Below are excerpts from a recent conversation with Lakers author Roland Lazenby. He's writing a biography on Michael Jordan titled "MJ: The Life," which is scheduled to be released in 2013. Lazenby has already shared (via Twitter) why Jordan says he believes that Kobe Bryant deserves being compared to him. And with the Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats visiting the Lakers on Tuesday, it's timely to touch on Lazenby's recent conversation with me. You can listen to the entire 25-minute interview above.
Lazenby on why Jordan thinks Bryant deserves being compared to him: "Kobe had done the work. He [Jordan] was very aware and taking in great interest in Kobe Bryant's great work ethic. Michael Jordan's work ethic also is legendary. He said Kobe had done that work to deserve the comparison. He says Kobe's the only one to have done the work."
Comparing Jordan and Bryant: Jordan was this kind of guy who could get position in the post and hold it. Jordan is one of the greatest post weapons in the history of the game despite the fact he's not a post player, center or power forward. But he's a great post-up scorer. Tex [Winter] always remarked that Kobe didn't quite have the same strength or center of gravity. Kobe is a fine post-up player, but he could get shoved off the block easier than Michael.
Kobe has defined himself by his singular pursuit of this agenda of the Jordan legacy. That causes him to be overshadowed, but Kobe has clearly staked out territory as his own. In some ways, his drive and determination is every bit that of Michael Jordan. In some ways, it probably eclipses that. There's no question the game preparation and the effort that Kobe has done from the time he was 17 years old, no one comes close to that. Tex would say not even Michael in that regard, and Jordan worked very hard.