The comparisons between the two are certainly interesting and fun to make, but Jordan leads Kobe in a number of categories, as illustrated in the graphic above, from 2012.
Certainly, there are areas in which Kobe differs and even has an advantage over Jordan, whether tangible or not — one being Kobe’s career-high 81 points versus Jordan’s 69.
One reason for the comparisons is the similarities Bryant shares with Jordan, down to his on-court moves and agility, mannerisms, and even the way he addresses the media.
The other reason for the comparisons is the fact that Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, and the media sought to find the “Air Apparent” following his second retirement in 1998.
Jordan was a dominant force, an iconic player, and most of all, a winner.
Kobe Bryant encompassed (and still encompasses) all of that and although many will never place Bryant on the same level as Jordan, he is by far the closest thing we’ve seen to His Airness to date.
Jordan tends to agree, as he told author Roland Lazenby:
“MJ just told me Kobe’s the only one to have done the work, to deserve comparison.”
Speaking of the “work,” apparently that is one area in which Kobe Bryant overshadows everyone, including Michael Jordan, according to Phil Jackson:
“Kobe modeled his behavior a lot about Michael Jordan, but he went beyond Michael in his attitude towards training, and I know Mike would probably question me saying that, but he did.”
The Black Mamba had shied away from the comparisons in the past and cited His Airness as being the “Greatest of All Time” on numerous occasions, stating he just wanted to be the best player he could be (skip to the 2:04 mark):
However, Bryant recently stated, in an interview with Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, that he has always welcomed the comparisons, but he didn’t like the notion that everyone thought he only learned from Jordan:
“I’ve always welcomed the comparison to Michael if it’s in competitive spirit or in terms of records that I may set. I’ve always been cool with that. To be in that kind of company is…is…is…crazy, for lack of a better term. Rare air.”
“The thing that I always bristled at was the notion that I learned everything that I know from Michael. That’s just not true. Hakeem Olajuwon deserves a lot of credit; Jerry West deserves a lot of credit. Oscar Robertson deserves a lot of credit. I really was a student of the game and watched everybody.”
We could go on and on about the comparisons, but the reality of the matter is that Jordan has acted as a mentor to Bryant in a number of ways — creating a different dynamic than that of “Player vs. Player” and rather that of “Sensei and Pupil.”
Bryant went on to explain that Jordan has been like a big brother to him, and has always been available to Kobe throughout the years when seeking tutelage:
To get that kind of information, to me it’s like climbing Mount Everest and speaking to a Buddha at the top of the mountain. You want that information? You’ve got to climb that mountain yourself.
That brings us to our next topic, which is how Kobe has taken all of the information from past generations of NBA legends and put them to use.[divide]
Lakers Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan On NBA All-Time Scoring List
CONTINUE READING: From Student To Master, Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan