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Will Kobe Bryant's game age well?


Kobemj Now that Kobe Bryant’s turned 32, how much of a decline can we expect in his game over the next few seasons?

The only player to compare Bryant’s 30-something performance with, of course, is Michael Jordan. But it’s not a simple comparison because by the age of 32 MJ had been retired for almost two seasons while he tried, and failed, to make it as a pro baseball player.

So, when Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls late in the 94-95 season—at 32—he’d played only 778 NBA regular season and playoff games. By comparison, Kobe Bryant has already played a whopping 1,219 games, 57% more than Jordan at the same age. Kobe is clearly the NBA version of a Ferrari with high mileage.

What happened after Jordan’s 32nd birthday? MJ led the league in scoring in the next three seasons before another retirement attempt.

Still, age forced some adjustments in MJ’s game—and we might see the same from Kobe.

After Jordan turned 27, he began a long, steady decline in field goal percentage (we’ll skip his abbreviated ’94-95 season): from 53.9% in the ’90-91 season, to 51.9% next season, then 49.5%, 49.5%, 48.6% and 46.5% when he turned 35.

Jordan’s playing time also dipped slightly; averaging 39.1 minutes a game in the three full seasons before his 32nd birthday, then 38.1 in the next three.

After turning 32, MJ’s three-point shooting also declined (42.7%, 37.4%, 23.8%), as did his rebounding (6.6,  5.9, 5.8) and assists (4.3, 4.3, 3.5; versus 5.3 in his career).

Bryant’s stats have also dipped in several categories in the last five seasons:
--Scoring per game: 35.4, 31.6, 28.3, 26.8, to 27.0 last season.
--Free throw attempts per game: 10.2, 10.0, 9.0, 6.9, 7.4.
--Minutes per game: 41.0, 40.8, 38.9, 36.1, 38.8.

Late in Jordan’s career, he’d often pace himself to save something for the fourth quarter. Even then, MJ was great, he just wasn’t the airborne legend of his youth.

As Kobe—a hoops historian—readies for his 15th Lakers season, he’s probably got this MJ stat memorized: After Jordan turned 32, he won three more NBA titles.

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in a a Lakers-Wizards game in 2002. Credit: Reuters / Joe Giza.

 
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Kobe's game will age wonderfully, much better than MJ.
He already proved to be the GOAT, it's justa matter of time until he gets 2 more rings and shut down all his critics.
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See, on game 7, his shot was not good, so he decided to compensate on rebounds. He always have something, somewhere, somehow. That's a GOAT right there.
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Sorry MJ, but there's a new sheriff in town.

Final answer: HELL TO THE YES.

Old Hippy-

“…Once again, hate to disappoint you but @Lakerrefree is not my handle. Perhaps you should ask MM to verify who used the handle as it should have an email associated to it…
Posted by: Old Hippy | August 25, 2010 at 07:25 AM”

Perhaps if you want people to know what you posted or didn’t post, you should use the same damn name every time.

Good morning Blog Crue.

Kobe's game will age very well. One could make a case that he could still average 35 a game, but his stats have come down because his team got better. The thing that both MJ and Kobe had/have going for them is their hard work. As you watch their age go up, you watch their game evolve. as athletecism dips, you see better footwork, timing, post moves, etc. Basically instead of running around their opponents they are outsmarting them. Even though his stats had declined, MJ got better with age. Yes his first seven seasons were ridiculous statistically, however when people talk about the greatness of MJ, they are referring to his later years. The same will be true of Kobe. In fact a have already seen the start of this. The last couple years Kobe has developed more of his post game and you've seen smarter play.

"The only player to compare Bryant’s 30-something performance with, of course, is Michael Jordan. But it’s not a simple comparison because by the age of 32 MJ had been retired for almost two seasons while he tried, and failed, to make it as a pro baseball player."

--

According to some accounts at that time, what precipitated MJ to return to the NBA was the baseball strike of 94-95. MJ had not played baseball since high school and, for most baseball players, it is generally considered that you need 1000-1200 at-bat's in the farm system before graduating into the major leagues. He was progressing well through the minor leagues and it was thought he would have been ready for the major leagues in two more seasons.

Then the strike happened. The owners were pressuring MJ to be a replacement player in order to help attract attendance (his games in the minors were usually sold out). MJ refused to cross the strike line and went back to the NBA.

True or not, it was a nice spin by the Bulls media reps, eh?

About the picture...Kobe looks really funny there...
Hey MJ, that's a foul!!!!!!!

Morning everyone!

Lrob, you ever sleep?

I would love to hear that Kobe did some more workouts with Olajuwon and honed his post game even more. He already has the best post up game of any guard, but after a prolific start last year in the post, I felt like that part of his game dropped off somewhat (probably due to injuries and having the big men come back healthy). Still, in the triangle, Kobe is often in the post and I think he could go on a tear against guards or small forwards trying to guard him in the post since they are not used to guarding that kind of offense. Plus, less wear and tear on his body compared to drives to the basket and getting knocked around. Furthermore, with his passing skills, double teams will pay.

I think his numbers dropping off is misleading as he's been surrounded with better players which has resulted in less of a need to score more or play more minutes. In fact, his field goal percentage last year was marginally better than it was when he scored 35 ppg. I think it would have even been better if he had not injured his finger.


Great question! Maybe we should revisit the great 1996 draft (1st round only) to carefully consider our final answer by comparing Bryant to his contemporaries instead of the incredible MJ, for now:

(R)=Retired
(B)=Beast Mode
(C)=Champion
(M)=MVP
(O)=Okay
(T)=Terrible
(W)=Who?
(D)=Deceased
(U)=Ugh!

1. (R,M,B)Allen Iverson Philadelphia
2. (O)Marcus Camby Toronto
3. (R)Shareef Abdur-Rahim Vancouver
4. (R)Stephon Marbury Milwaukee
5. (C)Ray Allen Minnesota
6. (R)Antoine Walker Boston
7. (D)Lorenzen Wright LA Clippers
8. (O)Kerry Kittles New Jersey
9. (U,T)Samaki Walker Dallas
10. (U,T)Erick Dampier Indiana
11. (W)Todd Fuller Golden State
12. (U,W)Vitaly Potapenko Cleveland
13. (C,M,B)KOBE BRYANT Charlotte
14. (O)Predrag Stojakovic Sacramento
15. (M)Steve Nash Phoenix
16. (O)Tony Delk Charlotte
17. (O)Jermaine O'Neal Portland
18. (U)John Wallace New York
19. (U)Walter McCarty New York
20. (O)Zydrunas Ilgauskas Cleveland
21. (W)Dontae' Jones New York
22. (W)Roy Rogers Vancouver
23. (W)Efthimis Rentzias Denver
24. (C)Derek Fisher LA Lakers
25. (U)Martin Muursepp Utah
26. (W)Jerome Williams Detroit
27. (W)Brian Evans Orlando
28. (W)Priest Lauderdale Atlanta
29. (O)Travis Knight Chicago

In closing, I believe Kobe's game already has aged well. He is by far the most accomplished player from this draft. That's quite the achievement when you're drafted with future HOF'ers in Iverson, Nash, Allen, and Travis Knight. Also, Mr. Bryant has logged many more minutes (as noted) and fierce playoff competition at his age in comparison to MJ. Let's justa enjoy the ride, and witness greatness. We can tell our kids about it all in the years to come. This is something special.

DBDH!

Kobe as a 25 point-a-game scorer is where he fits best. With Shaq, they both checked in at 27.5. He will always need others - his scoring titles came with poor Lakers teams that needed extra from him.

If the Lakers are a healthy garden, his age will only show as a lack of a high-fly act. His skill set takes him as far as he wants to go.

As well as to be expected as with all the greats. He will learn and incorporate new looks, tricks, and nuances as he gets older that will keep his productivity up. If he passes the torch to a younger talent it won't be without him still being a threat on the court. If people still think the Iverson can still be productive with his 'chuck-a-lot' style of play then Kobe's all around game will be viable for the next 3 to 4 years.

MM-Excellent topic. We're in uncharted territory with Kobe. Like you mentioned he's already played 57% more games than MJ at the same age. But I prefer to look at minutes played. Below is a comparison of career minutes played (regular season and playoffs) by other wing players:

Reggie Miller 53,000 min-/big drop off last 3yrs
Havlicek 52,000-/drop off last 3yrs, but not drastic
Pippen 49,000-/big drop last 4yrs
MJ 48,000-/drop last 2yrs...but still avg 20pts
Kobe 45,000 career minutes

My guess is Kobe will game will maintain better than those guys. He's just that rare guy even compared to the all-time greats. I expect All-NBA type numbers for two seasons & all-star numbers for another year after that. That'll take him to age 35 and 54,000 career minutes...after that he'll be similar to the MJ we saw his last year in Washington...and could produce those type of numbers for a couple more seasons.


I think it already has. He is more of a leader. He picks his spots more. Because he has a better team, he passes more. He is continually getting better in different areas (distance shooting, post moves). The only thing I don't like is that he drifts from his man too much on defense at times.

MM,

Thanks for taking care of business and doing a good job on the blog. This song is for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCIUf8eYPqA&feature=related

JonK - Another Canadian product...lol.

MJ's and Kobe's body structure are different. MJ's body was much more stronger, bigger than Kobe's, while Kobe is more frail and has had to work lot harder to get his shots. Even PJ in the past has made such an observation.

I miss insta-posting...

I expect to see a decrease in minutes for kobe this coming season at the age of 32 partially due to his age but also due to the ability of the bench to successfully rest kobe for stretches without losing a lead. However unlike jordans drops in stats kobes numbers will improve. He will be healthy! (For the most part). His shot selection will be better and his lift on his shots will be back creating a higher percent shot. Assists should increase, especially with the shooting threats on the second unit. Free throws will probably decrease except in the 4th quarter. A stat that shouldn't be overlooked. ( ie celtics v lakers game 7 r kobe was at the line quite a bit).

Also from an old thread I never got a chance to write about. One of my favorite games I r
Just my 2 cents.

What an utterly strange photo of Kobe Bryant?


Yeah, Kobe's game will age well, as long as we don't have to amputate his finger.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


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


GO LAKERS!!!!

I love this "it's not the age, it's the mileage" nonsense people throw out there.


The human body is not an automobile. Yes, it needs rest and recouperative time, but, for the most part, activity slows down the aging process rather than accelerating it.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


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


GO LAKERS!!!

Kobe has many weapons. That's why he is constantly refining his game and not relying on sheer athletic ability. He understands how to make adjustments, he understands that gravity will one day be a factor in his game. That's what makes him such a tremendous competitor. He will find a way to be better.

"As Kobe—a hoops historian—readies for his 15th Lakers season, he’s probably got this MJ stat memorized: After Jordan turned 32, he won three more NBA titles."


As will Kobe, much of this will be contingent upon Bynum's development and Gasol's longevity.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


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


GO LAKERS!!!

First!

Kobe's game has already changed dramatically from his first three titles. Rarely ever does Kobe dunk in a game with the exception of breakaways. He added a bank shot from the elbow, and has mastered his point-pivoted up-and-under jumpshot headfake. Kobe's accuracy may decline, but let's hope he comes up with a strong knack for saving the best for last.

If I were a betting man, I would not bet against him to deliver the goods.

The main reason Theo Ratliff is on the team is to teach Kobe the importance of "minerals" and how to play at 38. If Kobe continues to take care of his body with a good off season work-out regimen and proper nutriton, he will prolong his career. One has to wonder if there has been an evolution in the legal science of athletic performance since MJ retired. My guess is that there has, and you can be assured that Kobe will take full advantage of that.

...

What a worthless post.

Kobe's game needs to evolve during the season and from there on out. Less "jackin'" & more "passin'." He does that, Mitch continues to build the team, they will have one more 'chip in them after completing this coming season's 3-Peat! GO LAKERS!!

OK, we're gonna have to give MM a new rule. from now on, only flatteriing pics of Laker players. No more Kobe loking old and ugly, no more Lamar being out rebounded by big baby Davis.

I mean, com on MM. Kobe looks like that Martin Short character whose name I can't remember. Ed Grimley? Is that the real cockeyed-looking guy?

Wes

Was that inmage chosen by Barry?

Wes

Kobe knows his athleticism is waning - his continual decline in FT rate is evidence of this - but he has already begun to make adjustments to offset it. Last season before he got injured, he was posting the highest FG% of his career by abusing smaller guards in the post and using his incredible footwork. He has mastered the pull up mid-range game to offset his inability to get to the rim consistently. He has added strength to offset his declining quickness.

Still, we can expect a slow, gradual decline in Kobe's game until he retires at age 38 (my guess). The biggest worries, as ever, are injuries, and whether he can fully adjust to shooting with a busted finger. It obviously had an effect on him last season when he injured it. But if he can avoid injuries, I don't think he'll drop off a cliff production-wise as some other guards have done well past their 30s. Although expecting him to be as good as he was at 27-30 is unrealistic, expecting him to remain among the top 3 SG in the league over the next couple seasons is not.

"Will Kobe Bryant's game age well?"


Is the Pope Catholic?


Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?


Do salmon swim upstream?


Do Lakeraholics get the shakes during the offseason when the blog doesn't quickly post posts?


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


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


GO LAKERS!!!

back to moderating comments.. BOOOOOOOO!

Kobe has a team with more talent and depth going into this year than he has since Shaq was around. A big part of his declining scoring averages had been increasing talent around him (and injuries), not a decline in his ability.


Hopefully this year's depth can get get Kobe more rest. And hopefully when the Lakers are struggling, Kobe will kick his teammates in the ass to step up, and channel his inner Luke Walton and get them to run the offense better as a team.


There are times and places where Kobe will have to be Kobe and take over. But as he gets older and his supporting cast gets stronger, it should be less frequent. The Lakers need a healthy Kobe for the playoffs, not one banged up and worn down to a nub by carrying his teammates.

It will age like wine.

Well Kobe definitely won't lead the league in scoring the next three seasons as Jordan did. The only number that Kobe is going to gun for is the three titles that Jordan won after turning 32. With the current Lakers team Kobe should garner more of a veteran leadership role (much like last year) and he won't have to put up all the major statistics. That being said he will still be in the top five in the league in scoring and, come April, the Lakers should be primed for another deep playoff run where Kobe can again take over and lead them to the THREEPEAT!!!

A healthy KOBE at age 32, 33 and 34 can still dominate the game in a triangle offense because he is equipped with every skill known to a basketball player.


It is much easier for Kobe at age 32 because he has Bynum and Gasol who can dominate the game as well. Kobe can be a facilitator late in his career and still dominate the game. MJ had to keep scoring points because he did not play with great centers.

Wow - this thread went up at 7:58 am - it's now 11:15 am with not one single comment posted.


Thanks LAT blog substitutes. Thanks a lot.

It's 11:20 a.m., do you know where MM is?

Without insta-posting, this place is no fun...
I suggest you guys to NOT FEED THE TROLLS. They'll go away eventually. If we keep feeding them, it will be a mess...like now.
-
Think about it.

Good Morning????

Hmm, either the world has stopped or insta-post is off...

Kobe may never again be the spectacular high flying act he was in the early days of his career but he now has the best "fundamentally sound" foundation and he is the most disciplined and intelligent player in the Game today.

So my take on it is that his game may take hits "statistically" speaking, but overall, like a fine wine, it still will be much better. And I agree with Barry Stavro's assessment that the Kobster will definitely be gunning for an additional 3 or more titles to finish off his career...

Which will absolutely make him THE GREATEST EVER!!!!!

I feel a lot better about the chances of the Lakers winning the title this year because John Hollinger picked the Heat to win the title. His method of picking the champion (statistical) is usually way off. He didn't think the Lakers or Celtics would get to the conference finals, let alone the finals.

Like fine wine.

test

What happened to my earlier post on this thread? No bad content at all. Are you moderating or disentigrating?

If anyone out there follows Ron Artest on Twitter, then you definitely saw that he has read about Doc's comments yesterday and from his tweets he's gonna be storing that into his "motivational" drive for this upcoming year.

He saw it as VERY disrespectful... OHHH I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE REG SEASON TO BEGIN!!!!!!!!

What stage of Lakerholism are you in if you are going through withdrawals during the offseason and then those symptoms increase dramatically when insta-posting is turned off?

So my take on it is that his game may take hits "statistically" speaking, but overall, like a fine wine, it still will be much better. And I agree with Barry Stavro's assessment that the Kobster will definitely be gunning for an additional 3 or more titles to finish off his career...

Which will absolutely make him THE GREATEST EVER!!!!!

Posted by: HalosAnt | August 25, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Behind Bill Russell, title wise. Greatest ever guard - maybe, maybe not. IMO, Kobe does not crack the best starting 5 team - both MJ's start ahead of him. Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the best player ever.

Kobe will age beautifully - I hope to see 25 ppg for awhile. That will be the sign of a healthy Lakers squad.

Where are all the comments for this thread that would have posted earlier than puddle's @ 10:20 am?

Mine was there and now missing.

I'm sure others are also missing.

What's going on???

I miss MM.......

Disregard my comment about my earlier post. It has appeared!

cowtown - you're terminal. Like most of the rest of us.

EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!


What do we play for? RINGS!!!


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


GO LAKERS!!!

FATAL attraction II coming to town......

Here I sit at 4,000 elevation in Northen Cal and wondering, how the folks are handling the smog and heat in LA. A great recipe for road rage.

to my favorite halo - can you post a link to Ron's comments?

Could the Heat trio of stars rain on lakers pursuit of three peat ?

Could the Heat trio rain on Kobe's pursuit of greatest lakers by denying him the 6th title?

It concerns me, especially the ESPN pundits have already conceded the best of east to Heat by a landslide margin, yikes!!


Behind Bill Russell, title wise. Greatest ever guard - maybe, maybe not. IMO, Kobe does not crack the best starting 5 team - both MJ's start ahead of him. Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the best player ever.

Kobe will age beautifully - I hope to see 25 ppg for awhile. That will be the sign of a healthy Lakers squad.

Posted by: Otis | August 25, 2010 at 11:49 AM

*******************

Ok let's assume that when all is said and done, Kobe does manage to capture at least 3 more titles by the time he finally retires. Leavig him with 8 for a career. Can you honestly say that you would not consider him the Greatest Ever? Consider the ERA in which this feat would be accomplished in. The level of talent and skill in the NBA now is Head & Shoulders above the level of talent in the era of Bill Russell and Kareem for that matter. MJ's era was slightly more so than theirs.

Look, No disrespect to the LEGENDS before Kobe, and I'm not taking away from their accomplishments but IMO, IF Kobe manages to do what we're talking about here, against the BEST of today, then I think that he DESERVES to hold the title of G.O.A.T/G.L.O.A.T.

Lrob, you ever sleep?
Posted by: LakerFanInCowTown | August 25, 2010 at 09:02 AM

LFICT - wifey asks the same thing. Definitely not as much as I should...and this blog sure ain't helping...lol.

Barry - I should've thanked you not MM for this post. Good thought starter.

Looks like everyone pretty much agrees about Kobe...what about Fish?

During the regular season, there were stretches where he was terrible - his shooting touch was way off, he was a step slow on defense, etc. Then, he totally redeemed himself in the postseason with his leadership and CLUTCH plays...man, there's no WAY we would have won without him.

Do you guys think he needs a certain amount of time on the court during the regular season in order to be productive during the post season or can we play Blake more to keep him fresh and hope that he's still able to come through during crunch time?

Do you remember Horry in 2003 playoffs? We probably consider him one of the most clutch performers in playoff history, but guess how many threes he made in 2003 playoffs? 2 for 38! omg! I remember that he couldn't hit the side of a barn, but I didn't realize it was that bad! I just hope something like that doesn't happen to Fish.

I HATE MJ

pls dont make me explain myself again

Kobe has a team with more talent and depth going into this year than he has since Shaq was around. A big part of his declining scoring averages had been increasing talent around him (and injuries), not a decline in his ability.


Hopefully this year's depth can get get Kobe more rest. And hopefully when the Lakers are struggling, Kobe will kick his teammates in the ass to step up, and channel his inner Luke Walton and get them to run the offense better as a team.


There are times and places where Kobe will have to be Kobe and take over. But as he gets older and his supporting cast gets stronger, it should be less frequent. The Lakers need a healthy Kobe for the playoffs, not one banged up and worn down to a nub by carrying his teammates.

Posted by: Tom Daniels | August 25, 2010 at 10:35 AM
======

Exemplary post, TD! For the short term, the Matt Barnes signing was extremely important because Kobe will not have to log in nearly as many minutes at the 3 this season. Hopefully Shannon Brown will continue to improve and Sasha will play with the urgency he will need to stay in the NBA so that Kobe can play reduced minutes at the 2. I have a feeling that Sasha may wind up back in Europe next season, especially given that no NBA team was interested in him the first time he became a free agent. The reality is that Kobe loves being on the court anyway, so expect him to average around 36 mpg during the 82 game practice season and whatever is required of him during the playoffs.

In terms of the long haul, it really in anyone's guess. Rather than using Michael Jordan as the measuring stick, I prefer to look at a player from another sport whose dedication to physical fitness rivaled Kobe's. In 1997, at the age of 35, Jerry Rice tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee during the opening game of the season. He actually returned to play the last game and cracked his left patella. In the three preceding seasons at ages 32-34, he averaged 114 receptions, about 14 yards per reception and 12 TDs per season, certainly HOF numbers at any age. After he returned from his injury, he played productively until he was 41, but from the ages of 36-38, he averaged 75 receptions, about 12.5 yards per catch and 7 TD per season. Was there a decline? Of course. Were his numbers and contributions respectable? Absolutely.

Superstars of this caliber are known for their longevity and productivity even in the absence of steroids. The reason I chose Jerry Rice as the measuring stick was strictly on the basis of his similar dedication to physical fitness every waking day of his professional football career. Throw in the devastating knee injury and you see why players like Jerry Rice heal better than other athletes and how a player like Kobe Bryant can play through broken fingers, sprained ankles, torn knee cartilage and and an assortment of other injuries. Kobe will have a long and productive career. Whether he continues to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy obviously depends on the quality of the players around him and, in my opinion, how good the Thunder, Blazers and Miami Heat become over the next few seasons.

DBDH

Great question! Maybe we should revisit the great 1996 draft (1st round only) to carefully consider our final answer by comparing Bryant to his contemporaries instead of the incredible MJ, for now:

(R)=Retired
(B)=Beast Mode
(C)=Champion
(M)=MVP
(O)=Okay
(T)=Terrible
(W)=Who?
(D)=Deceased
(U)=Ugh!
=====

Great analysis, except that perhaps you should have added a (S)=Solid to differentiate players like Marcus Camby and Peja Stojakovic from players like Tony Delk and Travis Knight. Even an (A) for All-Star would have been nice. Regardless, great idea and great post!

Kobe's game will age VERY well. Just ask the experts; LeBronze, Riles, Wade, etc.

--FEARless

@ KobeMVP888,

Indeed! "S" for solid would be perfect. "O" for okay is too vague. Thanks for the input and compliments.

DBDH!

@LakerFanInCowTown,

First my condolences for having to put up with Kings fans. Second, I agree about both Horry and Fish. The problem is in the NBA, some guys age all at once. It just happens. There are so many great players whose final season in the game is just terrible. And I mean horrid.

We were worried that last season was Fish's such season. But, he showed that he crystallizes instead of crumbles under pressure.

Sometimes a smart player can ride that for a few more years, like being a designated hitter in the AL.

We'll have to wait and see.

--FEARless

@LakerFanInCowTown,

First my condolences for having to put up with Kings fans. Second, I agree about both Horry and Fish. The problem is in the NBA, some guys age all at once. It just happens. There are so many great players whose final season in the game is just terrible. And I mean horrid.

We were worried that last season was Fish's such season. But, he showed that he crystallizes instead of crumbles under pressure.

Sometimes a smart player can ride that for a few more years, like being a designated hitter in the AL.

We'll have to wait and see.

--FEARless

His game will probably turn out to be a little more extended than Jordan's. First of all his perimeter game has always been better than Jordan's and for a sustained period of time. Jordan had to add a long range jumper to his repertoire. Kobe already had it. If he wanted to just become a fade away post player, a mid-range jump shooter or a long range shooter, he wouldn't have to take the ball to the rack that many times a game. The last three years he has shortened his times to rack anyway. I don't see him having too many problems as he gets older. The real decline in scoring however, has not come because of reduced skill sets, it has come because his teams are much better.

Skilled,fundamentally sound players r playing longer in todays game. Kobe is both skilled and fundamentally sound.

One reason minutes and points declined in later years for MJ, and last 2 years for Kobe, is that they were on great teams that often were up big on opponents during the regular season so MJ and Kobe could sit out some fourth quarters. Its not all just age. Most important is what they did in big games and big moments - it would be interesting to see what their percentage was on last minute shooting.

Kobe's dedication to himself ,is what makes him different from other alltime greats. If he continues in the league for the next 5yrs & stays injuryfree from any further major earthquakes to his bones,his game will remain steady. His stats may dip a slight bit, but the way i grewup with Kobe's game these last 15yrs,its fair for me to say: He will continue to amaze us all year after year unlike any other great oldtimer in thier late years. Kobe doesnt play basketball if he cant dominate himself &the league. Any year he's on the roster, you all can be assured he's still his amazing self, one of a kind! In 2 or 3yrs his stats may decline a few points in most categories. But that wont mean the city of Los Angeles will begin to stop being amazed by him. He will remain 1 of top 5 players in the game every year he plays until he retires. After 3 or 4 more years if he isnt 1of the top 5players in the league, he doesnt play basketball & will retire. Dont you fellas see..? His TOPSHELF confidence drives him to be the best every year. Until the year comes where he would nolonger consider himself the best in the league or to himself- is when he will choose to retire. Bottomline, what makes Kobe different from any other aging alltime great is- his ultimate refusal to lose any of his swagger while ever on the court. He's 1of the best ever& will never allow himself to settle for less, including during his late years. The mans a basketball wrecking machine! He mite be the greatest athlete ever in sports history. He's already equipped with the highest level of devotion-that can be given from any 1man for a sport. Or atleast thats my personal opinion. The guy's special to me in a way i have never seen anybody else be in any other sport. Tell me if my other fellow laker fans can see this? 'What i noticed most about Kobe in his younger years& every year to the present is- how obviously insane his love is for the game of basketball. I mean i can see it in his face every second he's on the court. His greatness &love for the sport ,i dont think can ever be matched!'
"Amazement" we will all be in after watching Kobe have his greatest year this year& next!

I'll put it like this...when they interviewed Fish after the Lakers won the title he said something like, "what alot of people dont realize is that Kobe could average 40". What does that tell you? He has already been the post up Guard in the game the past 5+ seasons, he's still a threat from 3 and he has more overall moves and game than anyone in the league. While is game has transitioned to more post ups and pullups, he still gets to the hole and draws fouls. While I may be a Huge Laker fan, if you see replay after replay Kobe gets fouled and held more than just about anyone with no calls because the officials KNOW that he can still dominate even with no whistles. If he got calls the way he used to, they may as well shut down the league....

I think it is a fair assumption to assume that MJ failed in baseball when not looking at all the facts and just focusing in on the stats. In reality he hit 200 during his first season but was able to push that average up to 250 during the fall season! If he was able to push his average to 250 in the fall league he actually was batting over 300 and it appears that his learning curve (based on how many innings he'd played) its a fair assumption to say that at least he would of been around a 300 average batter and in the big leagues he'd probably kept that average up based on his INCREDIBLE learning curve. When MJ started playing professional baseball he was confused by the curve ball, but his INCREDIBLE work ethic of putting in hours before games, then hours after games, allowed his INCREDIBLE hand and eye coordination to adjust at an incredible rate that he would have made it to the big leagues had he desired to continue playing baseball. He stated himself that he'd retired from baseball because he'd seen what he had to see (which I believe means he could have made it based what White Sox may have promised him). He promised his father he'd try to play baseball because he was fulfilling his father's dream after loosing him to a tragic murder. So you can't really say he failed. He left baseball willingly and most likely the ball club he left would have done anything possible to keep him as he was ended up proving everyone wrong and the team also made tons of money. ESPN had an INCREDIBLE documentary on this.

Kobe will do fine. Nobody can touch anyone on the perimeter these days anyway. He'll still have a pretty bad field goal percentage and he'll still have Gasol and/or Artest to bail him out of shooting slumps. Nothing much will change.

Kobe Bryant isn't a more consistent perimeter shooter than Jordan was, that's a myth. Kobe does take many more 3-pointers and is streakier in that regard, but Jordan was actually a better shooter overall because he was able to get more lift and create more space fading away on his jumpers. Jordan is the greatest midrange shooter of all time, and he did it during the most brutal defensive era of the NBA (influenced by the 'Bad Boy' Pistons and the Pat Riley Knicks).

From age 27 up until the age of 40, Jordan was primarily a midrange fadeaway jump shooter (yes, he posted players up, but he still shot jumpers over them). In fact his 69-pt game against the Cavs in March 1990 was the result of mostly outside shooting, not drives to the basket. His 55-pt game against the Knicks in '95 - after not playing basketball for almost 2 years - was done on mostly jumpers.

I've watched Jordan and Kobe for their entire careers, and Jordan is the better shooter and definitely the better decision maker. Just look at the field goal percentages at the same age for both players. Jordan is better at every age, excluding the return from baseball in the spring of '95. How can Kobe be the better shooter when he has NEVER shot 47% in ANY season of his career, while Jordan shot OVER 47% for ten seasons?

And consider this - Kobe's regular-season career 3-pt percentage is 34%...only 1.3% better than Jordan at 32.7%. And in the *playoffs* they are virtually tied, with Kobe shooting 33.7% to Jordan's 33.2%. But the overall field goal percentage is the true indicator of shooting prowess.

But this is about more than mere stats. All you have to do is go on YouTube and look up any random game Jordan played in a Bulls uniform during the 90s. Jordan was just better overall, period, and the first person who would agree would be Kobe Bryant himself. That fact that Kobe has built his entire career from emulating Jordan's moves - from the fadeaway jumper to sticking his tongue out on drives to the basket to draping towels over his shoulders and knees while sitting on the bench - is an indication of this. Kobe is an extremely hard worker, but so was Jordan. And Jordan's will to win was unmatched. Make Jordan 32 years old again and Kobe would be in serious trouble...it's just that Jordan never had a true peer to measure himself against after Bird and Magic retired.

Kobe has spent his entire career chasing Jordan, and he'll never quite catch him. Being the second-greatest shooting guard of all time after Jordan isn't so bad though.

KOBE ... WON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP EARLY OF HIS CAREER ... THAT'S QUICK.. ,,,,...... NOW ADDED 2CHAMPS RECENTLY ... WHY COMPARING WITH MICHAEL JORDAN?....

With the team Kobe has with the Lakers right now he will still win another title or 2 before he retires. But i bet he will still be a insane player till he retires. This article here just shows how Kobe Bryant is better then Michael Jordan.

1. Kobe is playing way better competition then Jordan did.

2. Kobe has played way more games then MJ did and he's still playing at a high level.

The only thing that will have people remember MJ being better then Kobe was MJ did this first. So obviously all the old farts out there will stick with MJ but everyone in today's time knows who the man is Kobe.

LeBron James could of been compared to MJ and Kobe but by doing what he did by bailing out on his team just ruined his legacy. 1 championship with the cavs would of been better than anything he wins with the Heat and Wade and Bosh.

Haha. Kobe isn't playing against better competition than Jordan did. The NBA today is watered-down and doesn't have the defensive intensity than the NBA during the late 80s and 90s. It's more of an open, Euro-style game nowadays with no hand-checking and huge runways down the lane to either drive to the hole or kick it out for 3-pointers. Players today don't have to worry about getting smashed when they go to the basket. Put Kobe up against the Detroit Pistons from the late 80s or the Knicks from the early 90s and he wouldn't average over 23 ppg. Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer would've smacked Kobe's broken finger every single chance they got and treated him with no mercy.

Kobe Bryant himself would tell you he's isn't quite as good as Michael Jordan. He's way too intelligent to say otherwise.

Hasn't Kobe's game been aging since 2007. Age is not the issue here but mileage. And if you consider minutes played, Kobe's game is more comparable to the 36 year old Jordan who 'retired' after the second 3-peat.

Having said that, Kobe has already proven that he knows how to adjust his game to still play at the elite level. After 14 NBA seasons, Kobe is still regarded as the game's best player after Jordan's Bulls era. Where is Iverson, T-Mac, Vince Carter, or the other high-flyers mentioned alongside Kobe a decade ago???

Among the older group of athletic superstars, only Kobe is still mentioned alongside the younger generation such as Wade, Durant and Lebron. And despite Kobe's age, Kobe is still regarded as the best when compared to the younger crop.

That is impressive considering that most of Kobe's draft batchmates are considered "past-their-primes".


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