Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan Comparison: Numbers Never Lie

Don’t you hate those Kobe Bryant/Michael Jordan comparisons? They’re just the worst, right? Well, here’s another one! Recently our good friend Tyson Beck put together this detailed graphic that compares the careers of Jordan and Bryant in a side-by-side manner that allows us to focus just on the numbers.

Not bad, right?

At first the numbers aren’t that surprising. You’ll notice that Jordan’s points per game and and percentages are significantly higher, but then things get interesting. Some of the numbers are a lot closer than you might expect, which may give further fuel to the “can Kobe be mentioned in the same sentence as that other guy” fire that has been burning since about 2004.

I’m not going to take the time to dive into this debate, because honestly I don’t think there is much of an argument to be made. But if there’s anybody who statistically stands up with Mike, it appears to be Kobe. Even though Bryant trails Jordan in most of the categories, I feel like that can’t be much of a surprise since Mike is widely considered the greatest player to ever lace ’em up.

While I’ll be the first one to scoff at those that try to compare Kobe and Jordan, this chart is a lot of fun to look over and see just how similar these two players are. There’s no question they have followed similar career paths to this point, and the similarities between their styles of play are evident. The numbers make it clear that Kobe is a far better 3-point shooter than Jordan was, but we knew that. The assist numbers were closer than expected, at least the totals, but Jordan averaged an entire assist more per game throughout the course of his career than Bryant has.

Defensively, Jordan dominates Bryant. The block and steal numbers lean in heavy favor of 23, as do the 40-plus and 50-point games. Those numbers are truly staggering, as Jordan’s scoring barrage from the late eighties to early nineties was the stuff of legend. Even Kobe’s scoring output from 2005-07 (his highest scoring years) didn’t compare to Mike’s, at least in terms of longevity. Then again, Kobe has that one 80-plus point game on his resume, something Jordan never came close to achieving.

So instead of dissecting this further and coming up with some inane argument as to why Kobe is as good as/better than/equal to/the square root of Michael Jordan, take a look at the graphic and see for yourself. After all, I’ve heard rumors that numbers never lie.

Thanks to the famous Tyson Beck (@TysonBeckDesign), one of the best Lakers graphic artists in the world, we have a new graphic to show you the latest in what the numbers tell us between the two great shooting guards:

Click on image for full resolution!


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