Blog Entry

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: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:59 pm

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

WOAAAAAHHHH. Was that a rape case hint at the end of that post?

Why? Are you surprised somebody is questioning Kobe's character or something?  Kobe Bryant denied raping that woman then proceeded to pay her off.... that doesn't look good.  
I'm not saying he's guilty for sure just because he paid her off....... obviously I can't be 100 percent sure.  You could say he paid her off for the same reason a lot of filthy rich people pay people off... to save time and avoid the embarassment that goes along with a civil trial like that....... Michael Jackson paid off a couple of families that accused him of raping their little boys...... did he do it?
Who knows with either one of these guys.. all I know is paying people off has its perks and it certainly creates problems as well... you can't blame people for thinking somebody is guilty after they write a big paycheck to their accuser.... even if the money they are paying is like monopoly money would be to us, it makes them look very guilty. 

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: March 13, 2011 10:40 pm

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.

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: March 13, 2011 6:41 pm

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

  Though my opinion is probably not worth a whole bunch when it comes to basketball, I will throw in my two cents here. I don't believe that anyone can compare to Jordan for the simple fact that MJ revolutionized the game. Kobe is a spectacular player, maybe the best in the game today and for a few years to come, but he has essentially taken the game of most players and excelled at it better than anyone out there. Jordan, on the other hand, revolutionized the guard/ forward position and put NBA basketball leaps and bounds up the chain as far as marketability, revenue, and overall success of the league. I believe that Jordan was no less that paramount in escalating the leagues player salaries and set the tone for many more players to gain huge marketing/ advertising revenue with giant corporations.

   There is no doubt that Kobe is great, but Jordan was not only great as a player and teammate, but he was great for the evolution of the position and the league as a whole. Jordan was to the NBA what Gretzky was to the NHL. There never will be another Gretzky, as he put the NHL on the map, just as Jordan escalated the NBA to heights it had never seen before and still enjoys to this day.

  Again, take it where it's coming from, but this is my opinion.

Since: Oct 24, 2007
Posted on: March 13, 2011 6:10 pm

Wilt without debate...

I realize that everybody always gravitates to what they are more familiar with, what is most recent, etc...when it comes to best/greatest of this or that. But i suggest you guys go wikipedia "wilt chamberlain" so you can end this nonsense of jordan/kobe being best ever...its not even an argument...they changed rules because wilt was so dominant..

they called him a all he did was go out and lead the LEAGUE in assists on year...because he could
he dominated his matchups with bill russell too..bill just had the other top 4 players on the court 
just look at the stats/numbers/records wilt had...they didn't count blocks as a stat or he would have had so many QUADRUPLE doubles it would be laughable..
wilt is and will always be the greatest, most dominant NBA player ever.

Since: Mar 13, 2011
Posted on: March 13, 2011 5:49 pm

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

Get over it! Jordan was an outstanding player....almost a one man team. But the greatest all around player to play the game can only go to Wilt! We are not talking championships but the levels of playing ability. I hate to bring it up but how many 100 point games did MJ have?

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: March 13, 2011 5:15 pm

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

I agree with Phil.

Kobe is a great player, and a great winner.  But he's not comparable to Michael Jordan.  Jordan was the best player to ever play in the NBA, as far as I'm concerned, and certainly the best I've seen.

Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: March 13, 2011 4:58 pm

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

How stupid is this writer? Phil Jackson pretty clearly said Jordan was better (which he is). Nothing evasive about his answer, it was pretty point blank. And no winning 10 rings and scoring a gazillion points would not make Kobe better in the eyes of any intelligent fan. Jordan shot better and was most always clutch, Kobe is often clutch, and a lot of times not so clutch. Being CLUTCH is the most important characteristic a basketball player can have, and no one comes close to Jordan in that regard. Saying winning more championsihips would make him better is like saying a 20 win pitcher with a 4.50 era is better than a 15 win pitcher with a 1.50 era.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: March 13, 2011 4:32 pm

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

WOAAAAAHHHH. Was that a rape case hint at the end of that post?
The one thing I will say is that off the court, BOTH of these guys have tons of dirt--and thats fine. Michael Jordan always looked like the golden boy, but I happen to know first hand that Michael and Kobe both have partaken in all of the "naughty lifestyle." Jordan mostly, was known to influence many other players to follow him in that way. 
So what I am saying is, forget higher authority. Court time is all that is evaluated here. Embassadorship...overrated. 

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: March 13, 2011 3:49 pm

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

I think some limited comparisons can be made between Michael and Kobe; but the emphasis is on 'limited' since each wound up in different circumstances.

With or without comparisons, though: Kobe has vindicated himself well on the basketball court, growing over the years into a champion and a leader.  But whether that growth in stature and maturity extended off the court, as well, will have to be judged by a much Higher Authority...

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