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Kobe Bryant/Michael Jordan comparison, AGAIN

As the Lakers shooting guard, Kobe Bryant, edges closer to passing Michael Jordan for third all time in scoring, those comparisons between the two will for certain come up. While Bryant is a gifted player and a future hall of fame player down the road, there are certain facts and stats that will keep him from ever being in the same breath as Michael Jeffery Jordan. I will provide facts and stats to verify this to be true and then I will leave it up to you, the reader to decide.

Jordan has five NBA MVP’s to Bryant’s one. Bryant when he finishes this season will surpass Jordan as the third leading scorer all time in the NBA 32,284 and climbing to Jordan’s solid 32,292 points. Jordan led the league in scoring for 11 seasons to Bryant’s five scoring titles. Jordan’s 30.1 points per game average is first all time to Bryant’s 25.5 points per game which ranks 10th all time. While Bryant leads all time in Steals category, Jordan actually won the season’s Steals award three different seasons, to Bryant’s zero. The highest in turnovers that Jordan got in a season was fifth in the league wide rankings while Bryant has been hovering between the 3-8 slot through his career, except one season where he ranked 10th. Bryant does rank first all time in turnovers to Jordan’s 27th all time ranking in the category.

The most important stats of all are the two following ones, which will forever separate Bryant from Jordan when the talks of the greatest of all time come into play.

Michael Jeffery Jordan. Six NBA Titles with six MVP awards for each title. His ability to work with a team, coached by the Zen Master Phil Jackson, keep the title team together throughout the two “three-peat” eras. Jordan is one of the most competitive on the planet earth, and Bryant clearly can match him there. But Jordan’s ability to channel that competitive spirit and manage it so as to keep his teammates on board for the one goal, to win a championship, was very special. It is what separates Jordan from any and all who try to get into the discussion as to who is the greatest of all time in the NBA. When former players, hall of fame players like Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Dr. J Julius Irving, Earvin Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Bill Walton, etc… ALL say that Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever to play the game of basketball, that is truly saying something. When players, current and former, petition the NBA logo (that of Jerry West) should be changed to look like Michael Jordan, that is saying something even more special as to the respect that Jordan has among-st his peers.

Kobe Bryant. Has five NBA Titles with two Finals MVP awards. His “three-peat” while it is on the books, was more about his teammate Shaquille O’Neal (won all three Finals MVP awards during three-peat) than Kobe who was still a young hungry player. It was Kobe’s apparent jealousy about the lack of attention he was receiving, or the attention and opportunities that Shaq was receiving after these chips that caused the rift between he and Kobe. Ever since then, it has been a struggle finding that right championship formula for Kobe Bryant. While he won the two titles after, cementing his hall of fame resume, the earlier part of his dynasty building will always come into question because it does separate him from Jordan.

By Christmas time, Kobe Bryant will be the third leading scorer of all time in the NBA. But does becoming the third leading scorer of all time put him ahead of Michael Jordan as the greatest ever? Kareem Abdul Jabaar is number one all time in scoring and most players say that Hakeem Olajuwon is the greatest center to ever play the game of basketball. Second all time leading scorer is Karl Malone and most are dubbing Tim Duncan as the greatest power forward of all time It just goes to show that just because you score a lot of points, that does NOT make you the greatest ever, there is so much more that must be put into consideration before making this decision.

All stats can be verified here:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

and

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html

 

Author Profile

Earnest Christian
Nicknamed 'EJ', Earnest hosts the Earnestly Speaking Podcast. He also covers the Miami Heat for SB Nation's Hot Hot Hoops. He spends nearly all of his downtime with his wife Lauren and son Eli.

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