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Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

Posted on: March 13, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 3:19 pm
Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson says it's "not fair" to compare Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant-michael-jordan

Throughout this season, we've tracked Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's rise up the scoring list, and last week he moved into the No. 6 spot all-time. Bryant is slowly creeping towards Michael Jordan, who sits in spot No. 3, and his drive for a sixth NBA title has made the comparisons to M.J. almost unavoidable.

Who better to answer the "Who's Better?" question than the man who coached them both? In a sit down conversation with the L.A. Times, Lakers coach, and former Bulls coach, Phil Jackson said that, despite Bryant's growing list of accomplishments, Jordan simply defies comparison.
"Kobe has patterned himself after Michael, and there are a lot of identical things there, but it's one thing to hope to be like him, it's another thing to be like him."
So when Jackson's next book comes out, and it will, will Jackson reveal who he thinks was best — Jordan or Bryant?

"I'm with [ESPN's] Bill Simmons on this," he says. "We have to take Michael Jordan out of the equation. Stop comparing anyone to Michael Jordan. It's just not fair. He was remarkable. Kobe's in his own sphere.

"He doesn't shoot the same percentage [.455] as Michael [.497]. He has the same characteristics as Michael, but he's not the same player. It takes nothing away from him — he's a great player in his own right."
I'm with Jackson: I don't think anyone, at this point, compares to Jordan. But his dodge of the question -- his creation of multiple spheres -- is a cop out. 

Hypothetically speaking, if Bryant finishes his career No. 1 all-time on the scoring charts with eight or more rings, we're still supposed to say Jordan was better because of his field goal percentage? That's tough to swallow, and given Jackson's reverence for the league's greats, I think he'd almost certainly be singing a different tune if things played out like that. 

As always, this feels like a motiviational tactic. It's reportedly Jackson's final season on the bench, and while Bryant is playing excellent ball (despite a vicious ankle injury), he continues to go rogue late in games, including during a recent loss to the Miami Heat. By bringing up field goal percentage, Jackson subtly reminds Bryant of the importance of shot selection, that perhaps a 30-foot bomb on the move during crunch time isn't the best available shot. He's prodding Bryant in the most obviously way possible: "MJ wouldn't have taken that shot."

Innately, Bryant doesn't need the extra motivation, he's as self-motivated as it gets. But a little nudge or reminder every once in awhile surely gets his blood pumping just like everyone else. Jackson wants to end this chapter on top and getting Bryant to buy all the way in to his team concept is the surest way to make that that happen. It's been a constant push-and-pull between these two for years now.

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:18 pm

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

Phil Jackson said in an interview(?) that Michael Jordan in his prime would average 45ppg in this era.  The video can be found on the internet.  That should say enough about Phil's opinion of who is better.

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:21 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

Kobe's a great player but Michael Jordan is on a level all by himself?  Kobe used to wear Jordan's shoes. Lol 

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: March 14, 2011 9:10 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

XSGame, I can't argue with any of your individual descriptions. However, I will say there is only one player on that list to whom you could apply all the adjectives you used and that would be Michael Jordan. In his prime, Jordan would have dominated in any era of the game, including today.

Since: Nov 9, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2011 8:15 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

Hey, XSGame, what's the idea making such a well thought-out, reasoned response? Plus, you make a good point about Magic Johnson. A point guard who could dominate not only the point guard position but also dominate playing center if needed. How many NBA finals games did Jordan play center and score 40 points? But, I do that simply to stoke the fires of discord, to counter your blatant common sense. Nice post. 

Since: Mar 29, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2011 6:44 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 27, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2011 5:33 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

How dare you guys eve compare Kobe to MJ! If yo put Kobe with the roster that MJ won six championships with Kobe would have
 not won any rings because Kobe wouldnt have made Kerr, Longley, Pippen, Harper, or Rodman better players or play up to a higher
 level but MJ did that and he also trusted his teamates to make shot like when he trusted Kerr to make a game winning shot in playoffs,
 Kobe would never have trusted a teamate to make a game winning shot. Mj could have won more rings then Kobe if he had Kobes roster
because he is a team player and if he was having a bad game he would get the ball to Gasol, Bynum, Odom, or Artest something Kobe
doesnt do. Sorry Laker fans but Kobe doesnt hold a candle to Mj's Greatness!!!!Lmao.........Surprised

Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:46 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

All Kobe & M J had in common was the coach. M J had the same cast of players for all of his six rings. Kobe has had to do his five so far with different players in key positions. Think of all the name changes Kobe has had to deal with. Only if Shaq would have kept his mouth shut he would have been in this conversation also. And one.

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:26 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

U have to be a young adult to think Jordan is that great....Jordan was nba pin up boy....they made sure he succeeded just like magic and bird....Jordan got every touch foul....there were no other comparable superstar teams to defeant the bulls in that era....gimme a break....Magic was the best team player and ball player....Jordan was a highlight reel....good for the NBA much like Lebron but not until Magic was on the decline did the NBA decide to make him the best....

Kobe cant win in his era cause the NBA doesnt need him alone to sell it....They have so many talents and superstars....Kobe routinely gets officiated harsly....He doesnt get every call.  Many times he just doesnt get calls typically given cause they view him as ball hogging...but thats what Jordan did....

Hats off to Kobe for being the ultimate hard worker for a superstar....He sets the table for all these lazy and whiney players....Good Job Kobe.

Since: Mar 14, 2011
Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:58 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

I agree w/Phil.  Indirectly we're comparing eras not players and it is not unfair! If we was in the 80's, hands down, Magic Man and Bird, may be even karreem!  Magic was a great player from day one in the NBA. He understood it. Bird -- same way! No one have ever came close to either one!  May be that could be the truest statement!!!!  Jordan dominated his era.  Kobe is dominating his era.  I don't think any player wants to be compared to anyone but themsleves.  There will be a lot of "no comparisons"....  Jordan and Kobe had their respective struggles until Phil got there.  Again, the eras was different.  Put this topic to rest!!!   

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:04 am

Jackson: It's 'not fair' to compare Kobe & Jordan

It isnt fair to compare, Jordan was debatedly the best player who ever played. Kobe is just a great player and that is all.

So Laker and Kobe fans don't get offended, I'll take it one step further then that.  In my opinion Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA today and has been for a while....  I think Lebron is more talented but hasn't had half the talent to play with Kobe has had in his career until now... but until he wins at least one championship my top player award goes to Kobe Bryant.
BUT.... nobody is better then Michael Jordan was, at least not anybody from today's NBA.   What separates Michael Jordan from everybody else is what he did with the talent around him and how much better he made mediocre players look.....  Scottie Pippen would have been nothing more then just a mediocre player but looked dynamite with Jordan on his team... so did many others... Cartright at times looked like Kareem in the middle with Jordan.... not so great without him...

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