Michael vs. Kobe: Who's better?
Coach Phil Jackson gets asked the question every once in a while and is often reluctant to go into great detail with his answer.
Who's better: Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant?
It came up again thousands of miles from Los Angeles, after the Lakers practiced in Barcelona, Spain, on Day Six of their eight-game European trek.
"Well, I guess I'd be about as good a judge as anybody on that, having been able to coach both those players," Jackson said. "Great competitors. Similarities in their game are great. Perhaps the eras have changed a little bit...."
Then he got a little less politically correct.
"We love the idea that it could happen, that Kobe could win a sixth ring. I'm sure Michael is watching with great anticipation as to how it's going to come out too."
It was one of many developments Wednesday, which included a practice session at Palau Sant Jordi ... sort of.
"We're doing pretty good in the 'NBA Cares' clinics, but we're not doing so great with our own practices," said Jackson, who has maintained all along that the Lakers' exhibition season would be ruined because of the trip to Europe.
"I had five guys miss the team bus this morning. I blame Pau [Gasol] for that, but we won't hold it against him. He took them out last night and showed them some of the sights of Barcelona. We got a little bit behind the eight ball on this trip."
Bryant said he would play in Thursday's exhibition against Regal FC Barcelona but did not say how long he would stay on the court. He played only six minutes in the team's exhibition opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday in London.
Bryant also said he would strongly consider playing for FC Barcelona after his NBA playing days were behind him.
"At the end of my career, if I really sat down and thought about coming over to Europe and playing, Barcelona has to be [up there]," he said. "It's just such a beautiful place, a beautiful oganization."
There were some injury developments as well. Reserve forward Derrick Caracter sustained a sprained ankle at Wednesday's practice, said Jackson, who also acknowledged limiting reserve center Theo Ratliff's practice time because of knee tendinitis.
Finally, Jackson was asked yet again if he would be back next season. He said no but left just enough of a small opening, as he has done since the season began.
"I really don't have any intention of coaching," he said. "Of course, you can never say never in this game. There's just too many opportunities."
-- Mike Bresnahan