The Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan debate somewhat ceased towards the end of the former Los Angeles Lakers star’s career, with most agreeing that while Bryant came closest to Jordan of any player ever, he never quite passed him.
Of course, if you were to ask Bryant, he’d most certainly lay claim to having the better career. The ultra-confidence in large part is what made the five-time champion a second coming of Jordan.
In what might be the least surprising revelation or comment ever delivered by Brant, he at least believes he was superior to Jordan in one category.
During a conversation with legendary UConn head coach Geno Auriemma on his “Holding Court with Geno Auriemma” podcast, Bryant unequivocally stated he was the better shooter:
“Oh, I did. For sure. I mean, my range was limitless. I could shoot from anywhere. Listen, it’s true. I put the time in for it. But the defenses that we faced were also different. I was facing zones, I had to move to the perimeter a lot more than MJ had to. He didn’t have to have that sort of range. I’m sure if he played in the era I played in, he would’ve developed that range.”
The numbers barely bear out Bryant’s conclusion, as he was a 32.9 percent career 3-point shooter compared to Jordan’s 32.7 percent from deep. However, Bryant is also probably right to note that the game he played in was different than Jordan’s NBA.
As such, it’s certainly within reason to believe Jordan indeed would’ve developed a bit more of an outside shot had he played in modern times.
It’s also important to note that the degree of difficulty of the threes attempted by both players probably lowered their percentages. Especially for Bryant, given his at-times questionable shot selection.
Bryant likely would have an even higher career average had he not taken so many end-of-shot-clock heaves, but those are also what made him, him. Still, Bryant is not wrong, and the confidence it took to admit he felt that way is also what made him so great.
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