Michael Jordan will go down in many peoples’ eyes as the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball. Jordan amassed countless accolades over his illustrious career and he forever changed the NBA with his on-court heroics and off the court projects. However, over the years Kobe Bryant has given Jordan a run for his money and has sparked a debate as to who is the better player.
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Perhaps no one knows the two players better than the man who led them to all of their championship rings, Phil Jackson. Jackson coached the two superstars in their primes and he offered a comparison in his new book. Jackson will be releasing “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success” very soon and Mike Bresnahan had a chance to get a glimpse at the book.
“Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around,”
“Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.”
“Jordan was also more naturally inclined to let the game come to him and not overplay his hand, whereas Kobe tends to force the action, especially when the game isn’t going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns. Michael, on the other hand, would shift his attention to defense or passing or setting screens to help the team win the game.”
Jackson also said Jordan “was stronger, with bigger shoulders and a sturdier frame,” which helped him pass defenses. As for Bryant, the Zen Master said his finesse and flexibility allowed him to get through defenders.
From the excerpts released, it seems as though Jackson favors Jordan over Bryant when choosing the better player. Although Bryant can very well be considered the second greatest shooting guard of all-time, Jordan is truly in a class of his own. Jackson may choose to pick Jordan over Bryant, but there is no doubt Kobe’s success is something not many people will ever match.
In terms of number of championships and individual awards, Jordan has the upper hand against Bryant; however, the Black Mamba has a chance to tie Jordan’s six rings and surpass him on the all-time scoring list in the near future.
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