As the seasons past where Kobe Bryant began to cement himself as a driving force for the Los Angeles Lakers, comparisons to Michael Jordan grew intense. They were present from the early stages of Bryant’s career, but not many believed the wunderkind would ever approach His Airness’ territory.
Jordan himself wasn’t always warm to Bryant, though became more friendly and open with him upon realizing the two shared a similar passion and drive to succeed. To this day, no one player more closely resembled Jordan’s style and persona than Bryant.
And with that, has come a spirited debate over which player was superior. If given the choice, Bryant, in his prime, picked Jordan from the 1991 season as the version he’d like to compete against, via the Dan Patrick Show:
“Michael, ’91. No doubt about it. No doubt about it. No doubt about it. We’d go at it. Michael and I have had these conversations before. I say ’91 because that’s the year where he was really at his prime. Physically, mentally, you just felt like he was an absolute bull in ’91. I would love to see what that looks like. … I’m not necessarily a passive person when it comes to trash talking. It’s entertaining. We’re both really creative trash-talkers.”
Jordan paced the league with 30.1 points per game during the 1991 season, while also averaging 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists en route to earning the second of five MVP Awards. The Chicago Bulls also won a second consecutive NBA title that season.
When previously discussing some of the game’s greatest players, Bryant said he would like to pit the 2001 Lakers against Jordan’s ’91 Bulls, as well as Magic Johnson’s ’89 Lakers. Jordan has yet to ever reveal which season he believes Bryant was in his prime and would in turn enjoy playing against.
The Dan Patrick Show airs on AUDIENCE Network – Channel 239 (DirecTV) – Monday-Friday 6 a.m.- 9 a.m. PT.