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Kobe and MJ

Posted by Neil Paine on December 8, 2008

I have to say that I'm really enjoying FreeDarko's new book, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac. It's one of the most unique basketball books I've ever read, and the artwork is nothing short of, well, macrophenomenal. But the purpose of this post isn't simply to plug FD's book -- though you should really check it out -- rather, it's about the Almanac's chapter on Kobe Bryant. They start it off thusly:

Check the résumé -- it's absolutely impeccable. A 6'6" shooting guard with limitless physical tools, a hell-bent perfectionist, Kobe Bryant works tirelessly to condition his body and enhance his game. He's fearless in the clutch, voraciously competitive, and serious to the point of bleakness.

If the parallels to Michael Jordan weren't clear in the opening paragraph, they go on to characterize Bryant as a man with a similarly obsessive need to win as MJ (except without the mentorship of a Dean Smith to provide balance in his personality), and they list as Kobe's player comparison "a smarter, more neurotic Michael Jordan". Now, certainly FreeDarko is not the first to make the MJ-Kobe juxtaposition, as it was practically tailor-made for Bryant by the media from the first moment he stepped onto an NBA court. But reading that chapter made me think further about the Jordan-Kobe comparison, one which is almost tacit at this point, so ingrained as to be a fundamental assumption of today's NBA landscape. Looking at the stats, exactly how "Jordanesque" is Bryant?

Let's examine the respective progressions of Jordan and Bryant's careers through age 29, using some of the stats in Dean Oliver's seminal book Basketball on Paper. Specifically, we're going to take a look at each player's offensive rating (points produced per 100 possessions used), the % of team possessions they use when on the court, and their defensive rating (points allowed per 100 opponent possessions). I'm also going to adjust these numbers for the era in which the players played, with a little help from our old friend the pythagorean expectation.

If you recall, a team's winning % can be approximated by the following formula:

Pythagorean Win % = (ORtg14 / (ORtg14 + DRtg14))

Well, we can also apply this to individual ratings, as a means of calculating offensive and defensive "winning percentages":

OW% = (ORtg14 / (ORtg14 + LgRtg14))

DW% = (LgRtg14 / (LgRtg14 + DRtg14))

With these numbers in hand, you can use simple algebra to rearrange each equation and solve for ORtg and DRtg, which you can then use to "translate" an OW% or DW% to its equivalent ORtg/DRtg in any given season, using the league's rating:

Translated ORtg = (LgRtg * OW%1/14) / ((1-OW%)1/14)

Translated DRtg = ((LgRtg14 - (DW% * LgRtg14))1/14) / (DW%1/14)

In this example, we're going to translate Kobe and MJ's numbers to the environment of the 2007-08 season, when the average team scored 1.075 pts/possession:

Age  Player  Year  Tm   trORtg  %Poss  trDRtg  Player  Season  Tm   trORtg  %Poss  trDRtg
---+-------+-----+----+-------+------+-------+-------+-------+----+-------+------+-------
21   Bryant  2000  LAL  114.1   26.3   101.2   Jordan  1985    CHI  117.4   29.5   106.4
22   Bryant  2001  LAL  116.8   30.6   109.6   Jordan  1986    CHI  109.5   35.8   107.3
23   Bryant  2002  LAL  115.0   30.0   105.8   Jordan  1987    CHI  115.7   35.9   103.5
24   Bryant  2003  LAL  115.6   32.0   106.4   Jordan  1988    CHI  122.3   32.4   100.8
25   Bryant  2004  LAL  117.4   28.5   106.1   Jordan  1989    CHI  122.2   31.9   102.8
26   Bryant  2005  LAL  112.7   31.6   112.9   Jordan  1990    CHI  122.4   32.4   104.9
27   Bryant  2006  LAL  115.0   36.5   106.7   Jordan  1991    CHI  124.9   31.3   101.2
28   Bryant  2007  LAL  116.5   32.6   110.2   Jordan  1992    CHI  120.4   30.2   101.0
29   Bryant  2008  LAL  115.0   30.6   104.8   Jordan  1993    CHI  118.7   32.8   101.9
---+-------+-----+----+-------+------+-------+-------+-------+----+-------+------+-------

As you can see, out of necessity Jordan was taking on a large offensive responsibility early in his career; as his teammates got better, he slowly eased back on the workload, and his efficiency improved as a result. Kobe's story is the opposite: with great teammates early, he didn't have to do as much, but when Shaq left before the '05 season, Kobe was actually forced to take a larger role in the offense than even Jordan ever had to.

It's more interesting, though, to look at the efficiency levels the players maintained vs. their % of possessions used. The mark of a truly great offensive player is to maintain a high level of efficiency while taking on a large share of the team's offensive responsibility, and even though Kobe's numbers are impressive, Jordan is consistently more efficient than Bryant no matter if he's using more possessions or not. Also, note the translated defensive ratings: aside from their age-21 seasons, MJ is better (sometimes vastly so) at every turn.

In other words -- and this should be obvious -- when we watch Kobe play, we're seeing a far lesser version of Michael Jordan in action. Similar in style and mannerism, maybe, but when we translate the statistics for era, it becomes very clear that Jordan was actually the one "playing chess" while Bryant "plays checkers". This isn't meant to denigrate Kobe Bryant or FreeDarko's characterization of him, of course, but rather to highlight the fact that MJ operated on a different level than perhaps anyone else in NBA history (as we've seen time and again, compare anyone to Jordan and they'll invariably fall short). I've found that the more time passes, the greater the temptation is to focus on current players as "this generation's (insert Hall of Famer here)"... Fortunately, by looking at the numbers we can separating hype from reality and more impartially judge the merit of such comparisons.

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111 Responses to “Kobe and MJ”

  1. Larry Says:

    This isn't even close. Kobe needs to prove he is better than Wade or Lebron before he is even in Jordan's league.

    Jordan 87-93 was pretty special, over 7 seasons he averaged 33.2 ppg on 52% from the field. Again, that's a 7 season average. Looking at points per 100 possessions, Jordan torches Kobe. Kobe has averaged 112 on his career, topping out at 115. Jordan
    averaged 118 on his career (11 above the league average in those
    seasons), hitting 125, and with 5 seasons at 123+. In 96 he was 24
    pp100p better than the league average. Kobe at his best was 12 above the league average (and 7 above league average on his career).

  2. Matthew Says:

    jordan every year was special...it is hilarious this comparison still is going on...Yes Bryant is a top player and a great one in this era, but LeBron James has gotten better (scary) and will continue to improve at 23. It is he who owns the league now and you can see it in his confidence and body language. I am so sick of this comparison that it really gets old and boring. Dwyane Wade is a closer comparison to Jordan with his ability to drive and finish much better than Bryant. Thank you Larry for answering this crap for basketball fans, or should I just say Laker fans who have nothing else to do but try to make it seem like Bryant is better than Jordan.

    Once again I am not saying Bryant is not a great player, but spectators and fans are so quick to forget the past. Throw out all the numbers because they only tell half the story, Kobe Bryant is just a wannabe Jordan who failed like every other player will. Its pretty funny this crap is still being talked about as he is in his 30s now and it is an old 30 at that. This comparison is laughable, it really is. Bryant should be behind bars for rape anyway and he's quite eccentric as well.

  3. ag Says:

    Different rules, different eras.
    Not comparable.
    And lol @ Lebron & Wade being anywhere near as good as Kobe.

    Jordan is much more dominant over his respective era. Kobe is as good, but not nearly as dominant.

  4. Jose Says:

    You're absolutely right. When you compare stats across the board, Kobe doesn't measure up. MJ set an overall standard of excellence which will likely never be matched or surpassed. Kobe might have been the next best thing since MJ left, but he's hardly MJ's equal. What Kobe pulls off reasonably well is an imitation of the older MJ's (post retirement) finesse game. Yet he's not as efficient at it, which makes him a lesser version of the older MJ, who was himself a lesser version of the younger MJ. People want another MJ but it's pretty obvious to folks who can look past the stylistic similarities that Kobe is "just" a great player. That's hardly a bad thing, but I agree that the comparisons in which people suggest that Kobe is as good or better than MJ are not very realistic. There's just not enough basis in actual player performance for them.

  5. detrimental Says:

    Thanks for the read, for anybody interested in statistical information, this is generally common knowledge. However, for the modern fan fixed on the eye-splendor of the game and unfortunately missed out on Jordan's game, it is less obvious.

    What's funny, to me, about the comparison in personality traits though is that he calls Kobe Bryant "smarter". That's about the point where I either skip the chapter, or close the book entirely.

  6. D54 Says:

    Kobe talks in a more sophisticated and structured way HENCE “a smarter, more neurotic Michael Jordan”

    "Trade me"

  7. MAINE FROM THE WEST Says:

    kobe needs to win atleast 2-3 with out shaq then and only then can we have this talk .....kobe is the man dont get me wrong but BIG MIKE was the MAN ...

  8. Sanchez Says:

    My only quibble is the notion that Kobe is far less or no comparison to MJ.
    -Jordan was actually the one “playing chess” while Bryant “plays checkers”.
    -"when we watch Kobe play, we’re seeing a far lesser version of Michael Jordan in action."
    The problem is that Kobe might be the best SG other than MJ in history. (an interesting study perhaps?) I think the proper context to think of Kobe is that he's as close to MJ as we'll ever see in terms of style and quality. Kobe's a great player ... he only looks bad compared to MJ. That is a complement to both.

  9. Pinky Says:

    Wouldn't Shaquille O'Neal's efficiency and statistics have been exorbitantly inflated if he had played in Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell's era? Does this make Shaq a great deal better than Wilt and Russell?

    Kobe, Lebron and DWade would run roughshod, figuratively and statistically, over the league that Jordan played in, in the same way that Jordan did.

    While most stars would be stars in any era, the average NBA player today is much, much better (physically, mentally, in training, nutrition, preparation) than the average NBA player even 15 years ago. Statistically, average players are the same across the years (they're "average"), relative to each other, but in absolute terms the average NBA player has improved over the years.

    By definition, most of the statistics accumulated are against "average" players (or I should say "average" starters, as they accumulate the bulk of the minutes, but you get my point).

    Also, zone defense is tougher for individuals to score on than a man-to-man defense where you cannot double team until the offensive player has the ball, and hand checking still goes uncalled in the league.

  10. aimless Says:

    Pinky, that's a fair argument but also remember this: people levels of greatness aren't developed in a vacuum. You become great not only through talent and passion but also from setting yourself against competition. If the average level of NBA play is higher today and thus pushes today's stars to be better, that does not mean that a star from previous decades would not still be a star (assuming you put them through a whole career development).

    So let's assume, on an absolute scale, a star today is better than a star 20 years ago, due to the average level of proficiency. I'm pretty sure if you timewarped a young MJ into today's world, he'd still dominate and get pushed to be even better than he was in the 90's due to this supposed higher level of competition.

    Long point short, the people you play against matter not only because of how good they are, but how good they make you.

  11. Big Baller 247 Says:

    Look, Matthew is just a big Kobe hater, alot people are. Im sure everybody has there own reasons why they hate him or love him. But Kobe is his own person just like MJ. I think its wrong to compare any two people. But, when you look at the stats just like everybody in this world does. Kobe never is going to be the player Michael was. However, on the flip side of this whole equation, you have to look past the stats and look at how competitive they are and how it hurts them deep inside to lose. There dedication and desire to win is defintely something we can all look at when we compare these two. Times have changed and when MJ was dominating, the league was alot different than it is today. Therefore, the stats are irrevelant and i think that there both on the same level when it comes to how much they love the game. Kobe is the most polished player in the NBA right now and i think it's unfair to compare him with somebody who doesn't even play anymore. lol. Let's focus on the here and now and see if Kobe can write another chapter in his book, not MJ's.

  12. Pinky Says:

    Aimless - I addressed your point when I wrote that "most stars would be stars in any era", including Jordan.
    ...

    Statistics are only measurements against the players you play against, most of whom are not stars.

    So while I have no qualms in saying that Jordan is hands down greater relative to his contemporaries than Kobe is to Kobe's generation, I hesitate to say MJ is heads and shoulders above Kobe (or even Lebron)in absolute terms.

  13. SASpurs Says:

    Aimless, brilliantly said...
    Jordan reached a point of greatness to the extent that not a single person could actually doubt he was the best player on the planet. A guy with that kind of drive and determination cannot be stopped, and it's safe to say he would be doing the exact same thing today or 50 years ago.
    Kobe, on the other hand, just won his first MVP and still many (myself included) don't think he's the best player in the NBA... he's done nothing to convince me that he's a winner, besides getting to the finals and choking in a manner in which Jordan has never "accomplished"... this argument is absurd. Jordan would rape Kobe, and I wasn't trying to make a joke there.

  14. Joe D. Says:

    "I hesitate to say MJ is heads and shoulders above Kobe (or even Lebron)in absolute terms."

    I'll say it then.

  15. H Says:

    great analysis!
    on top of all these impressive crunched figures, I would say that from a bballer point of view, having watched countless nba games, both from the jordan-bulls era and from the kobe-lakers era, at no time during a bulls game did i have the impression that mj was forcing shots, he was always in the flow of the game and "just" happens to have more shot opportunities delivered to him than to luc longley. different situation with kobe: as a baller i always have the feeling that he is forcing shots and is not in the flow of the offense.

  16. Dontrelle Says:

    I have watched MJ's entire career from start to finish as I have Kobe's. And the best compliment you can give to anyone is to emulate them. With that being said without MJ there would be No Kobe or DWade or Lebron. Yes these guys would still probably be in the NBA but there skills were brought to the point that they are b/c of MJ and it's obvious that MJ made them better, wanting to be like Mike made them hown thier skills. Kobe and DWade more so DWade walks plays just like MJ, Lebron has the competitive spirit of MJ but plays a different style game not as graceful as Mike but still very good and powerful. So when you try to compare a legend to future legends remember why the future legends are being compared in the first place. The reason is b/c they are so similar to the legend if your Dad was GREAT you can try to get to that point but the reason you would even be mentioned in his greatness is b/c you emulated everything about him and MJ is the Father and his son's want to be just like Mike! MJ was so good and so much better than everyone else that he got bored simply tired of winning so he quit. My only regret about watching MJ play was him retiring for 2 years in between two 3-Peats if he doesn't retire the Bulls win 8 consecutive NBA Titles and that's a fact. Houston beat Orlando and NY for thier titles and the Bulls with MJ would hve won the East those 2 years and crushed Houston!

  17. LeWrong Names Says:

    Why all the angst over comparing Kobe to Jordan- BB247 even goes as far as to say "...I think its wrong to compare any two people." Duh! this is sports, sports is all about comparison and winning based on a set of arbitrary rules. I find the Kobe vs MJ debate difficult to ascertain but definitely not immoral. I wish there was a more definitive way to settle the argument, like a head to head between the two in the primes (my money is on MJ any day) just as I wish it were possible to have a Mike Tyson-Ali fight in their primes. One can argue by Tyson's era boxers were WAY stronger and faster, then again Ali was dominated the competition he had at the time. Tyson did not have career longevity, but at one point was so dominant all he needed was to land one well-thrown punch to knock out ANY opponent something he routinely did in the first or second round, during his prime, Tyson's mix of brute strength and speed was unmatched and probably unprecedented. Although Tyson could have probably concussed Ali with a well-timed haymaker, Ali was very cerebral and versatile, adjusting his fighting style to suit his opponent. (My money would be on Ali on a head to head in their primes)

  18. Jason J Says:

    I don't like this comparison as much as most people do. While Kobe lifted a lot of moves from Mike (and any 2 guard with his size and physical skills better be lifting moves from a 6 time Finals MVP), their play styles are not that similar.

    Kobe has averaged 5 or more 3 point attempts every year (until this one) since Shaq left. Jordan never averaged more than 4 and only averaged as many as 3 four times in his 13 season career (hit better than 35% each other those seasons). Kobe is first and foremost a jump shooter. He's terrific at getting himself to the line (one of only 4 players to ever average over 5 threes and 9 free throw attempts per game simultaneously - and he's done it the last 4 years in a row).

    Jordan was much more of a paint scorer. He posted up, and he drove to the basket a lot more. He had become a great jump shooter by the late 80's, but it was always a secondary weapon, something to use when the defense completely clogged the paint.

    There are of course basic physical advantages that Jordan enjoyed. He was quicker and more explosive, stronger and had larger hands. He's game was predicated on his physical abilities, and his extraordinary skill set was secondary (you had to keep him from dunking on every play or he would have dunked on every play). Kobe works in the opposite order. He's a great penetrator and finisher at the rim, but he's going to take the open J when you give it to him and only work his way closer to the basket when forced to. They have similar looking skills but are very different players.

    That said, they also have had very different teammates. Kobe's never had a point guard / forward of Pippen's quality, and Jordan never played with a post presence like Gasol much less O'Neal. So Kobe's ability to hit the paint for quick strikes off of his own movement was never as important without a great pg, and Jordan's ability to launch a lot of deep shots was never as crucial without a big man to play off of.

    Another difference is evident if you just look at how they try to get shots off. Kobe's wide array of jabs, fakes, and fades is more reminiscent of an older Jordan. Mike in his prime was more likely to make a quick move and elevate right away. You saw it against the Celtics when Kobe repeatedly had trouble getting clean looks against Pierce and Posey. He probably could have jumped straight up and shot over them at any time, but that's not his game. Instead he threw multiple fakes that didn't moved them and forced up tough fades with them bodied up to him. Kobe is probably the best tough shot maker I've ever seen though - him or Bird.

  19. Dontrelle Says:

    (Jason J)

    Very good points you make, me myself I like them both along with D-Wade and LeBron. But I must admit I am probably one of the biggest MJ fans that there is and the reason I enjoy watching Kobe and D-Wade is b/c they remind me of Jordan so much but your right Kobe's game is slighty different than Jordan's but you can see were it evolved from. Kobe now plays like the final 3-Peat jordan after he stopped going to the hole b/c teams were trying to hurt him. He then worked exstensivly on his jumper, mid range jumper, fade away, turnaround fade away jumper and he was deadly with it. When he released it you knew almost everytime it was going in and I see that in Kobe. So that's my point you can't compare them MJ was great as Chris Webber says the Black Jesus of basketball just an assassin and they all studied MJ's game and put thier twist on it and they all admit it b/c he was and is the greatest. There will never be another MJ or Bird or Pistol Pete (incredible scorer and ball handler that I have only seen tapes of) but as KB24 said himself "C'mon man that's MJ he is the best ever, stop comparing me to him. I don't want to be better than Jordan I want to be the best Kobe I can be, let me be me" Nuff said and I agree with Kobe let's just let them all be the best that they can be and be happy we can all witness it....

  20. Kevin Says:

    You cant compare kobe and micheal because they played in two different era's..michael jordans era was slow n boring with ok athletes..you put those players(bird Mchale parish pippen johnson malone) against the players now days they wouldnt stand a chance. now days there more athletic better defender's.EVERYONE can score..back then there were a couple of players that are considered great. jordan just made the game better...you put michael jordan with the players now days when he was in his prime...he would be good but not great!!!!!

  21. Kobe Says:

    It's "their" not "there" you idiots.

  22. Daryl Fountain Says:

    MJ vs. Kobe is a very good debate. Some people say Kobe no way but look at a few things. Kobe's in a league that most say is more talented overall (I don't necessarily agree... MJ's competition package was deadly... Olajuwon, Ewing, Drexler, Magic, Isiah, Bird, Nique... I'm trying to be impartial lol. Either way this league now has a different talent. Faster, stronger not as smart because of physical gifts but none-the-less fantastic.

    Right now Kobe is in a league of his own. You can use the new crew, D-Wade, Lebron and Melo as an example. D-wade has blazing speed, Lebron is physically unmatchable and Melo is almost "lights out" even from the lost art of the mid range game. All true but all these facets are in Kobe's game. The speed to turn the corner is great, the jumper is phenomenal (back to the basket all day) and the physical has always been there. It gets better every year even. D-Wade is my favorite NBA player, but his shot can use a bit more work. Lebron still can't shoot free throws and Lebron has the ball at the point and averages less assists than D-Wade. Melo is good, he will most likely be the odd man out when we look back in twenty years. Many gifts but the drive may be questioned. I would still consider him great though. The only thing Kobe has in his game that I don't like is his desire to win at ALL costs. Sometimes he is wreckless in his approach. Too much checkers, a cocky man's game.

  23. Scott Says:

    People are often too quick in discounting the quality of NBA basketball in the 80's/90's in these kinds of debates. Although it has been offset by a broader influx of international players, expansion has certainly affected the number players who get jobs in the NBA. Jordan played against fewer teams, and it could reasonably be argued- against a more elite sample of his peers, than the Kobe's and LeBrons see today.

    Also, and this is a point numerous writers have already made- todays rules (particularly the way hand-checking is called) are designed to aid slashing perimeter scorers like D-Wade. Young Jordan would have averaged 20 free-throw attempts in today's rules. The NBA has also changed the way it's calling off-ball contact fouls, and the game as a result was a lot "rougher" 20 years back. The bad-boy Pistons, and the 90-93 Knicks are great examples of teams that played physical in a way that no team plays today- and MJ owned both those teams.

  24. Marcus Says:

    Note that statistical analysis oftentimes is as much "hype" as subjective analysis. Especially if all you're using is the Pythagorean Expectation to make any sort of definitive claim.

  25. Dontrelle Says:

    (Kobe Says)

    LMAO...Oh who made you Mr. Spell Check, we are typing you know how it is...go finish your term paper...lol....

  26. Demetrius Says:

    I totally agree with ag. He is the only one who made sense all u otha people are jordan crazy because yall have seen to much of his highlight clips. But think about it Kobe and Jordan are very much tha same player. Back in the Jordan Era the players that jordan was matched up against wasnt nearly as atheltic as the players kobe play wit now. Kobe and Jordan play tha same game very simple.

  27. Daryl Fountain Says:

    Still Kobe can light you up any time for any reason. He can be an exhibitionist, he can be methodical. He can run a half court offense. He utterly dominates. On top of that he's fun to watch especially lately. He went in basically alone against three All-star/Hall of Famer's last year. You can say MJ never lost a Finals but man look at the competition. That was ridiculous in itself. And this is a crime that I even commit. I don't give Kobe the MJ lifestyle he was allowed to live by the fans, the Refs and even his coach. Jordan was simply a hog. Take that as it may sound. But its the truth. Sure we were in awe of his game, and who better for the job than the critically acclaimed man of the millineum. It seems that we don't want Kobe to enjoy as much success as MJ. That's all there is to it. I said that I made the mistake myself. But as you can see people don't like him. To say that Lebron is close right now is an insult. Luckily Lebron is great so his career won't be ended prematurely. People, for years I saw pubescent NBA careers fall short of their potential for being named the next Jordan. It's very ridiculous. MJ was beloved by all for many reasons, but most of all he took the game out of the slow old 80's to the new and improves 90's flawlessly. I give him every bit of credit. But we don't want that from Kobe. It seems we want him to have a below average team where he has to take sixty shots a game.

  28. Paul Nguyen Says:

    "Kobe is probably the best tough shot maker I’ve ever seen though - him or Bird."

    Jason J makes some good points but there are some errors in the thinking as in Kobe's.

    The game is based on skill and athleticism but you need to practice and execute it repeatedly to excel AS EFFICIENTLY as possible. Think about it, the only reason Kobe/Bird ever got so good with those tough shots is to practice and take them over and over. But it doesn't mean it's for the best.

    MJ dunked everything he could because that was pretty much the easiest and highest percentage shot available. He set up all the defenders so that he could take the best shot to succeed and most of the time it was a dunk. In his prime, MJ had just as good a jump shot as Kobe but just didn't have quite the range of Kobe - but he never really needed it as he could ALWAYS get a high percentage shot. Never needing to take those deep 3s repeatedly kept MJ from extending his range to something similar to Kobe's.

    Having a great jump shot, Kobe SETTLES for a safe gimme more times than not as opposed to taking it to the rack for a GUARANTEED 2 points or and1. That difference there shows you why MJ was so much more EFFICIENT than Kobe or any other 2 guard.

    Again, not saying Kobe's not good or great but there's another level of efficiency there that MJ elevated it to by making SIMPLER shots not TOUGHER shots.

  29. chris Says:

    Not only is it clear based on stats alone that Jordan is superior, but you also have to consider other factors. Jordan won 6 titles in which he dominated the game. Kobe won 3 and you couldn't even say he was the best player on the team during that stretch (Shaq).

  30. Marcus Says:

    Again, the problem is that the author is dealing in absolutes. As Pinky pointed out "statistics are only measurements against the players you play against." Cross-generation comparisons through transplanting players into different eras is so pointless. The only relatively accurate measure of a player's "greatness" is the impact they have on their respective eras.

  31. Daryl Fountain Says:

    Give Kobe his credit he is Great. Let that be known. This tribute is not to say Kobe is better, but he has really yet to be able to release his full potential people because people really despise him for one reason or another.

  32. mase Says:

    Bloggers don't even know what the experienced basketball heads think of this comparison. Ask Sam Smith or a slew of Chicago sports-writers who followed the Jordan years and then watched Kobe since '98 and you'll be hard pressed to find one that doesn't think they do eerily similar things on the court and have pratically identical abilities. Phil Jackson himself is quoted as saying "Kobe's offensive arsenal is slightly greater than Jordan's was, but MJ has the edge on defense." Nice to have a top defensive player in Pippen along side you as well so you can play the passing lanes though. They (MJ and Kobe) have both accomplished so much in many similar ways which is why the comparison has grown to what it is. This was never a "Harold Minor" comparison to MJ. So many people here have forgotten how Kobe played in his first 8 years, when he was the ultimate carbon-copy of MJ. Haters only look at the most recent shortcomings, and don't see the "greatness" that everyone has talked about for years--instead they are blinded by Lebron's razzle dazzle. LeBron may prove to be greater than both when his story is all said and done, but for now, go look up old tape and watch Kobe perform in the playoffs of those 2000-2002 championships. If you haven't watched a majority of Laker games and just watch sportscenter highlights on Kobe's work, then you are not seeing anything close to the big picture that the smartest veteran basketball players, GM's, scouts, and writers all say: Kobe is the closest thing to MJ in this era of basketball.

  33. Marcus Says:

    "Not only is it clear based on stats alone that Jordan is superior, but you also have to consider other factors. Jordan won 6 titles in which he dominated the game. Kobe won 3 and you couldn’t even say he was the best player on the team during that stretch (Shaq)."

    Again, here's the problem. (Not disagreeing with the bulk of your statement). The author needs to define the points of comparison. Are we talking in terms of absolutes, or impact?

  34. Derrick C. Says:

    Let me first state that this is just my OPINION, and every one is RESPECTFULLY entitled to theirs.

    Players play in different eras and I believe all people will pick their favorite player based on when they grew up and came of age and/or based on which position they like the best. For example, if they like centers, then they might think Wilt Chamberlain or Shaq is the best. If they like power forwards, they might think Tim Duncan or Karl Malone is the best. If they came of age in the 1980's, they might think Magic's Showtime Lakers or Bird's Celtics are the best. Etc, etc, etc....

    That stated, I love guards because I feel they have to work harder to get to the basket, are usually shorter and smaller in size, defend the front- and back-court, and they need to be fundamentally sound, able to handle the ball, and have a shot from the perimeter. Also, I grew up in the 1980s and came of age in the 1990s.

    I rate my best player based on numbers (they don't lie, but of course it still depends on which stats and awards/honors you feel are most important) and then other intangible arguable things, such as will to win, showmanship, style, leadership, team play, competiveness, consistency, athletic ability, work ethic, strength, and likeableness. (All of these are must haves in my opinion.)

    To me, MJ has all these things. He is the complete total package. For the numbers go to basketball-reference.com. They have this cool feature were you can compare different players based on multiple specific stats. I mean a lot of stats!, besides the standard ones. For example, PER (Player Efficiency Rating, which is a big stat for me; Jordan is the CAREER leader in this stat), win shares, offensive rating, player usage percentage, etc. Also, you can compare players by age or season in the league.

    If you compare MJ to Kobe, so far MJ leads in MOST of the "per game" numbers for the MAJORITY of his WHOLE career. ("per game" and "percentages" are more important to me than "totals", though "totals" speak towards longevity.)

    As far as the arguable, intangible qualities, in my opinion MJ is also the best. Yes you have his awards/honors and records, but even more so his combination of will to win, competitiveness, showmanship, style, leadership, team play, athletic ability, work ethic, strength, consistency, humility, love of the game, and likeability are in my opinion second to none.

    It's Kobe's time now (and good for him, I love this game!), but to me His Airness is the greatest.
    :)

  35. Jason J Says:

    I love the "less athletic competition" cop-out. Because Dwyane Wade and Vince Carter are shutting Kobe down and keeping him from matching Jordan's efficiency? Do people watch ball or just make stuff up that sounds vaguely logical? If I recall the best perimeter defenders in the league for the past five years or so have been Bruce Bowen, Ron Artest, Tayshawn Prince, and Shane Battier. Not a leaper among them (well Bowen has a pretty good jump kick to the groin), and really relatively little quickness.

    For that matter there were plenty of great athletes in the 80s and 90s, but back when you could touch perimeter players on the dribble. That meant being quick and agile was often less valuable than being strong and physical. Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman would grab your hip while you tried to dribble by them... and it was legal. Hell, the best defensive team in the league was New York, and they didn't have a small forward on the whole squad, just a waive of 4s. The way the Spurs defend in the playoffs where they just hold you... everyone was allowed to do that back then. That's why most of the best players back then were centers and power forwards - Hakeem, Shaq, Robinson, Barkley, Malone, and Ewing were probably the top 6 guys you'd want to build a team around in the 90s after Jordan.

    Dominique & Drexler were every bit as talented and athletic as anybody going today (well not LeBron). Hell guys like Gerald Wilkins and Ron Harper might have been stars if you couldn't put a hand on them on the perimeter and your center got called for 3 seconds when he waited at the rim to challenge their drives.

    By the same token today's bigs have it tougher because they can be doubled without the ball making post feeds much more difficult, and defensively they have to try to contest shots when they are out of position on opposing guards' drives to the basket (hence Mutumbo style shot blockers are out, and mobile but less powerful, Camby types are necessary - or you can be a man-beast like Dwight. That has always worked and will always work).

    They changed the rules of the game specifically to try to get some Jordan-like performances back in the league, and it worked. Perimeter players averages jumped up nicely, but that is the reason that athletic wing players are so valuable and numerous today. That and the fact that Jordan left a powerful imprint on the players of this past generation and along with Krause and PJax created a blue print for owners to try to build contenders around wing players.

  36. Darin Says:

    It's really hard to compare considering how much bigger and faster players are today. I was watching a replay of the 1992 finals game and Jordan looked like a toothpick. But, at the time, I thought he was bulked up. Who knows what Jordan's stats would have looked like in today's game. Besides, stats aside, Magic Johnson was the best player ever in my eyes. He was the epitome of a basketball player: He could play and defend all 5 positions, dish the rock, and score. The master of the "no-look" (not "look away") pass. And if it weren't for injuries to key players, he may have had 7 rings.

  37. Dontrelle Says:

    Demetrius

    Not Jordan crazy just watched him play live many, many times not highlight clips I'm 39 when Jordan played at NC and came to the league in 85 I was in 10th grade. And as far as the era Jordan played in let's not forget he didn't play in the 60's and 70's with a bunch of clumsy slow people he played from 85-2003. As for todays players being quicker and stronger and athletic, not to many people in the league today are stronger than Karl Malone, David Robinson, Kevin Willis, Rodman, to name a few and quickness John Starks, Kevin Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and their where many atheletes Jordan just took them all to school.

    Here are some stats for everyone:
    G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% OFF DEF RPG APG SPG BPG TO PF
    82 67 37.0 .445 .291 .821 .90 5.20 6.10 3.8 1.50 .48 2.11 2.10

    PPG 20.0

    These are Jordans stats from the 02-03 season when he was 41 years old, that's 41 years old playing against Kobe and everybody else except for Leborn and crew they were not drafted until 2003. So even in this era at age 41 MJ averaged 20 a night with bad knees and put 40 up 7 or 8 times that year at 41 years of age. There are only 23 players right now in this era in the entire league averaging atleast 20 points a night. So even when he was a old man in basketball standards he was still bust'in everyones arse. Only time will tell what the faster, stronger, more athletic ballers of today can do at age 41 but I guarantee they won't be putting up 20 a night...now that's greatness defense will now rest...LMAO

  38. tomne14f Says:

    Manu is a better comparison to MJ. Is he the white MJ? I am not saying he is better or even close, but plays the same position and I can't think of any other white player even close to being that efficient.

  39. Jason J Says:

    Magic could defend all 5 positions? I guess I can too, but neither of us is very good at it. Magic played the passing lanes beautifully and was very good at coordinating a defense, but a versatile defender like Kevin Garnett he was not. He was terrible at defending penetrators and not very good at keeping bigs off the boards or out of the paint in general (and why should he, be? He wasn't heavy enough to hold his ground). He matched up best against SFs or SGs, but you could expect to see a lot of Michael Cooper against any top tier wing scorers and Scott on any dangerous PGs (and of course Green / Thompson on the best PFs and Cs). All that being said, Magic may in fact be the best player ever. He's definitely in the argument.

    And Jordan's stats in today's game? Considering that Wade is basically Jordan minus 2 inches, a post game, and a reliable jump shot, and he's the second most productive player in league right now... he'd probably be okay.

  40. Mike G Says:

    In playoffs:
    Thru age 28, MJ had 19.8 Win Shares, in 3862 minutes.
    Kobe has totalled 14.9 WS in 5084 min.
    Per 484 min (1.0 is average), Jordan got 2.48 WS, Kobe 1.42
    That is, Kobe's been 42% better than an average playoff performer.
    Jordan was 148% better than avg, thru the same age.
    (According to WS)

  41. Aaron Says:

    Sure. MJ was more efficient. But Kobe has a superior offensive game to what Jordan ever acquired. You can't do numbers because Kobe wasn't a starter right out(even though he should have been) and played few minutes to begin his career. Kobe has worked on perfecting every offensive move possible. His footwork is meticulous. He developed his left hand and his three point shot better than MJ could ever hope for. His fallaway is just as good as MJs. So, sure, we'll give MJ the numbers, but the reason why this is still a debate is because real basketball fans see the greatness in Kobe's unparalleled offensive repertoire.

  42. agnine Says:

    Jasaon J, you are omewhat right about magic being a defender, but Jordan quite often got burnt by smaller penetraters, look at Starks, Kevin Johnson, Eddie Jones. Pippen was the perimeter defender on that team, and in each 3peat, MJ had quick PF who defended excellently. Magic played center in the Finals, often switched positions throughout games, and excelled. Was he a shut down defender, no, but he would funnel his man to Kareem, Rambis or Thompson, just like Jordan did with Grant and Rodman. The one thing I think Kobe does excel at over MJ, is Kobe became a shut down defender.

  43. Pinky Says:

    Marcus - exactly.

    When comparing, are we talking absolutes, or relative to their competition?

    Also, whenever someone defends the athleticism of the 1980s, they're always mentioning the best players of that era. Like I said earlier, you've got to compare the AVERAGE players of the era, then you will see how different the players are (stronger, faster, more prepared, physically and mentally).

    The best will always be the best, but the middle has gotten so much better. As for the bottom? I'm not convinced, but the bottom may still be the bottom, or slightly moved up from the past.

    And hand checking is still alive and well today, just ask anyone who plays the Boston Celtics. Now you add the ability to zone and help with impunity (again, the defensive 3 second call is about as effective as the hand-checking rule), and you've got all around tougher defenses.

  44. j_for Says:

    comparison huh?. how about today's celtics vs bird-mchale-parish celts. hmmm.
    today's lakers vs magic-kareem-worthy lakers. This pistons vs dumars-isaiah-laimbeer deeetroit.
    ewing-oakley-starks knick vs this years' best defensive team. how about them 72-10 bulls to this days competition. ahhhhh, the 80's and 90's.

  45. S Says:

    Both MJ and Kobe are among the greatest offensive players ever. Which was a better scorer is up for debate (I say Jordan). Which was a better player is not. Even if it is as close as some wish to make it on the offensive end, you cannot deny that MJ was a superior defender than Kobe.

    MJ: 9 TIME NBA All-Defensive first team (kobe's got 6), 3 steals titles, Defnsive Player of the year award...

    Oh yea, and then there's those playoff numbers...

    NO CONTEST.

  46. j_for Says:

    sorry to disappoint you agnine,

    but MJ happened to be multiple-time member of first defensive team and one time defensive player of the year. check it out.

  47. S Says:

    Also... MJ was the first to ever have 200 steals and 100 blocks in a season. That happened to be the season he dropped 37 points a game.

    'Nuff said.

  48. S Says:

    MJ = GOAT

  49. Jay Says:

    MJ is hands down the ultimate MAN...

    MJ played against far superior competition each night. The players now are undeveloped "potential", that's it. Think about what Barkley said years ago about him playing past his prime and still dominating, "I'm only around because these dummies can't play". He eluded to the fact that his generation forced old-heads out the league at age 31-34. Now with a watered down league, guys dominate into their 40's, only because they are superior players. Gary Payton, Stockton, Malone, Ewing, Cheif, Drexler and of course MJ racking up 20 PPG past age 40. Reggie Miller could still drop 15 a night if he came out of retirement...

    P.S. Why is Iverson still shaking folks down at age 33 when he has below average quickness, size and athleticism?

  50. Scott Says:

    Paul Nguyen you are wrong in onebasic facet. At the same aga Jordan was more like Lebron is. Overpowering physically and super athletic. He was not a good shooter. He devolped his mid range game when he couldn't dunk on everyone. Until that point he relied on his speed and athletic ability to overmatch people. Kobe is not as good as Jordan, and I am a huge Kobe fan, but he is the closet thing to it. Lebron may pass them both but only when he developes the rest of his game. Wade is good but he is not better than Kobe or Lebron he hets most of his points bia the ref. On a side note did anyone else notice how much Lebron and Chris Paul and the rest of the Olympic players games got better after Kobe played with them. Look at their games in the league prior to playing with him and then after and you will see a huge differance, especially Lebron. He suddenly learned how to play defence after playing with Kobe.

  51. Ethan Says:

    Jason J, the point you made about Wade dominating as a 6'4" version of Jordan is excellent. He's not a better leaper than Jordan was, he isn't stronger, isn't a better shooter, and is less of a cold-blooded bastard. Yet still he rocks out for like 30 a night. What would Jordan be doing? The answer is that he would have absolutely feasted on the league had he come up in this era.

    As for Kobe, he's a better shooter than Jordan from three-point range, but like you said, that's basically it. Jordan was stronger, faster, a better mid-range jump shooter, and a more consistent defender. He also took over games in a way that is hard to describe. He would dominate both ends of the floor, and you just knew that he couldn't lose. Lots of players have games that are sort of like that, but with Jordan it was different, and anyone who watched him knows exactly what I mean. The closest I've seen since was that playoff game with LeBron against the Pistons two years ago.

    Which brings me to another topic. This talk about Kobe/Jordan is interesting and all, but it seems kind of misguided at this point. Because good as Kobe has been, LeBron is better right now than Kobe was at any point in his career. LeBron isn't nearly as good a three-point shooter, but at this point you'd have to take LeBron over Kobe in virtually every other area of the game. He's a far superior athelete, we've really never seen anything remotely like him. He is incredibly strong, jumps out of the building, is faster than hell, and is a great ballhandler for his size. He's also an immeasurably better passer, a better teammate, and he's become a better and more versatile defender. Just look at the playoffs last year. With far less around him, LeBron presented incredible challenges for the Celtics defensively. They had to run everything they had at him, because Pierce couldn't check him, and he still nearly won game seven for Cleveland. Kobe got basically locked down by Pierce, while Pierce tore Kobe up. I'm definitely not saying Pierce is better than Kobe, but hey, that would have never happened to Jordan, and it didn't happen to LeBron.

    In the end, I think it is LeBron who is on track to pass Jordan up, barring injury. He's not there yet, but the discussions about who the best player in the league is should have effectively ended after the Finals last year. It's LeBron, and it isn't close.

    Let me end by saying this: I didn't like him at first, but I have grown to love Kobe. He's an incredible player, and strikes me as an interesting and intelligent person. I actually think that one of the best compliments I can give him is that, regardless of what other people say, he seems to have a very different personality and mental makeup than Jordan. Jordan was unique in that he was ruthless beyond all measure, a massive asshole (who punches Steve Kerr in the eye?), and was competitive to the point you had to wonder about his sanity. Yet he somehow combined all these normally destructive attributes with a pragmatism and focus that allowed him to become the best player the game has ever seen. I don't know if we'll ever see a player with Jordan's mentality again, and that is probably a good thing, because Jordan was/is a pretty awful person. Here's hoping that whoever does eventually take his place is a bit more likeable and decent.

  52. Rod Says:

    First off let me say I am a die hard MJ and Kobe fan and I respect LBJ for what he does night in and night out. I have watched plenty of games between the three future hall of famers. Lebron is still young and has along way to go, Kobe is in his prime and Jordan is gone but they are three greats regardless of the era they played in and the number of seasons they averaged 30 ppg.

    I beleive that if you put Jordan and Kobe one on one in the same era they would match head up. People are always talking about the MVP's and other awards but can anyone tell me what competition Jordan had in his career? You have to look at the nba as a whole. You have to look at the other players of Jordan era and even the teams. For example, look at the season the bulls won 72 games what competition did they have??? Jordan got competition from the bad boy pistons(the best defense he ever saw in his career) but other than that in the late 80s the defense was washed up in the 90s. Also, MJ averaged 30 alot of seasons but the style of play in the 90s was "run n gun" so Jordan got plenty of easy dunks, more chances for steals and blocks. We compare the two greats but how can we when Jordan played in an "scoring era" and Kobe has played in a "defense wins championships era". Kobe has been in a conference that has been competitive his entire career so ofcourse his numbers are lower than Jordan then put in the fact that he played with Shaq the first "8 years" of his career! No one on here will say honestly MJ would have averaged 30 playing with Shaq. MJ was a true winner and did not even care about points just about that chapionship in June. In the end Jordan numbers are better than Kobe's but stop comparing two different players of two different eras and for the ones who keep talking about the 90s its "2008" and jordan is "retired" just like kobe will oneday and then there will be a 3 way discussion about who's the best between Jordan, Kobe, and LBJ.

  53. Rod Says:

    Lebron over Kobe! No way! LBJ is great but doesnt have that killer instinct. If we wanna compare lets compare what happen LBJ went to the finals(2007) and Kobe(2008). They both lost but the lakers lost to the better team(Celtics 08). Clevland got demolished by the Spurs(0-4). Lebron goes to the line bites his finger nails and misses free throws. Kobe or MJ never did that.

  54. jay Says:

    its clear from the age 21 and moving forward their stats are very similar Kobe has less shooting percentage simply because he was a 3 pt shooter MJ didn't start hitting 3's until very late in his careers.

    I know its not popular amongst the MJ apologist but Kobe is just about every bit the player MJ was. His averages of over 40 a month in 4 different month's in his career his explosive season at 35ppg to MJ's 37,MJ's career high being 69 in 3 ot's and Kobe scoring 81 in 48 minutes if that game had went 3 ot's Kobe would have likely scored 100. and consider KLobe scored 61 in 3 against the mavs and 56 in 3 against the Grizz thats 2 other games he could have legitimately scored over 70 or 80 points unheard of.

    Kobe will never mean as much to fans because MJ was 1st and Kobe's image has taken a hit for Colorado, his feud with Shaq and the appearance that he somehow cloned MJ 's game.

    But on the court and the view from his peers he's there. a top 5 player in NBA history with anoputer 8-9 years to go.

    MJ fans don;t seem to remember MJ's struggles or the fact that in 3 years pre Pippen MJ's record was .500

    They just seem to believe he walked on water and invented the fadeaway jumper.

    Kobe is there with MJ and a couple more titles with his loaded current cast and he'll be in the conversation as the GOAT.

  55. Curt Says:

    I'm a longtime DIEHARD Laker fan (since 1979), and a big Kobe fan. I watched both players through their entire careers, and I hate to say it, the numbers don't lie. No matter what era. Anyone who thinks MJ wouldn't have pushed harder if he were playing today, and dominated just the way he did in the 90's is crazy. The thing that Kobe lacks is the heart that MJ had. MJ never ever ever would've been blown out in Boston like Kobe was. MJ never would've been blown out in the Phoenix game 7 like Kobe was. Someone else said it, people just WANT him to be MJ. I want him to be MJ. I'm as guilty as anyone, but he's not. Let's give it a rest. I'm more interested to see how LBJ develops over the next 5 years anyway. Best player of all time may not even be a discussion after that. He's scaring me right now he's so good, and at 23!!! Kobe is the second best SG of all time, which ain't bad, but he's a DISTANT second to MJ.

  56. Vish Says:

    I am a DIE HARD Kobe fan.
    I have not seen MJ play, so i dont have much to say about his game.
    But for the past 6 years that i have followed Kobe he has done nothing but treat my eyes to game after game of greatness.

    I still cannot forget the cluchest of performances he gave during the 08 Olympics.

    I just wish we can all stop making such comparisons between players from 2 different eras and
    just start enjoying their games.

    To me Kobe is the best thing in the world. I learnt a very important message from him.
    "Always try to be the best that you can be". To me that is what Kobe signifies.

    Kobe might care a little bit about being the best player ever.
    But in the end i am sure he will be happy with what he accomplished.

    So i guess we should all be at peace with our choices of who the best player is and not worry about convincing others.

  57. Vish Says:

    I have a comment for "Curt".

    Curt, i VERY TRULY believe that MJ would not have been able to do absolutely anything against Boston if he had played them last year.

    Celtics triple teamed Kobe. I still can remember Posey, Garnett and Alen running into him like a pack of wolves.

    Are you telling me that MJ in a similar situation would have somehow magically done levitation and flew to the basket and dunked the ball?

    I get so sick when people say "MJ would not have allowed this to happen". What Kobe supposed to do by himself.

    The one important/consistent lessons that i learned from watching BNA for the past 6 years is that BATMAN ALWAYS NEEDS HIS ROBIN.
    MJ had a Pippen.
    Kobe had Vuacic, Farmar, Ariza, Rodmonavic, - a bunch of 2nd or 3rd year NBA players.

    Basketball is a TEAM game you need players of caliber to win champioships.
    Duncan had Parker and Ginobili.

  58. Roy Jones Says:

    Statistics manifest and magnify a players contribution while he is playing or long after. You can never compare evenly because the two played in different eras. With that being said, from era to era, the rule of engagement change and limit the effectiveness of a players' ability to navigate through the court and score. The hand-check and defensive 3 seconds to name a few. Basketball has always been physical, but the players(a lot of top 50 and hall of famers)were more physical when they defended in Jordan's era. Kobe scored 81 against an expansion team without 1 top defensive player and regular season game; Jordan scored 63 in the Boston Garden against top 50 players and hall of famers in the playoffs. Nuff said. Kobe's resume is impressive, but Jordan would get the job if they read both. The only player in NBA All-Star game history to produce a Triple-Double. Kobe plays great, Jordan is a Great player. Kobe needs about 2 more rings, 3 more scoring titles, 2 more reg season MVPs and about 2 NBA finals MVP awards; then maybe we can open this debate again. Wait.......................never mind.

  59. Vish Says:

    Roy Jones your analysis is completely skewed.
    The definition of MVP is not the same as it used to be.
    MJ would not get a regular season MVP if he played in this era.

    When MJ played the celtic hall famers, they were fading or in the last lap of professional careers. So i would say his 63 doesnt count.

    And for all those people who say Jordan played in a physical era - Kobe did play in a very physical 08 Olympics and brought home the GOLD medal.

  60. Brian Says:

    Kobe quit in that playoff game a couple years ago and refused to shoot. He wouldnt rebound or do anything. Jordan never quit any game that I saw. He played hard on both ends of the court. Kobe stops people on D when he is in the mood.

    The arguement that players today are better are tougher is strange to me. They use to bang alot more back in the 80's. Players played defense and the league wasnt concerned with making it easier to score. Athletic players now drive the lane hoping to get bailed out.

    Someone commented that everyone can score in todays game. That may be true but thats why the teams that have been winning titles play more like teams from MJ's era. The pistons, spurs, celtics all play a team game with team defense. Is anyone really suprised the Suns didnt win a title.

    MJ made his team better because people wanted to play hard for him. Kobe demands trades until players develope despite him and then everything is ok.

    With the game on the line you knew MJ was going to win it and you only think Kobe might.

  61. Mike E Says:

    First, MJ's best attribute was that he would do anything to win...he would never let anything get in the way of winning the game. That was his best talent. Even in his day there were people who could jump higher but MJ had the all around skills plus the mental makeup to become, basically, the perfect baller. He could play off the ball, set screens, and play defense better than Kobe and he shot a higher percentage. Kobe is an all-time great, that's why these comparisons to MJ don't do him justice because it takes away from the fact he's the 2nd best 2-guard the league has seen (but watch out, D-Wade's career is far from over). To those who keep saying the league is so much better now please sit through a OKC-Wolves game and get back to me. People act like players from the 90's aren't STILL playing in the league or just recently retired. There a LOT of very strong, athletic players in the late 80's/90's who also knew the fundamentals and were all-around players. All of us have played in the gym against older guys who schooled us just because they knew the game and still retained a little of their athleticism. So now you're saying players who just retired in the last 10 years couldn't even play in today's NBA? Like the earlier post mentioned, MJ hit for 50 (twice) when he was 40 against the "new breed of player"...and people really want to argue as to what he would have done against these guys at 26?

  62. Burke Says:

    To all those who say that MJ would have just been okay in this era...didn't a 40 year old MJ score over 20 ppg in the early 2000's? Really now! He was a geezer as was a really good player. With the rule changes that they made regarding hand checking, MJ would be getting to the line almost every time he went up the floor. Kobe is a sensational player, and I don't know if we'll see another player of his caliber, but MJ was superior. That said, we should enjoy Kobe, he's a joy to watch and simply amazing.

  63. the big j Says:

    kobe doesn't measure up to MJ on any analysis. wade and lebron (both younger) will end up being much better than kobe. remember that kobe got 3 rings riding shaq's coat tails and single handedly cost the lakers a 4th ring in '04 vs. the pistons. last year's nba finals was an embarrassment for kobe as he was exposed. can you ever imagine an MJ team getting blown out by 40 in a deciding game? wade led his team to a ring with a subpar shaq, lebron has jewelry coming his way (maybe this year) and kobe has nothing. nothing but a stroke of luck that he isn't locked up in colorado making license plates...

  64. Ahmad Says:

    can we just watch and not compare!

    Michael Jordan is the Greatest Player of All Time!

    Kobe Bryant is the Greatest Player of this era!

    so....... let's just watch and enjoy and then when Kobe retires we will start to compare their stats!...

    ok people!!!!!!! stop comparing !

  65. Me Says:

    [MJ] would dominate both ends of the floor, and you just knew that he couldn’t lose. Lots of players have games that are sort of like that, but with Jordan it was different, and anyone who watched him knows exactly what I mean. The closest I’ve seen since was that playoff game with LeBron against the Pistons two years ago.

    What Ethan says is true. Jordan was otherworldly in his ability to make opponents and their fans believe that they simply could not beat him no matter what they did. I hated it when I was watching him in the 90s, but it was what it was. None of today's stars is at that level, although Kobe, Garnett and LeBron can flash it on occasion.

    As for who was the Bulls' competition in 95-96, it was, to name a few, (1) a Magic team with Penny Hardaway at his peak and a mature young Shaq, (2) the best Supersonics team ever with Payton, Kemp, Hawkins and Schrempf, (3) one of the better Reggie/Smits Pacers teams, (4) a strong David Robinson-led Spurs team, (5) Hakeem/Horry/Drexler/Cassell Rockets coming off two championships, (6) another Stockton-Malone pick and roll machine, (7) a shut-down Knicks team with Ewing, Oakley, Mason, Starks and J.R. Reid

  66. mike Says:

    Hahahahaha this shouldn't even be a question. MJ blows him away. The only one to get close to MJ will be Lebron.

  67. Rod Says:

    (95-96)So Jordan only had a seasons worth of comp and some of those were role players who are not even goin to the hall of fame.

  68. sttjr Says:

    I like many others who have posted am I major Lakers and especially Kobe fan, and always have been.
    That being said yes MJ was and always will be the greatest all around player to ever play the game. His numbers show it on both sides of the floor as well as the awards he won. He also could have and did play in this era and did it quite well if not fantastically. I won't mention his scoring average in 2000 or the 50pts he dropped twice at 40, but how about that incredible all-star game we got to see when VC sat the bench, and we got to watch the 2 greatest players have a shoot-out in the end where both players hit basically the same fall-away j. (also probably the only all-star game really worth watching since the mid 90s)
    As far as Wade and Bron go they are some of the greatest and most exciting players to watch and will always be. They both still have long careers ahead of themselves as well as more championships to be won. In the end I see Bron being the greatest (highest) scorer of all time, how could you not? Look at what he is doing at the age of 23. However, to say they are better than Kobe at this point is quite ridiculous. Offensively they may average more ppg than Kobe, however neither one is as good a shooter as Kobe and really I don't think Jordan was either. Then again they all play a bit differently than one another, Wade does compare better to Jordan on the offensive end, and lets not forget Bron's body, the kid is huge. However, offense is only one half of the game. Bron and Wade are nowhere near where Kobe and Jordan play defense; this is obvious when they play head to head, or against other premiere 2 guards. Jordan and Kobe demand/ed to guard the best player on the other team, and can/would score as often and as much as they want against the best defender.
    No Kobe hasn't proven that he can get a championship without Shaq, but then again Michael never proved he could get one without Scotty (not that he needed to); but Wade also had Shaq (although a slower/older/less productive version); and Bron hasn't one a ring at all. He does however compare to Kobe in another way and that is his choking act in the finals; which Michael never did.
    At the end of the day MJ is/was/always will be the greatest (even if someone brings on better numbers, because MJ wouldn't let anyone beat him ever.) Kobe right now is a distant 2nd based on the fact that he plays the whole game and does this better than anyone (save for maybe KG). Wade plays the same style that MJ did and is a pretty good defender, but until he proves lock down ability will be behind the others. Bron well he is Bron the King, he is the face of the NBA now and has been since he entered the league, and he'll continue the be the face for a long time; but he also needs to get the other aspect of his game in check as well as his shooting(which has gotten soo much better in the last 2 years). He will score more than any of the others and can/should win more rings than them as well; but the greatest to ever play? Not now, and probably not ever. I do like his chances though.
    The greats will always be greats, no we cannot compare era's and there really is only film and numbers to go by in comparing, but remember they were/are great for a reason, and that's because they care and more than likely have a lot more talent than any of those around them; yes the game is a lot different now than it used to be but the people playing it aren't they are still human. MJ Bird Magic Wilt Russel...they could all play now. Kobe Bron Wade Shaq Duncan...they could have all played then; and I'm sure if you could ask any of them they would love to play in the other era just to show everyone and especially themselves that they could.
    How about instead of going at each other's throats as well as the players we talk about we just enjoy what they do, and that is something that none of us could, which is why we sit here and debate.

  69. Aaron P Says:

    The qualitative aspects of both players's games and skills can be debated as they are subjective. That other Aaron guy was saying Kobe is better offensively, has better footwork than MJ. As much as I disagree with that, it's difficult because things like footwork and fadeaways are difficult to judge. So, to me it's simple. Kobe has never won a ring on his own. Rick Kamla said it best about the 3-peat of Lakers during the Shaq & Kobe era. "(Kobe) He was not even the greatest player on his team!". Even during the finals versus Celtics. He was shut down! When MJ was facing double - triple teams during playoff games, he would still score or get others involved and still affect the game! Kobe has never shown such talent. How can you compare him then to MJ?!

    And to all you guys saying that today's players are more talented....please! You guys don't know jack about hoops! Pippen said it best (and he played long enough to judge even today's stars). He said that if MJ was at his peak today, he would be scoring 100 easily! Pippen even said that if he was being officiated using today's standards, he would have fouled out in the 1st quarter of their finals vs. Lakers the way he defended Magic. It's true, back in the 80s and 90s, it was difficult for players to score 40+ consistently as officiating then allowed for hard defense. Yet MJ was doing that consistently. Look at the stats now, people are scoring 40 easily because they get to the line more often. I find it funny seeing stats where a guy scores 20++ but only made, what, less than 5 field goals!

    I think the 80s - 90s is the best era to gauge bball greatness more than 2000s (which is too controlled by officiating) nor 1950s to 1970s (where there was still no 3 pointers, the lanes were smaller, basketball was still evolving). And MJ was the king of that said era with Bird, Magic, Olajuwon, etc.. Put those guys at their primes now or before 80s and they would still be great.

    At best, Kobe, Lebron, etc should be compared to players like Drexler, Wilkins, and others. But, to MJ? Never.

  70. Sam Ngo Says:

    I think this read was fair in some ways, and unfair in others. Yeah, it probably is true that Kobe isn't as good as Jordan was... I accept that, and most if not all people will (including Laker fans). But he is probably in the top 5 off all time. I find it frustrating how a player of his caliber can get so little respect. When somebody compares Kobe to Jordan, the natural response is to get defensive, most people choose to attack Kobe, instead of respecting his phenomenal ability. So many say that Kobe couldn't do it without Shaq, fair enough. But look at Jordan's early carrer, struggling to make the playoffs, and losing series after series. Yes Kobe had Shaq, but Jordan had Pippen, and two of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA Paxton and Kerr, spreading the floor the make Jordan's job a lot easier (take for example Finals 97'). He also had a beast of a man in Rodman, and competent big men. The Laker's had few snipers,(Horry hit a few big shots but was far from a big three point threat, Fox was one of the streakiest offensive players in Laker history, same goes with Fisher, and Byron Scotts career was winding down as the Laker's won their first championship) Don't get me wrong, there is no way the Bull's would've won any of their championships without Jordan, but neither would the Lakers have without Kobe.
    Another argument that frustrates me is when people note Jordan's defensive was vastly superior to Kobe's, fair enough his defense was better, but Kobe has made first team defense for more than half of his career. Making such comparisons between the two underscores Kobe's defensive abilities.

    As for those who say Kobe needs to compare to Wade and Lebron, before Jordan, this is just ridiculous. First of all it isn't very fair to criticize Kobe's championships with Shaq, if those very same people aren't able to criticize Wade for the very same reason. Wade is a good player, but his game is overwhelmingly more one dimensional compared to Kobe's. Wade has no threepoint threat whatsoever, can not create his shot nearly as well as Kobe, and is an above-average shooter, not to mention everytime he steps into the paint 3 whistles blow. Wade is one of the most blessed players when it comes to referees. Just watch the replays when he gets fouled closely. Wade seldom gets called for technicals, because he usually gets his calls, opposed to Kobe who is often double, triple, and sometimes quadruple teamed, taking more abuse than a prostitute on valentines day... just look at Kobe's toughness, 12 seasons in the league, without any major season ending injuries. Nobody can question his commitment.

    As for Lebron, he doesn't compare to Kobe or Jordan because his game is completely different. Yes his shooting is improving, but it's hard to believe his long range shooting will ever be phenomenal. He mainly relies on his incredibly physical body, driving to the basket, throwing the ball down as hard as he can. Lebron's game doesn't have the finesse or beauty you observe when watching jordan or Kobe in action. Down the stretch, you can noticeably see Lebron struggle to create his own shot, usually driving and then deferring to teammates. if you look back to other playoff series (Cavs-Wizards 06'), Lebron clutch=dunk or lay-up at the buzzer. If he wasn't built like an ox, his game would be exposed as one-dimensional. you wouldn't compare Kobe or Jordan to Kareem, or Bird, or Magic, so it's hard to compare them to Lebron.

    I guess this is pretty long, but this is merely a basketball fan paying tribute to a legend in the making. MJ will reign King, for a long time. Wade will be honored as an hall of fame player (more comparable to the great Clyde Drexler, who I personally thought was 'jordanesque' as well, even though he had the unfortunate privilege of playing in the same time period as Jordan). Lebron is also hall of fame material (comparable to the great Oscar Robinson). What doesn't make sense to me is that we can compare these player to one another without degrading either past or present... but when it comes to comparing Kobe and Jordan, it inevitably ends by concluding that Kobe is a spoiled copy-cat unworthy of our praise. The problem with making Jordan into the deity that people believe he is, is that we also ignore his flaws... His obsession with gambling (which some people contribute to his first retirement, which Stern may have encouraged him to), as well as the acts of infidelity he committed against his wife. I do not mean to degrade Jordan, after all he is human, I just mean to point out that although he is the greatest basketball player ever, he isn't perfect. We all know Kobe is far from it as well, but as a basketball fan you do have to respect his talent, regardless of how you feel about him.

  71. sttjr Says:

    Very well said Sam, I appreciate another fan bringing in all the ways these players "should" be "compared" & how we should see all of them for what they are, which is amazing.

  72. tbirdsc357 Says:

    Whats with all this talk about differences in "eras" between Kobe and MJ, yeah there is a difference but its not like comparing Jerry West to Kobe where there is like 25 years in between.

    MJ's last ring was in 1998 while Kobe won his first in 2000......2 years does not seem like a generation apart. Even if you were to look at MJ's last and Kobe's last, that still only 5 years apart.

    Anyone that argues that MJ played in a watered down NBA is insane. Granted that the played today are more athelitic, that does not translate into a better more skilled player. Most of these kids spend 1 year maybe 2 in college, some right out of high school, they don't have the skills and fundamentals to compare to the guys from Jordans time. I mean look at VC, all the athelitic ability in the world, excellent shooter, but has no drive and motivation to excel his game, take a look at most of the players today, most play well until they get a fat contract and then they take the rest of the time off.

    Anyway, my main point is that there is not much difference in "eras".....hell Kobe played against MJ when he was with the bulls. lol

  73. j_for Says:

    How about this. when kobe retires, will the next generations of players be compared to him or everyone will still be measured up against MJ?

    c'mon that's easy. the truth is we are being punched in the face. kobe is still playing but LBJ, wade and even him the great kobe is still being measured up against MJ.

  74. hookem Says:

    Bottom Line: Jordan CHANGED the game. Kobe just played it. Jordan was the first player to shave his head bald and wear longer shorts. Now it is impossible to see a team that doesn't wear long shorts(unless John Stockton still plays)and that doesn't have a player with a bald head. Those are stats that cannot be duplicated. That just says what the other stats doesn't. Jordan > Everyone.

  75. fredscavenger Says:

    KOBE IS THE REAL DEAL BUT SETTLES WAY TOO MUCH ON HIS JUMP SHOT. HE HITS A LOT OF DIFFICULT SHOTS BUT WILL END UP 8 FOR 25 BECAUSE HE'S TAKING SO MANY BAD SHOTS.
    JORDAN WAS A BETTER DEFENDER (KOBE CAN'T DEFEND THE POST), HE WAS STRONGER, HE WAS A SMARTER PLAYER, AND HE WAS MORE EFFICIENT (HAD A REFUSE TO BE DENIED MENTALITY).
    PEOPLE FORGET, THEY HAD TO MAKE HAND-CHECKING ILLEGAL BECAUSE THESE FASTER, MORE ATHLETIC GUYS COULDN'T SCORE. LOOK AT WHAT D-WADE IS DOING. D-WADE IS THE MOST SIMILAR TO JORDAN'S GAME PRE-1ST RETIREMENT. JORDAN ENDED CAREERS BECAUSE GUYS FEARED HIM SO MUCH, THEN HE LOCKED THEM DOWN ON THE OTHER END. JUST IMAGINE WHAT HE WOULD DO WHEN THE RULES ARE GEARED TO HELP THE OFFENSE THRIVE (NO JORDAN RULES = 40 - 50 PTS A NIGHT?)

  76. Jason Says:

    Why do people keep dismissing jordan's era as athletically obsolete? People forget, in Jordan's era, the handcheck was not illegal. For anyone who has played basketball, that in itself is a HUGE advantage when trying to score. Second, the way the game is reffed today is ten times more ticky tack than in Jordan's day as the league seems to have thrown the no call philosophy out the window and feels it necessary to call every little finger foul and jersey touch imaginable. Third, take Karl Malone, someone from Jordan's era who, when playing with the Lakers in the playoffs, battled Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Rasheed Wallace and held each of them to mediocre games as a 40 year old. Don't tell me today's athletes are superior. They have less heart and less understanding of the fundamentals of the game which are ultimately more important than slightly better athleticism.

  77. Jose Says:

    Sam, the problem is that a lot of people DON'T accept that, or else we wouldn't have folks in this very thread trying to deny it. Kobe is unquestionably a great player. A hall of famer, and in terms of overall ability (not in terms of effectiveness, however, and that's big; Larry Bird for example never possessed the overall skills of Kobe but he was a better leader and a better finisher in the clutch), one of the closest we'll ever see to Jordan. Unfortunately, some of his fans try to place him as equal or superior to Jordan and their reasoning tends to be absurd, shortsighted, or nonexistent. The truth of the matter is that knowledgeable basketball fans tend to "attack" Kobe in response to the blind fans who try to push the idea that Kobe is as good or better than MJ. So more often than not, it's the Kobe fans who trigger the very criticisms that they claim are unfair. If they want to compare Kobe to MJ, then they have to accept everything that such a comparison entails.

    Looking through these responses, someone already brought up Kobe's 80 point game as proof of Kobe's superiority. That's pretty stupid in itself, but add to that how he doesn't even consider the fact that while it was an amazing performance, he dropped those 80 points on the worst defensive team in the league at the time. To make a comparison, MJ dropped 63 on the '86 Celtics. THE '86 CELTICS. Yeah, a team which is considered to be one of the best teams ever assembled. Kobe fans tend to make various claims without offering much to support them. It's annoying and that's why the writer of this blog sought to replace hype and misinformation with a more logical and researched perspective.

    I also agree with what some other people have said about the myth that the level of play during MJ's time was lower than the level of play today. I'd like to see someone prove it, because if anything, I've seen more examples of how the league was actually tougher back then. MJ played during the era of the seven footer and there were plenty of great players in the other positions as well. It's too bad that we can't pit the 1992 dream team against an all star team composed of players from today. I have little doubt that the 1992 team would dominate.

    Oh yeah, and for the person who quoted Phil Jackson, I can do that too. I read somewhere that Phil Jackson once said a young MJ would be averaging 45 points per game in today's league. So much for the league being better these days, eh? Anyway, you can't expect Phil Jackson to choose between two greats that he coached, and especially not while he's still coaching one of them. It's called a conflict of interest.

    Everyone should check out this channel if they haven't already:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/hoopsencyclopedia

    Kobe has a ways to go before anyone can seriously put him on par with or above MJ. In fact, the task is pretty much impossible. Even if he won three more championships with the Lakers, MJ's career averages and awards are going to be greater. Kobe himself has said that MJ is the greatest to ever play the game. That should've put a stop to the comparisons, but people just can't let it go. I guess it goes to show just how much of an impact MJ had. Like J_For said, people are still comparing every new superstar (more specifically, any superstar who can score but also play at a high level in other areas) to MJ, and they will probably continue to do so for as long as the NBA exists.

  78. mytoast Says:

    Sorry, I found it really funny, people found all the excuse to defend their hero, and who wouldn't?

    BUT here is one simple KOBE VS LBJ comparision.
    LBJ got swamp by the celtic in last year's conf. final, but score more and more each game, and went for 40 in Game7.
    Same celtic defence against KOBE in the final, and we saw the all world defence in Pierce, KG & Posey.

    Sorry again to KOBE fans, i like to watch KOBE too. But sometimes begin number 2 is not so bad. Keep this argument going would only degarde KOBE's greatness.

  79. bigverga Says:

    kobe is a loser and MJ a winner, nuff said

  80. Sg Says:

    I have watched both of the athletes play ball, and I can easily say that Jordan is better. Jordan was a 'SCORER' and KOBE is a 'GREAT SHOOTING GUARD (probably 2nd to 'You know who'). Kobe will have a chance to prove him self in COURT (may be get 1 or 2 more rings, and may be not or more. We all don't know). Stats are like bikinis to me (hide the important part, but showing you the overall package), so I'm not going to consider them. We can talk about this the whole Century (if we had time), but Jordan was better DOMINANT player than KOBE is now (but we will wait). Jordan played tougher defences and but Kobe (at one point) scored 81 (totally RIDICULOUS, if you ask me), Kobe couldn't carry the Team out of the 1st, but Jordan 'COULD', and the list goes on and on (like ERIKA BADDU), and I'm sure each one of us will have their own comparisons and factors (to consider), 'BUT' Jordan will be the 'WINNER' (oh wait, HE IS THE WINNER).Kobe needs to come up with ways to WIN (at least 2 or 3 rings), only then 'WE WILL sit down and have the two names mentioned in one Sentence)...

    On the side though:
    Please don't talk about Lebron until he wins something (oops, the 'RING' that 'FLASH has in his DRAWER as we speak). Frankly, I don't see him winning a 'RING' because of his GAME. (Sure he is a monster with monster numbers (with his Monster Body and for now SPEED and POWER), but let's not forget that he has been putting monster numbers anyways), and that's mainly because of how his GAME is made of. In closing, Imagine Lebron at 31 with his 'MONSTER BODY'...(I don't think he will be putting up Monster Number)

  81. Philip Says:

    The thing that people tend to forget is that Jordan LED THE LEAGUE IN SHOT ATTEMPTS 10 times. In fact, from the 86-87 season until the end of the first Bulls 3oeat Jordan led the league in FGA 7 STRAIGHT YEARS. And of course the next 3peat, Jordan led the Bulls again for the next three seasons. So TEN STRAIGHT seasons, Jordan led the LEAGUE in FGA. And this was even after Pippen had come into his own as a player on both ends of the floor.

    Kobe has lead the league in shooting 3 TIMES from 05-06 season to 07-08 So of course Jordan's offensive numbers will be higher. He shot the ball more and he never or almost never ventured beyond 20 feet. Why is why the NBA 3pt line was brought in to 19' 9" because Jordan's jumper was not as good beyond the previous 3pt arc.

    I hate crap like this that never takes into account all of the facts. Jordan played with a superior team in a weaker time with rules changed to make it EASIER for him to dominate. Now, of course, the game is even more offensive minded, but the rules were not changed to make it possible for one player to continue his high level of play. In fact, the NBA line is back out to 23' 9" and Kobe still shoots better from there than Jordan ever did. Therefore, he takes and misses more 3pt shots than Jordan and consequently has a lower shooting percentage than Jordan.

    These things are important to consider, and nobody ever does.

    Jordan was one of the greats in the game, there is no debate there. But I have a problem with is people just trying to compare players from different eras when one's career is over and the other one is in his prime.

    This is a totally stupid "formula" that penalizes Kobe for playing with Shaq and does nothing against Jordan for playing with Grant, Pippen and Rodman. In fact, I would say that Grant was better fit for the system as he could actually score more and was younger and faster than Rodman. Not to mention a better person.

    If you believe that Jordan was better than Kobe, so be it. But coming up with a "formula" that penalizes one player while not penalizing the other for playing with an even better supporting cast than Kobe has ever had is just dumb.

    Kobe with Rodman, Grant, Pippen and Jackson would win six titles too.

    What a waste of my time.

  82. fredscavenger Says:

    I'M SORRY PHILIP BUT YOU CAN'T TELL ME RODMAN, GRANT AND PIPPEN ARE BETTER THAN SHAQ, GLEN RICE, KARL MALONE, GARY PAYTON ETC. THOSE BULLS TEAMS WERE ONLY THAT GOOD BECAUSE JORDAN MADE THEM LOOK THAT GOOD. THE BULLS WERE THE ONLY TEAM TO WIN WITHOUT A DOMINANT BIG MAN ASIDE FROM DETROIT WITH LAIMBEER AND BUDAH (AND THEY WERE PRETTY GOOD) AND THAT'S WHEN RODMAN COULD SCORE A LITTLE BIT. MOVING THE 3PT LINE WASN'T GOING TO DO ANYTHING FOR JORDAN'S SCORING OUTPUT BECAUSE HE WAS GOING TO TAKE WHAT HE WANTED AS APPOSED TO SETTLING FOR THE LONG BALL (FOOLS GOLD). THE 3PT SHOT IS A GOOD COMPLIMENT TO ANYONE'S GAME BUT RELYING ON IT AS A PRIMARY OPTION WILL NOT WIN YOU A RING (THE GAMES IS WON IN THE PAINT AND FREE-THROW LINE). JORDAN COULD AFFORD TO TAKE MORE SHOTS BECAUSE HE MADE THEM AND WAS SHUT DOWN BY NOBODY.
    BUT KOBE DIDN'T GET ENOUGH CREDIT FOR THEM CHAMPIONSHIP RUNS BECAUSE HE WAS THE CLOSER.

  83. Sg Says:

    What has 'LEBRON JAMES' done (or WON) to mentioned in these kinda conversations?

    And please, please don't mention the Olympic Gold, because, if you are a basketball (or former) player at any level, and you (or your Team) went to the Tournament of 6-8 (or even 9) games, and one of the guys catches 'FIRE' at the beginning to the end of the '9-game winning streak', that doesn't make him 'ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME or HALL OF FAMER' player... Tournaments are difficult to use for a player's GREATNESS...Otherwise 'that kid (tall point guard) from Spain is even greater then.

    Let him WIN...(an NBA RING or two) then we can mention him with at least D 'FLASH' Wade (but still not Kobe, but far, I mean very far from Jordan's GOAT play)

  84. zarr Says:

    Kobe doesnt have the athletic ability and the basketball IQ to be like Mike. He's way too inefficient (career45-46% FG), and his all around numbers, steals, blocks,rebounds, assists pale in comprison. The closest guy I see to MJ is Dwyane Wade. He is relentless in driving to the basket. He has that physical grace and spatial awareness when moving on the court much similar t MJ. Only MJ had more finesse when finishing at the rim while Wade uses more of his brute strength or power. But Wade displays that "beautiful" game that really reminds you of how a young MJ played. But he is more of a hybrid guard who has more of a PG mentality unlike MJ who was a pure shooting guard. So Wade does not shoot that much shots compared to Jordan but he gets more assists on average. But looking at the stats now, 29.7 ppg, 7.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 1.75 bpg, 5 rpg, 49.7% FG, Wade is doing what MJ has been doing for 6-7 years during MJ's youth up until the championship. If Wade keeps this up, I think he'll be the closest we'll ever see to an MJ in this league. But he has to keep pushing for this to happen. Lebron, has all Wade's attributes except that he's just not as fluid and beautiful to watch. It is not a knock on him but he's just a different specimen from MJ. He's impact is more of Shaq/Karl Malone in guard's body and that is very scary. But Wade is just so beautiful to watch and he has that sense of rhythm for the game. He has that natural ability to just turn it on in the clutch which Lebron seems to lack and which Kobe seems to force. If he got as much hype as Kobe and Lebron, people would hail him as the best today, which I think he actually is already.

  85. fredscavenger Says:

    D-WADE PLAYA.....LEBRON IS ALL SPEED AND POWER. HE DOSEN'T HAVE THE TOOLS D-WADE AND KOBE HAVE, AND KOBE DOEN'T HAVE THAT YOU NOT GONNA STOP FROM GETTIN' TO THE BUCKET MENTALITY. D-WADE IS THE ONLY PERSON I WILL NOT ARGUE ABOUT BEING BETTER THAN KOBE TODAY.

  86. mike Says:

    kobe will never achieve the dominance or the numbers that jordan achieved.

    but, i would still say that he is a comparable player.

    his ball handling and perimeter footwork are better than jordan's. his outside jumper is better than jordan's. overall, he has more "guard" skills than jordan ever did, and i think he's a better passer as well, although his assists don't even begin to tell the story because of the nature of the players he plays with. phil jackson said that kobe has more "basketball skills" and wider offensive arsenal than jordan did.

    jordan was a more explosive athlete, had a much more dominant low post game and was a better finisher around the rim, although kobe's a phenomenal finisher as well. he was probably a better on-ball defender although i think kobe's just as good as he was in denial defense, if not better. his fg% is simply ridiculous... that is a testament to his ability to physically bully lesser players on the low block. kobe does not have this ability to bully people like jordan, because (a) he is not as strong as jordan, and (b) his competition is much stronger and physically gifted than jordan's.

    but here's something else to consider... when kobe is "on", he is the most unstoppable player the game has ever seen. if his jumper is falling, not even jordan at his best would have measured up. 81 points in a game. 62 in 3 quarters. 56 in 2 and a half quarters. 4 consecutive 50 point games. 10 50 point games in a season. averaging about 40 ppg for an entire half-season (the highest average besides wilt after the all-star game in history). jordan never "exploded" like kobe can explode. mostly because jordan didn't shoot the threes that kobe shoots.

    as it stand right now, jordan has had the much more impressive career... obviously. but what if kobe wins a few more rings? what if earns a couple more MVPs? what if he keeps getting named first-team all-nba and defensive team? what if he breaks the scoring record (he has a shot at it, health permitting)? what then?

    and for the people saying that no one will EVER be better than jordan... please! what an ignorant statement! how the hell do you know? there could be some 7-footer with a 55" vertical and range out to 33 feet drafted 20 years from now. you have no idea what the future will bring. i certainly HOPE jordan is not the best the game will ever see... because what does that say about the success of this beautiful game, if the sport isn't improving itself? a sport SHOULD always be getting better, and right now the nba is at an all-time high in terms of talent... thanks in large part to jordan and magic and larry legend.

    truth be told, it's unfair to compare players across eras, because it is simple speculation any way you look at it. players can't defend themselves. jordan is likely the greatest basketball player ever, and definitely has had the most memorable impact. but all a player truly can ever be is the greatest of his own time. in this respect, kobe and jordan are equal.

  87. Paul Nguyen Says:

    Jose, extremely well said in your post. Great human reasoning and analysis in your paragraph on the Kobe fan "attack."

  88. Tim Says:

    Maybe it's just me, but it looks like Kobe's win percentage trended higher the Jordan's. They always say that's where a player's real energy is spent...with Phil Jackson, I'm sure that's only more true.

    So, while Kobe maybe 5-7 points down on the offensive end, he's clearly 5-7 points up on the defensive end. Up five...down five. That sounds pretty even to me.

    It would be good to see some other players for comparison. Perhaps, a few of both Jordan and Kobe's comtemporaries. You could even throw in LeBron and Wade.

  89. Jeff Thornton Says:

    I think all of you don't know what your talking about especially with the Kobe is not as good as Wade or Lebron stories.......please that almost makes me laugh. Them two will not even be in the same breath until they learn how to play defense. That is what made Jordan as great as Kobe is that not only do they totally dominate any time they want but they are also consistantly on the All defensive teams each year. And I don't mean how many steals you average per game. I mean lock down defense.

  90. Aaron P Says:

    To that Philip guy that said Jordan shot way more times than Kobe, he's wrong. The Feild Goal Attempts / Total Games played average of MJ is 22 compared to Kobe's 19. Only 3 attempts more. And guess what, MJ has an FGA og 49% when Kobe only has 45%! So, MJ was definitely the greater scorer in terms of efficiency. MJ also has a 5.3 assist per game ave while Kobe only has 4.4.

    As for defense, MJ career averages are 2.4 steals per game and .8 blocks per game. Kobe only has 1.5 spg and .5 bpg.

    And who has the highest PER of all time? MJ, that's who! Higher than Shaq, Wilt, or anybody else. Kobe's only 15th, 6 points lower than MJ!

  91. Terk Says:

    dont compare them...there is no way to prove this argument either way since they did not play in the same era...and even if they had you would still have the argument of supporting casts and so on.

    the league has changed...but the real change has been with the fans. everybody with some remote sense of knowledge about the game starts spittin out stats and formulas and whatnot to try and prove some point. the one thing that hasnt changed is the mentality and heart of the truly great players...you ask any of the guys that are mentioned in this discussion "who was better, you or blah-blah-blah" and their response will more than likely be "i really dont know, im just trying to win right now". a formula never decided a game...talent, skill, and fearlessness has.

    whatever happened to fans just appreciating talent and skill an showmanship? MJ and Kobe are not to be compared like this. and if you think they are ask yourself this...before Jordan retired the first time, did anybody really (and i mean really) ever compare a player of the present to a player of the past and say "he might be the next so-and-so". was Hakeem talked about this in depth as "the next" Wilt or Kareem? was Jordan ever seriously talked about as "the next" Michael Ray Richardson or Doctor J or Jerry West? no, fans took what they were given and they watched without prejudice. they respected the greatness.

    its one thing to have fun with this debate over a cold one with your friends during half-time...its a whole different thing to start talkin bout statistical analysis and formulas.

    Jordan won 6 titles, made clutch shots, had amazing teams (one of which went 72-10), played alongside one of the greatest role players ever and one of the best rebounders ever, he retired and came back to win 3 titles, he dropped 38 with the flu, he played against the Glove and the Mailman and Sir Charles and Magic and Bird.
    Kobe has won 3 titles, made clutch shots, had amazing teams (one of which went 67-15 and then a year later went 15-1 in the playoffs), played alongside one of the greatest and most dominant players ever in his own right, dropped 82 points in a game, has played and is still playing against three of the greatest teams ever assembled (Boston, Detroit, and San Antonio) and Lebron and Wade.

    like the Lebron commercials say, be a witness...shut up and respect the greatness.

  92. Terk Says:

    sorry...81 pts in a game

  93. Ethan Says:

    In talking about LeBron, I think an important distinction needs to be made between "greatness" and "better". Kobe is currently the "greater" player, because he has won more rings and been around longer. No way to argue with that, gotta give him his props. But LeBron has become the "better" player and, as of now, is also the better defender. I know it hurts to hear that, Laker fans, but it's true. He was the defensive leader in the Olympics, and he is on track to be first team all-nba in defense this season. Also, for the last two years LeBron has dominated Kobe in their head-to-head matchups; Kobe hasn't beaten LeBron since 2006.

    Head-to-Head Comparison of Kobe-Lebron games - last 3 meetings:

    Cleveland 98, LA Lakers 95 - Sun Jan 27, 2008

    Min FG 3Pt FT Reb Ast TO Stl BS Pts
    L. James 44:08 16-32 1-5 8-12 9 4 5 2 0 41
    K. Bryant 43:01 10-21 0-1 13-18 2 12 6 3 1 33

    Cleveland 94, LA Lakers 90 - Thu Dec 20, 2007

    Min FG 3Pt FT Reb Ast TO Stl BS Pts
    L. James 38:28 12-29 0-3 9-11 10 5 3 1 1 33
    K. Bryant 40:02 8-22 0-3 5-8 5 5 2 1 0 21

    Cleveland 114, LA Lakers 108 - Thu Feb 15, 2007

    Min FG 3Pt FT Reb Ast TO Stl BS Pts
    L. James 39:00 10-16 0-1 18-22 4 3 3 3 0 38
    K. Bryant 40:00 9-22 2-7 14-15 6 5 6 2 0 34

    These numbers don't lie, Kobe plays pretty well, but LeBron is consistently better. Finally rather than bringing up the debacle against the Spurs, when LeBron had no help, just look at how he performed against the C's last season. Who do you think the Celtics would say gave them the tougher challenge? I guarantee it would be LeBron.

  94. Ethan Says:

    Hmm, that formatting got all weird, sorry bout that... suffice to say though, that LeBron has been consistently better. And Wade is great, actually closer to Jordan in terms of style, but he is nowhere near as good as LeBron. With LBJ, I think he's kind of a hybrid between Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, and Oscar Robertson. That, my friends, will eventually result in a player both better and greater even than MJ, despite LeBron's friendlier disposition.

    And just so it's clear, while I like LBJ, LBJ is not my favorite player. Kevin Garnett is, and always has been, my favorite, followed by Bird. I'm also developing a real love for the game of Kevin Durant, who I think actually has an outside shot at challenging LeBron for dominance in like four or five years. So I'm not just some unapologetic homer all over LBJ's nuts, he is just that staggeringly good.

    And I gotta ask, to all the people still beating their heads against the wall with this Kobe is better than MJ argument.. did any of you actually watch MJ, or grow up in that era? I gotta wonder about that, because the comparison really doesn't make much sense to me. It's almost like the Deron Williams vs. CP3 argument; one is so much better than the other that the discussion really doesn't need to take place, yet somehow those Utah fans just won't let go.

  95. sttjr Says:

    I'm having a hard time understanding how people can make comments about play in the Olympics and then provide stats from the NBA. The Olympics have nothing to do with this debate or these comparisons especially between Kobe and Bron or either of them and MJ. Therefore to state that Bron belongs in this debate is ridiculous. He has shown flashes of defensive ability in the past summer and a bit in the past year or two. It took MJ a few years before he got it down, but he perfected it, Kobe realized he had to do it on both sides before he was even a starter. Bron is now in what his 5th year and finally realized that maybe he should work on the other aspect of his game. This comparison is hilarious; especially considering head to head MJ and Kobe guarded each other; Bron doesn't typically guard Kobe he can't he's not smart enough nor quick enough, in turn Kobe doesn't typically guard Bron he's not big enough. Kobe will demand to guard Bron late in a game though because he knows he can disrupt his shooting, because Bron is not a good shooter.
    So can we please stop saying Bron belongs in the debate on the defensive end? I'll give you his ability to score and how could I not look at what he's doing this year; but he still hasn't PROVEN anything on the other end. I sure as hell hope he does though becuase I love watching him play.

  96. Chris Says:

    First of all, people using the celtics championship from last year as a way to say lebron was better than kobe, Lebron had 37 turnovers in his series verses the celtics, and shot better than 40% only twice during the 7 game series, while in two games he shot 11% and 25%. The celtics played amazing team defense, and said lebron can shoot as many threes as he wants but he won't drive and beat us. They also believed that the rest of the cavs wouldn't beat them, and they gave up shots to everyone else.

    Kobe i'm sure saw this series on tape or something, and decided he wasn't going to force shots when they did their team defense thing on him. He gave the ball up and his teammates missed shots. I agree i was a little surprised that he wasn't forcing more shots or trying to take over, but i think he tried to be like mike, and trust his teammates (a la paxon and kerr) and they didn't hit those big shots. People also forget that for the last 10 or so months Kobe has been playing with torn ligaments in his shooting hand, something i know would affect the game of 99% of people in this world, but he just shrugs it off and drops like 25 a night.

    As far as the Kobe MJ comparison, currently the MJ enthusiast have a better argument for GOAT. However to say that it is not even close is sort of being biased in my opinion. Yes there were more skilled players back then, but Jordan's dominance of those players and success as a high flyer spawned a league of more athletic players. More guys drafted to play defense, less guys drafted to be shooters to spread the floor. Also the style of play was different, offensively and defensively. Yes there was hand checking, but there was also illegal defense. The game was geared to keep teams from playing zone to stop MJ, and allow him clean lanes to the basket. Now they encourage team basketball over one on one play, making it more difficult for players to score. Also some comparing Dwayne Wade to MJ are correct. Both had a habit of going to the basket and drawing fouls even when the defenders only crime was looking at them funny. MJ was probably the beneficiary of more questionable foul calls than any player in NBA history.

    As far as everyone who says stuff like "MJ would never have allowed the Lakers to lose a game 7" MJ's bulls lost 3-1 in the first round his rookie year, were swept 3-0 in the first round his second year, swept 3-0 in the first round his third year, lost 4-1 in the second round his fourth year, lost 4-2 in the eastern conference finals his fifth season, then lost in GAME 7 of the eastern conference finals in year six. So, MJ lost a game, coincidentally it was the first game seven of his career. MJ didn't win every game he played, and he also didn't win every playoff game he played in. It's true from then on out he won every other playoff series but i'm not arguing his greatness, just the myth that he never failed.

    Someone also said something about Kobe single handedly losing the finals vs detroit, i guess you forget that only Shaq and Rick Fox shot above 40% in that series, and that Payton and Malone both shot below 34%. Also his defense on Rip Hamilton was stellar holding him to 40% shooting for the series, which basically mean chasing rip around screens for the entire game. Btw, Shaq was 27-55 from the free throw line, (49%) also a contributing factor to a team trying to win close games. It was also the year Shaq was like 400lbs and refused to run up and down the court, which cause the Shaq Kobe rift in the first place.

    I'm not a Laker fan or even a Kobe sympathizer. I was an M.J. fan back in the day, but even i realize there were things that he couldn't do that Kobe can do. Scouting is different, cd's and computers make it much easier to learn a players arsenal that it was even 10 years ago. Because the money has improved so much, diets, physical training and skill training has improved almost across the board for every player. The game has changed, and it will never be the same as it was. But if Kobe were to play in Jordan's era (they came into the league 12 years apart, yes those are different eras) or if Jordan were to play in Kobe's era than i think their numbers would be much more similar than most people think.

  97. Ethan Says:

    Sttjr, you are a moron. LeBron guards Kobe straight-up for the fourth quarter every single time they play. Fact. He's a better defender than Kobe, hands down, so you can whine all you want, but that is just the way it is. Just look at what he did to a white-hot Danny Granger the other night.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2008120505

    Or, read this.

    http://slamonline.com/online/nba/2008/12/in-appreciation-of-lebrons-defense/

    Or, for a flashback to what LeBron tends to do to Kobe, you can read this...

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=071220_windhorst

    Everyone who knows basketball has taken note. You are on your own, wandering through the wilderness on this one.

  98. Brian Says:

    "P.S. Why is Iverson still shaking folks down at age 33 when he has below average quickness, size and athleticism?"

    Really? In what league is Iverson below average in quickness and athleticism? Must be straight out of space jam or something.

  99. mytoast Says:

    LBJ
    DATE OPP RESULT MIN FG PCT 3P PCT FT PCT STL BLK TO PF OFF DEF TOT AST PTS
    5/6 @Bos L 76-72 39 2-18 .111 0-6 .000 8-10 .800 1 1 10 4 2 7 9 9 12
    5/8 @Bos L 89-73 42 6-24 .250 0-4 .000 9-13 .692 2 1 7 1 2 3 5 6 21
    5/10 Bos W 108-84 40 5-16 .313 3-5 .600 8-12 .667 4 3 2 3 0 5 5 8 21
    5/12 Bos W 88-77 44 7-20 .350 2-5 .400 5-8 .625 3 2 4 3 1 5 6 13 21
    5/14 @Bos L 96-89 45 12-25 .480 0-5 .000 11-13 .846 1 1 4 3 0 3 3 5 35
    5/16 Bos W 74-69 47 9-23 .391 1-3 .333 13-15 .867 2 1 8 2 3 9 12 6 32
    5/18 @Bos L 97-92 47 14-29 .483 3-11 .273 14-19 .737 2 0 2 4 1 4 5 6 45
    AVGERAGE 43.5 63-172.366 10-41 .244 78-100 .780 2.1 1.3 4.8 2.8 1.4 5.9 7.3 8.3 26.8

    KOBE
    DATE OPP RESUL MIN FG PCT 3P PCT FT PCT STL BLK TO PF OFF DEF TOT AST PTS
    6/5 @Bos L 98-88 42 9-26 .346 0-3 .000 6-6 1.000 1 1 4 3 0 3 3 6 24
    6/8 @Bos L 108-102 40 11-23 .478 1-3 .333 7-7 1.000 3 0 4 3 1 3 4 8 30
    6/10 Bos W 87-81 45 12-20 .600 1-2 .500 11-18 .611 2 0 3 4 3 4 7 1 36
    6/12 Bos L 97-91 43 6-19 .316 0-2 .000 5-6 .833 4 0 2 4 0 4 4 10 17
    6/15 Bos W 103-98 44 8-21 .381 4-9 .444 5-7 .714 5 0 6 4 3 4 7 4 25
    6/17 @Bos L 131-92 43 7-22 .318 3-9 .333 5-5 1.000 1 0 4 1 1 2 3 1 22
    AVERAGE 42.8 53-131.405 9-28 .321 39-49 .796 2.7 0.2 3.8 3.2 1.3 3.3 4.7 5.0 25.7

    yes, LBJ has some bad games early, but at the end u still can see most of LBJ's stats are a little bit more than KOBE's. And yes even the TO 4.8(kobe's 3.8).

    But the bigger thing i see from these stats are the FT. LBJ's double Kobe's. And LBJ play better as the series progress. It looks like LBJ solved BOSTON's DEF, whereas KOBE got stuck in netro. This means to me, LBJ can adjust and carry the team. Whereas KOBE and P.JASKSON failed to adjust this time.

    Failing is not uncommon in the NBA, afterall there is only one winner. But this is not the first time we saw Kobe fall into the shadow and have so-so games at these important moments, remember the phonex series?

    Althought MJ fail to deliever the first 6 times, MJ never give u the impression of not giving his all. I remember him play sick in the final and score 40.

    But sorry kobe fans I hear too many excuse. The teammates, the pinky, the competition, Shaq, the Ref, the west... Why not just enjoy KOBE and try not to compare to MJ(its difference anyway), so that others don't have to reply to all these.

  100. Travis Says:

    "Maybe it’s just me, but it looks like Kobe’s win percentage trended higher the Jordan’s. They always say that’s where a player’s real energy is spent…with Phil Jackson, I’m sure that’s only more true.

    So, while Kobe maybe 5-7 points down on the offensive end, he’s clearly 5-7 points up on the defensive end. Up five…down five. That sounds pretty even to me."

    Him being 5-7 points higher on the defensive end means that Jordan is better defensively. The goal on defense is to allow fewer points, not more.

    I wrote a paper in my English class on this subject two and a half years ago. It was the same argument Paine made, just that I stretched it to ten pages. I feel important because of this.

    The person who brought up YouTube user hoopsencyclopedia is also on to something. I'm 24 years old; I watched Jordan play in his athletic prime, during his first championship run, when he came back, and during his second championship run. I could deduce that Jordan was a superior player when I was five because I was able to see that he was much faster and made more baskets than everybody else. At 24, I can deduce that Jordan was also statistically superior to other players in that era. When Jordan went through the second championship run, I could tell - even at the age of 13 - that he simply wasn't the same athlete he was from 91 to 93, and certainly not the same athlete he was from 87 to 90. However, even well off of his peak, he was still one of the three best players in the league statistically, and you could argue (in my opinion, unsuccessfully) that he was still the best player in the game.

    It is this that Kobe best compares to. He has had three seasons (02-03, 05-06, and 06-07) in which he has been one of the three to five best players in the game, and you could argue (again, unsuccessfully) that he was the best player in the game. He is a slightly lesser player than Michael Jordan's last two Bulls seasons over his entire career, and he matches that level at his peak. The difference in Kobe's career versus Jordan's last two Bulls seasons is about the same as the difference in the 87-90 Jordan and the 91-93 Jordan.

    Certainly, one could make the argument that Shaq hindered Kobe's statistical prowess early in his career; I won't argue against that. However, judging from Kobe's production at the ages of 26 to now post-Shaq and comparing it to his production from ages 22 to 25 with Shaq, the difference isn't large enough to expect 87-90 Jordan-like performances. Kobe's production even slightly decreased his first season post-Shaq, at an age when Jordan put up one his of four finest seasons (89-90).

    Kobe is an outstanding player, but he is not the player Jordan was in his late Bulls years, never mind his early Bulls years. Let's ignore that Jordan's and Kobe's FT% are almost identical, and that in the seasons pre-shortened 3 PT line (89-90, 92-93) in which MJ attempted 2 or more 3PA a game his percentages from the three-point line are nearly identical, and say that Kobe is definitively the better shooter. I'll quote Kobe's teammate, Lamar Odom: "... the game is called basketball, not shoot."

    And in the game of basketball, Kobe just doesn't compare favorably to Michael Jordan.

  101. JD Says:

    I want to respond to some of the more ridiculous things said so for. First the Bad Boy Pistons and Knicks were more physical than teams ever could be today and Jordan dominated both: Actually the Bulls lost to the Pistons three straight times in the playoffs before their first championship. Second Jordan would never have let the Bulls get blown out in a game seven the way the Lakers did by the Suns: the Pistons blew out the Bulls in game seven of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, and they were almost the same age (Kobe was a year older maybe). And with Jordan's three point shot being nearly identical with Bryant's, if you take away the years of the shortened line Jordan had three seasons shooting above 30%, Kobe has nine. There is also an argument that Jordan's 63 point game against the 86 Celtics is more impressive than Kobe's 81: Although impressive, that Celtic game was a double overtime game. Kobe scored his 81 within the normal flow of the offense. They were down 18 in the third quarter too. The argument is whether Kobe's 81 is better than Wilt's 100 (I think it is because there were well over 300 points scored that game, which was basically garbage time from start to finish). What was more impressive though is the month before that when Kobe outscored the Mavericks after 3 quarters, 62-61. I've been trying to find this out, but I'm pretty sure in the modern era no team has been outscored by a single player after three quarters (an NBA Finals team to boot).

    I'm not saying Kobe was better then MJ. I'm only saying that when looking back in history people tend to use rose colored glasses. A lot of that has to do with the marketing and promotion at that time. MJ played on a team that won 55 games without him after his first retirement. I doubt any of the non-Shaq Kobe teams would win more than 30 without him (not including this years team or last year's pre-Gasol). When people use examples of Kobe not winning without Shaq so MJ is better they don't mention how bad the rest of the Lakers were. Kobe and MJ are very similar so comparisons and debates are inevitable. It was a different game back then though. Could Kobe handle hand checks better than MJ could handle the zone? Could an MJ team still dominate with Odom, Smush Parker, Luke Walton, and Kwame Brown starting with him? Would people still think MJ was a better teammate if he had to put up with Shaq running his mouth like he's in the WWE are something?

    I would also argue that the average player today is better than the average player of Jordan's era simply because the talent pool is much larger. Back then it was almost exclusively the NCAA, but now it's the whole world. I know foreign talent wasn't there back then, but that changed real quick because overseas you have 15 year old practices their craft for 10 hours a day. They also play against professionals at that age. But that's a different argument.

  102. bigverga Says:

    the greatest laker ever is Magic not this wannabe of Kobe, MJ is far superior not only in numbers but also one on one, you heard it laker fans, MJ at his prime nowadays will destroy your idol. Lets be fair kobe and whatever you want against MJ, and the winner is.... MJ by 10. LMAO

  103. ag Says:

    People have a VERY selective memory about MJ.
    As if he just appeared out of nowhere to lead his team to titles and did it all on his own.
    MJ had a LOT of help, and anyone who will deny this is a flat out moron.
    Watch the entire Finals series against Seattle. Payton SHUT MJ down. I believe it was 42% shooting and 5 of the 6 games he failed to score under 30 points. Was it still MJ who "carried" that team on his back all those times?
    Scottie Pippen goes unappreciated.
    Yes MJ is greater than Kobe, there's no doubt about it. But be realistic. The guy was not flawless in any sense of the word. It was in the NBA's best interests to see the man succeed and they made sure of it. 40% of their income was directly related to MJ. They protected their investment and then some.
    And what's even more sad is Jordan "fans" trying to compare Lebron to Kobe or Wade and saying that Kobe is even inferior to these guys. Give me a break. And I don't believe there's real knowledgeable basketball fan on this earth that believes that Lebron's defense is even in the same universe as Kobe's. Remember, it all boils down to team defense to what you see on the surface. The Cavs are a fundamentally sound defensive team, while the Lakers are not. Just as the Celtics defensive scheme is making Ray Allen and Paul Pierce look like perennial all-defensive players, the Cavs defense is making Lebron and his cast look amazing as well.
    Kobe is a pure defender. He's been an elite defender since his 3rd year in the league, that doesn't change.

  104. MJ23 Says:

    hope you guys still remember suns-lakers rnd 1 playoffs where kobe let his team down in final game 7...was it 1-3 lakers???and suns wons 3 in a row??? or was it 0-3???

    j_for Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 7:43 pm
    comparison huh?. how about today’s celtics vs bird-mchale-parish celts. hmmm.
    today’s lakers vs magic-kareem-worthy lakers. This pistons vs dumars-isaiah-laimbeer deeetroit.
    ewing-oakley-starks knick vs this years’ best defensive team. how about them 72-10 bulls to this days competition. ahhhhh, the 80’s and 90’s.

    'nuff said.

  105. MJ23 Says:

    Even the Rockets led by The Dream and Sir Charles can win a ring to any team at this time....imagine rockets '99 vs celtics -08; how the hell kg will handle sir charles, pip and hakeem??? teams today are nothing compared to 80s and 90s....

  106. Jose Says:

    Your bias is pretty clear, JD. You cherry-pick certain things and present them from only one perspective. If that 63 point performance isn't enough because it was in double overtime, then how about MJ having 14 of the top 27 individual performances in NBA history (as of '07 and since the '86-'87 season)? Kobe has 3. The top rated game is MJ's 69 point performance against Cleveland. He also had 18 rebounds and 6 assists in that game. Kobe had 6 rebounds and 2 assists in the game against Toronto. Factor in the potential points scored/saved with those two stats and we're talking about an impact greater than scoring 81 points. Outscoring the Dallas team sounds impressive, but the Mavs have never been a great defensive team, even if they were improved with Avery Johnson as head coach. I'm wondering how their defense could've allowed one guy to outscore their team. Carmelo Anthony recently scored 33 points in a quarter. Is he suddenly in the conversation based on that? I think not.

    Also, nobody has said that MJ could've won without help. But going back to that 63 point game, his team as a whole was FAR inferior to that Celtics team, and a far cry from the championship-caliber Bulls teams. And in 1989 when he made "The Shot", the Cavaliers were a much better team as well, and yet MJ made enough of a difference for the upset. Regarding Detroit in the 1990 eastern conference finals, the Bulls did lose in 7 games, but neither team was able to win on the road. Those guys really did physically beat up on MJ though, and judging from the times when I've seen Kobe get played more physical (like when he's been guarded by guys like Bowen in the past), he seems to struggle much more. That's just an observation, so take it as such, but MJ seemed to have more moves in the paint whereas Kobe relies more heavily on the jumpshot, and that does tend to result in a lower field goal percentage.

    The Bulls had a good setup when MJ left. Putting Scottie in the leading role worked well for them...for a while. The very next season that same team struggled much more, and even when MJ came back to push their record to *I believe* 47 wins, they lost to Orlando in the playoffs. But as to whether or not Kobe needed more help than MJ, I think there's a simple answer:

    MJ had six finals MVP awards. He was clearly the driving force behind each Bulls championship, and even in the one against Seattle where he struggled by HIS standards. (he still made 27 points a game) Kobe has none despite having appeared in 5 finals. Did Kobe struggle in the 2008 finals because his team wasn't as good as any of the championship teams MJ played on? That's probably part of it, but the fact is, MJ could often put together impressive offensive performances in losing efforts just the same. Watching the way that Pierce outplayed Kobe when it mattered most further hammers home the fact that he isn't MJ's equal. Whatever else you can say about MJ, he tended to play his best when it mattered most. Kobe, on the other hand, has been less consistent. History can attest to that.

    MJ had his weaker moments like anyone else. No one is denying that. However, he rose to the occasion more often than any other player in NBA history, regardless of whether or not his team was able to join him. That's why many regard him as the greatest. Not because of hype and marketing. He had to fight for a long time before his team was good enough to win a title. It wasn't handed to him. And if the NBA gave him special treatment now and then with calls, that's something which is also true for Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Magic, Bird and any other current or past superstar, so it's a moot point for this particular comparison. I recall Brandon Roy recently mentioning how superstars get calls more easily and therefore defenders are more hesitant when guarding them and therefore they're even more effective.

  107. Therealdeal Says:

    I wanna see Lebron break these record wish hes on pace to breaking..To see if people still talk trash...

  108. Therealdeal Says:

    lol They dogging kobe out here in these story.. The original one about lebron being like MJ and kobe fans still find a way to be kobelovers anywhere they go........Kobe will Never be close to break that eff per game record or come close to it like Lebron is on pace to brake @24 ..I see how lakers fans always talking how good of a shooter kobe is and he never has shot over 47% from the field...While lebron has shot 50% ......Lebron dont wanna be like Jordan hes got hes own style ...

  109. jj Says:

    Lets not forget about the rule changes that makes Kobe looke so good that Jordan had to play with and he didnt.

  110. storyofgreats Says:

    Woww,bunch of Kobe haters congregation.Being a great side this is hands down pathetic.

  111. Survey Magnet Says:

    We have an interesting debate about this topic going on at the following link:

    http://www.surveymagnet.com/2010/07/what-does-kobe-bryant-have-to-do-eclipse-jordan-as-the-greatest/

    Come join the discussion.