Kobe or MJ ??

Interesting topic that’s been on a lot of sports talk shows lately … given that Kobe Bryant has been on a scoring binge … averaging over 40 points per game for the month of March!!! The question is: Who’s better … Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan?? There are also several derivatives: Who’s the better offensive player?, who’s the better defensive player?, who would you rather have with the game on the line and 15 seconds left?, etc. I prefer to focus on the very simple question of “Who’s the better player?”

Although I’ll be the first to admit that Kobe is very similar to MJ … it’s almost scary what he can do offensively and in some ways might be a bit better than Jordan … I give the nod to Michael as the better all-around player. I won’t go too in-depth, except to point out the following: MJ is a better defensive player, a better leader, and had a greater impact on making his teammates better. As a pure scorer, I give a slight edge to Kobe, but Jordan is/was a better passer, a true defensive force, and one of those rare players who elevated the entire team. 6 chan’ships says it all … and he woulda had 8 if not for the stupid 2 year baseball excursion during his prime … and mighta had 1 or 2 more near the end of his career if the Bulls coaching staff/front office didn’t despise eachother. Blame it on Jerry “Crumbs” Krause!!!

Anyway, that’s my answer … MJ all the way!!! I am a Chicago homer who’s trying to be objective … so I’m very interested in what everyone else thinks. Please offer your opinion.

Wally

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13 Responses

  1. Wally,

    There is no way that you could be objective on this point, and you shouldn’t be. There is no comparison. Do you thnk Jordan would have squabbled with a teammate the way Kobe bemoaned Shaq’s presence on the Lakers? And have you noticed the Lakers lack of success since Shaq’s departure? And Kobe’s point total is in direct correlation to the fact that if he doesn’t score, who will for the Lakers. Everybody is waiting for Bynum to show up. That being said – I don’t agree with the suspension doled out for the infraction with Ginobli.

  2. Paul, you bring up some great points. One testament to Kobe’s greatness AS A SCORER, is that he has very little help on these Lakers teams and everyone knows he’s the one who has to get it done; and they throw double teams and everything at him, yet he’s somehow getting all these points. But on the other hand, it appears his legacy as a “champion” is lessened due to the Lakers lack of success without Shaq, the dominant center of this era. Jordan critics will be quick to point out that Jordan had Scottie Pippen riding shotgun for all those championships, but if given the choice, I’d rather have Shaq over Pippen. If Shaq played with MJ on the Bulls, I think we’d have seen the dynasty “Celtics II” where the Bulls win 10 in a row. As it was, the Bulls were pretty darned close to being the all-time NBA dynasty if not for the off-court issues I brought up: Jordan’s 2 year retirement to play baseball right in the middle of 2 three-peats and the front office crap that blew apart the team right after their 6th title.

    I think the point ESPN radio hosts and others who are pro-Kobe are really trying to make is that he’s one of the greatest OFFENSIVE players ever … and possibly just as good as MJ. We’ll see what he does for the rest of his career, but I have a feeling it won’t quite be Jordan-esque. Nobody COMPETED and willed his team to win quite like MJ … at least from what I’ve seen since the mid-70’s.

    Wally

  3. I would take MJ over Kobe any day.. Nothing wrong with Kobe as he is a great player.. But MJ was not only a great scorer but he had “IT” like some of the other greats. MJ had the ability to make the players around him that much better. They elevated their game to play with him and Jordan also realized that he couldn’t win championships without them. Kobe can’t get that out of his teammates, and in past years he probably had better supporting casts then Jordan did. Jordan never alientated any of his teammmates and rather then pushing them out – he reined them in (a la Dennis Rodman). He even helped get a coach into the basketball HOF. Guys like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had “IT” .. I think Shaq has “IT”.. But Kobe – no.

    On another topic. Congrats to Phil Jackson for being elected into the basketball HOF. While I don’t consider him a great coach, I consider him a master at managing egos and talent. The one knock I have against him is that I have never seen him take over a lower tier team and built it into a contender. He went from the Bulls (Jordan and co.) to the Lakers (Kobe and Shaq).. Now he is trying to build a team up and he is having a tough time.

  4. Aaron —
    Phil Jackson is not a great coach??? Doesn’t he have 9 NBA titles??? That’s second to only Red Auerbach and way ahead of anyone who is in 3rd (Riley?). This just in … a big part of coaching is managing egos and talent. Got to give him huge credit for that, as well as devising an offensive scheme for the Bulls who never had a great center to build around. Ever hear of the triangle offense? That’s Phil. One last point … it’s pretty damned hard to win a championship in ANY season. To do it 9 times is incredible … that’s “greatness”.

    Wally

  5. Alright.. That didn’t come out the way I wanted.. I do consider a Jackson a great coach.. But I consider him a better manager of egos then I do a coach. I am not taking away from his 9 titles, or his place in the HOF.

    As for the triangle offense? Really.. is that where it came from? Are you sure Phil Jackson “devised” the triangle offense? Or did Tex Winters develop the triangle offense and Phil Jackson just happened to make him an assistant coach and use the offense that Tex Winters devised..

  6. Aaron,

    you are right about Tex Winter and the triangle, but Jackson openly stated that fact, and others were given the opportunity to use that offense and chose to not. That in and of itself makes Jackson great. He recognized something that was good and didn’t feel a need to reinvent the wheel for his own self-glorification. What also makes Jackson great is where he took teams to. Yeah, he hasn’t taken any bottom feeders (another wise move) and tried to resurrect them. But he has taken two organizations with talent but no hardware(to show for the particular talent) and produced titles. Does anyone remember Kobe before Jackson came to LA? Kobe did not know that anything such as a post entry pass existed. Talk about a constipated offense. And yeah he won with MJ. I bet Doug Collins would have LOVED to be the coach that took the Bulls to the promised land.

    On another note – all this mentioning of ‘it’ by Aaron – can you please refer to a previously written article (March 2nd – Searching For It). I think your points have been stated and then some- Mr. friggin’ plagiarism.

  7. Sorry Wally, I didn’t read the March 2nd article and with reason.. I think I’ll go back to that stance.. Mr. #$#$#

  8. Wally?

  9. Whoa … I’m getting caught in the middle of something here and for once it’s not my fault.

    Okay … now you two (Aaron & Casey) can go at it.

  10. MJ easy. He’s a leader, winner, played amazing defense as well as being an unstoppable scorer. Kobe is a graet scorer in a scorer’s league. No one plays defense anymore.

  11. Sorry Mike,have to disagree with your comment that no one plays defense anymore. I think it is just the opposite. I think one of the reasons that scoring is down in the NBA from the 70’s and 80’s has been the emphasis on defense and teams playing much better team defense than in earlier years. When I watch a game from the 70’s or 80’s I do not see the same type of defensive schemes that I do when I watch now. There was not as much help defense, not as many options to stop the pick and role, and not the hard fouls on players who took the ball strong to the basket. My take is that shooting percentages have gone down not because shooting has become worse but because there is more emphasis on defending and teams and coaches spend more time on defense. As far the question posed – Jordan all the way.

    How about this question – you have $20,000 to give to someone to go gamble with in Vegas. Who looses it quicker, Barkley, MJ or Big John Daly. My money is on Daly.

  12. $20,000? Barkley would lose that in…uh…one bet. MJ would lose it on the ladies. Daly wouldn’t lose it because he would be face down on the crap table sleeping off a coupla Jack ‘n’ Cokes.

  13. And the lower shooting percentages are a combination of better team defense and not enough guys spend time in the gym trying to improve their shot. If Chris Mullin was playing this year, he would still score just as much as he did first out of college.

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