Watching the highlights of last night’s playoff game between the Celtics and Lakers, I was in awe watching Kobe drop in shot after shot against some pretty good defense. As much as I’ve been trying to avoid all the of hype surrounding this marquee matchup between 2 of the NBA’s most historic teams, I have decided to let my guard down and finally make a comparison…Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan. Of course, Jordan was on the Bulls, but if you want to compare someone to somebody else, then you have to start at the top. Is Kobe better than Magic? Yep. Is Kobe better than Bird? Yep. Looking at the stats, it breaks down like this…
Kareem had 38,387. That’s a lot of points! However he was really big and he could basically just throw that hook shot over anybody. Jordan is #3 behind Karl Malone with 32,292. Larry Bird is at the 23rd spot. Kobe Bryant is 24th with 21,619 points and still going. Magic is no where to be seen (he retired early and he was more of a “team” player than any of these other guys). So what we need to look at is importance to his team offensively. And no one is more important to his team than Kobe right now.
Bird had Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Danny Ainge and an assortment of other guys to get him the ball. Magic was one of several outstanding players with the Lakers. One could argue that Jordan had a team that was also filled with talent, but I think that Bulls team would have been good, but not great without him. Which leads me to my comparison.
Kobe’s played in 866 games and has 21,619 points. He’s averaging 25 points per game through his career of 12 seasons. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 24.3 PPG and has won 3 NBA Championships. Not bad. Jordan played basketball for 15 years in 1,072 games (he only played in 17 games in the 1994-95 season though). He won 6 NBA Championships with the Bulls. Kobe had Shaq for all of his titles. Jordan had Scottie Pippen.
This season, Kobe has some good ball players on his team, but he is the marquee name now. He is probably selling more jerseys out there than any other player, and barring any dumb moves, is probably going to go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Is he better than Jordan? Nah. Jordan was the guy who created the NBA. He’s the one who showed them how to market their product. He’s the one that took the game of basketball to a whole new level. His competitiveness is documented on every site that I have read about him and there will never be another player like him. But does Kobe rank? Absolutely. All you have to do is watch him and you can see, Jordan was the guy he wanted to be like when he became an NBA player…and he has certainly accomplished that! So Jordan is the greatest player ever (in my book). But I can certainly appreciate what Kobe is doing today…and I am secretly rooting for him to win this year’s title.
In a non-NBA related basketball sidenote…I picked up the ball for a little one-on-one action today at the gym. It’s the first time I’ve played against anybody in over a year. There was a guy there, a little taller than me and younger, who wanted to play so I decided to get back on the horse. Steven was a good player but nowhere near the player that I am. I have confidence and years of practice that have withered a little, but not enought to let Steven get by me. I won the game 30-16. I told Steven we should play again sometime. He seemed to like the idea. So hopefully I’ll be playing a little hoops to help me shed these pounds!
Oh yeah…by the way…Steven is 12, 6 feet tall and in the 7th grade. But ya gotta start somewhere…