 2009 at 12:19 PM"

IDIOT....decades apart, there were probably only 12 teams in the league in Russell's days....money drives the NBA today, back then they had to get summer jobs (Sharmon, and others),,,,,so the incentive to commit your life to a big question mark of a career was not worth it, so maybe there were other players who could have stepped up and provided more competition, instead, it was just a cakewalk to the championship, for the well stocked Celtics...

I still think M'Benga has a bit of Russell in him, the build, the mobility, the focus on defense, I have doubts in the Lakers and their development plans for the future, after not renewing Sun Yue, without ever getting a good look at him in game situations, it's a long season, and Kobe, Pau, Lamar, could use lighter work days, use these days to play your bench, I'm talking to the next coach because PJ is a NOW guy, that's his job....they better win 4 out of the next 5 because if not, 5 years from now, we're in the lottery......

come on...

"So J.R Rider is coming back to the NBA.

Maybe the Lakers should take a looksy...

Posted by: onetime | September 11, 2009 at 03:09 PM"

blow a spot on the team to a never was, and not use that spot to try to develop a player for the future....what next, Larry Johnson, Grand MaMa????

I have a hate for the front office half the time. I think it's PJ's pulling together of everyone that seals the deal....

Gasol is the perfect fit for the Lakers as shown, and let's not forget all his international experience...the world is bigger than the NBA....I think his intelligence and his experience in other tournaments are what make him the one of the best big men in the league. Garnett, talented, but I think he isn't as strong mentally, that is why he has to put on those antics of his.....think of all those years he did not take his team to the deeper side of the playoffs....it was a blessing that the Lakers did not get him. Thank you Frankenstein, Kevin McHale, and by the way, let them play one on one now, and I want to see Rambis twist McHale into a pretzel, he deserves it, for the 2nd cheapest shot in NBA history.

Jon K,

I did do the confession/apology, even before writing the statement, and it was not aimed at Magic or to belittle him.

My question was against Otis - what does he mean by "lack of values" - If it were the CO incident - then everyone has such dark sides is what I meant.

Just as none of us do not want to ill-treat/criticize Magic coz he got HIV, similarly just forget about CO and continue the appreciation to Kobe and what has done and achieved for the Lakers!!

I know I did ruffle a few feathers - but again I say it was an argument against "Kobe has no values" thing which he had mentioned.

"batman would kick moon knight's ass.


Posted by: phred | September 11, 2009 at 06:40 PM"


.....I'd put my money on Marvel's Deadpool character anyday....he has broken th 4th dimension, he knows he is a comic book superhero, and comments to you, the reader at times.....oh another good thing, you can't kill him, I think he's been killed 3 times already.....the guy they have playing him, was in the Wolverine movie has the absolute greatest abs, not a 6 pack, but an 8 pack....look up Ryan Reynolds if you wanna see a flat stomach.

 
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