The last two weeks people have been gathering up, and generating more opinions on Kobe Bryant. Most? They are great on the guy. However, there’s been an ongoing debate, increasing with more heat over the past two weeks thanks to Bryant. The debate? Kobe vs. Michael. Yes, Kobe Bryant versus Michael Jordan, still continuing over who’s the better player. And you know, it’s more guys that are big fans of Kobe Bryant, still trying to create tension between the two, and I just don’t get it, really. It’s obvious who’s better. I know who’s better, I have the facts to back it up, and the sole basketball knowledge to really provide my personal opinion. I’m not a Kobe fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to hate on the guy in this article over a few things.
My question to Kobe Bryant fans who are in favor for Kobe over MJ is, how can you actually hold that mindset? The mindset that makes you think Kobe Bryant is a better player than Michael Jordan, all-time? It’s a little asinine to hear that, for several reasons, basing on the matter of what MJ is known for. I think Bird, Abul-Jabaar, and Magic are all better players that you would be able to compare much more logical with Jordan. Most Kobe fans now in days, are young. They have probably only watched basketball the past 5-6 years. Is that long enough to know Kobe? Sure. Is that long enough to know Jordan? No! It’s the fact that Michael Jordan’s career ended following the 1998 Finals against the Jazz. Technically, it ended with the Wizards in 2003, but I don’t buy into that, since MJ was in his prime throughout the late 80’s, and sprung his game upwards in the 90’s. Most kids don’t understand that.
When you think of Kobe Bryant, the general basketball term that comes to mind is scoring. The scoring you picture in your mind of Kobe is a lot of jump shots, and the step back popper. When you think of Michael Jordan, you think of the greatest of all-time, his free-throw line dunk, and his clutch moments at the end of the game. What sets them apart? Leadership. Now you can go on and on and tell me about how Scottie Pippen served Michael Jordan like the bread crumb served the chirping bird. But I can tell you the same thing using Shaquille O’Neal as the verdict. When Jordan left to go play for the Chicago White Sox’s minor league baseball team, Pippen was left alone for three years. Pippen, in one season, won 55 games. However, he never made it to an Eastern Conference Finals without Michael Jordan. Shaquille O’Neal, when he left the Lakers, he went on to an Eastern Conference championship with the Heat, then in the next season, he went on to win his fourth title with the Miami Heat (along with rising star, Dwyane Wade.)
Maybe Shaq had Wade, but you can’t deny that he won another title. Has Kobe won a title without Shaq? No. Has MJ won a title without Pippen? No. Of course not, but what gives? Michael Jordan was the leader of the Bulls when he was on the court, and even off it, even on the bench, as a team cheerleader. Hell, Kobe Bryant, when Shaq was on the Los Angele Lakers’ team, wasn’t a leader. Why? Shaq was always considered the leader, and even shown it in the Lakers 3-peat of the early 2000’s. Michael Jordan, in every single Chicago Bulls’ championship, he took them to the next level himself and won 6 Finals’ MVPs. When the Bulls went to the Finals, you didn’t think they would win, you expected it, and no one outside of Seattle, Utah, or Phoenix (in different years) doubted them.
So who’s better between Kobe and Michael? I’ve settled it for myself. It’s Michael Jordan. Simply, the guy made his teammates better, which is something Kobe Bryant has not been able to do in his lone years in Los Angeles without Shaq. Granted, it’s only his third year without O’Neal, but that excuse is overused and is vague anymore in an unclear sense, since he’s had a legitimate amount of time around Lamar Odom (who’s considered a LA heir to Scottie Pippen.) The thing Bryant has been able to do, however, is get his teammates’ respect in the lockerroom, and become like an older brother to them. However, he hasn’t shown that same leadership poise on the court, and is more individual out there. Hence, you can’t blame him; when he passes the ball to his teammates, they pass the ball back just to watch him make a spectacular play. Though, passing the ball doesn’t equal leadership, and that is known to every knowledgable basketball fan. Leadership, in my mind, is of a player that can carry his team on his back, show them the way, the light, the glory, and everything meant to victory, and that added effort of exerting oneself, not even accepting a loss, and not backing down. A leader has it’s faults, but they work towards making those faults as non-existant as they can, and bringing their game to another level when it’s needed, and really comes through for it’s teammates, pushing them to the limit, making them as good as they can be — that’s what Michael Jordan was, a leader, a player. Kobe Bryant? A player, but not yet a leader.