For years after Michael Jordan retired from the Chicago Bulls for the second time, fans and media spent much of their time attempting to find Jordan’s successor. The player who probably came closest to taking on that mantle was now-retired Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
Bryant will likely be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, and the influence Jordan had on his career was obvious in the way Bryant glided to the rim while also using impeccable footwork and making phenomenal reads out of the mid-post area.
Bryant never quite reached Jordan’s heights, but even though he has previously said he would “love” to play one-on-one with a version of Jordan still in his prime, since it will never happen, he doesn’t think it’s possible to figure out who was truly greater, via the Dan Patrick Show:
“I never thought about it, to be honest with you. I never tried to waste my energy thinking about things that I definitively cannot win. We can sit here and debate, ‘OK, who’s better, Kobe or Michael, or LeBron, and all this other stuff.’ You can debate that until you’re blue in the face. I’m not going to waste my energy on it. Until you develop a time capsule where I can go back in time and face Jordan in ’91, ’92, ’93, put LeBron in that time capsule, put us all in the same era. Then we’ll see what’s what. But until then, I’m not going to waste my energy on it.”
Bryant’s stance is understandable, even if it would be hard to find many NBA fans who wouldn’t rank Jordan ahead of Bryant on their list of all-time greats.
Even if much of the way we discuss sports is through debates like this, there is no concrete way to possibly know which player was better with certainty. And Bryant is never just going to admit to another player being better than him, either.
It’s what made him so great and allowed him to have so much success, so if someone can get a time machine, he’ll be happy to try and settle the argument. Until then, it sounds like he isn’t interested in discussing what ifs.
The Dan Patrick Show airs on AUDIENCE Network – Channel 239 (DirecTV) – Monday-Friday 6 a.m.- 9 a.m. PT.