For most fans, this debate started years ago and continues to this day. Whether you love or hate Kobe, comparing him to MJ is inevitable.
To take a closer look at the comparison, we need more than subjective points of view from fans and media. Jordan played in a different era, when NBA basketball was much more open and fluid. Jordan faced legends, played without the sissy hand-checking rules and girly fouls, and didn't have one of the most dominant centers ever on his team.
But Bryant is still the closest thing to Jordan we've seen in the history of basketball, and he's obviously one of the best players in the league today. But how, exactly, does he measure up to His Airness?
Most NBA fans will argue that Michael Jordan is the superior player, though there is a growing group that would choose Bryant over Jordan.
Jordan was an ambassador to basketball and was instrumental in globalizing the game during his career. He was also humble and a generally likeable guy.
Bryant, with his unique athleticism and graceful cockiness, is invincibly confident in his strengths and at the same time astonishingly unaware of his weaknesses.
When considering a full analysis, it becomes quite clear that Jordan is the better basketball player, and possibly the best of all time:
Jordan won six championships, scored 3,000 points in a single season (averaging 37.1 PPG while only shooting 66 three-pointers), averaged 6 RPG nine times in his career, made more than 50 percent of his shots in six of his seasons, averaged more than 6 APG three times (including one campaign of 8 APG), averaged more than 1 BPG four times in his career, averaged more than 2.2 SPG nine times in his career, and averaged more than three turnovers just five times in his career.
Kobe has won three championships, has shot over 500 three-pointers to average 35 PPG, and has averaged over six rebounds a game only three times in his career. Only once has he averaged more than 2.2 SPG; not once has he shot more than 50 percent from the field over a season. Only once has he averaged 6 APG or more than 1 BPG. He's clocked in at three turnovers per game seven times (with his worst season being 4.0 TPG in 2004-05, a mark that Jordan never reached).
Jordan never won without Pippen, and Kobe hasn't won without Shaq. There is a slight difference here, though. Jordan was the "Batman" to Pippen's "Robin," whereas Kobe was the "Robin" to Shaq's "Batman."
Jordan will always be the original. He created a culture and some would even say a cult of sorts.
So, as the “hoopla” continues, post who you think is the G.O.A.T.