Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will soon begin their quest for their third straight title.
Phil Jackson will go for his 12th title as coach, Bryant for his sixth title and the Lakers for their 17th title.
Jackson will solidify his case as the greatest coach in NBA history if the Lakers win. The Lakers will make their case stronger as a better franchise than the Boston Celtics.
Bryant, on the other hand, will make his case stronger as one of the greatest players of all-time, possibly making (in my opinion) the top 10 list.
That’s right; top 10 all-time.
Not the greatest of all-time. Not even top 5. This means that Bryant will not be better than Michael Jordan. I grow tired of the argument that if Bryant ties Michael Jordan in championships won, then he should be considered better than Jordan.
This is just a fallacy that “Kobe fans” have invented. I’ve been reading and commenting on written articles regarding this issue, but I felt it was time to write my own article and to show these Kobe fans a detailed explanation of why this is a complete falsehood.
First of all, let me say Bryant is one of my favorite players, but unlike most of his fans, I know exactly what kind of players Jordan and Bryant are. I got one question for them: Was winning six titles the only thing Jordan ever did in his NBA career? How can six titles be the only argument when the Jordan did a lot more in his 15-year career?
Not even seven titles for Bryant will make him better. Jordan’s greatness expands more than titles. If Bryant wins his sixth or seventh title, he will still have a lot to do in order to catch Jordan.
I’m not saying that Bryant has to do everything Jordan did in his career. But he needs to at least come close to the things Jordan did.
So this article will not only prove that titles aren’t enough, but it will also prove that the argument about Bryant being close to Jordan is just, well, that, an argument. Here are four reasons why six rings won’t be enough.
The league’s best player
The Most Valuable Player award (MVP) is one way to know who the league’s best player is. Sometimes the award goes to the wrong person. Jordan won five league MVP awards in his NBA career. In Jordan’s case he deserved all of them, but this is misleading.
Jordan wasn’t the league’s best player in just five seasons. He was the best for an unprecedented nine seasons (1988-1993, 1996-1998). For some reason he didn’t win in 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1997, even though he was clearly the league’s best player.
Bryant has won the MVP award just once in his career (2008). There are many who think that Chris Paul should’ve won in 2008.
Jordan has won four more MVP awards than Bryant. You won’t find two seasons in which Bryant was the league’s best player. Jordan was the best for nine seasons. Bryant should at least make it four or five to really be considered close to Jordan.
The Scoring titles
Both Jordan and Bryant were scorers. They are considered two of the greatest scorers in NBA history. This means that “scoring” is a good way to compare these two. Bryant’s, however doesn’t come close to Jordan’s. Yes, I know Bryant scores 81 points in one game and 62 in three quarters. But Jordan did a lot more than Bryant has yet to accomplish.
One of these is the amount of scoring titles he won. Jordan won an unprecedented 10 scoring titles, whereas Bryant has won just two. Jordan even had an impressive streak of seven straight scoring titles, all with averages of over 30 points. He did this in the “handcheck” era.
An even more impressive fact is that Jordan won six of his 10 scoring titles in the same season he won the Championship. Jordan is joined by four other players to win the scoring title and NBA Championship in the same season. Jordan did it six times.
This means that Jordan did it more times than the other four players combined. This just shows how difficult it is to lead the league in scoring and lead your team to a championship.
Think about all the great scorers that didn’t win the scoring title in the same year they won the NBA Championship. Bryant is one example. He would need to win a couple more scoring titles and MVP awards in order to match Jordan.
Bryant would need to increase his stats. These are their stats:
Career scoring averages in the regular season-
Jordan - 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.3 spg, 0.8 bpg, 49.7 FG % (1,072 games)
Bryant - 25.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.6 bpg, 45.5 FG % (1,021 games)
Career scoring averages in the playoffs-
Jordan - 33.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.7 apg, 2.1 spg, 0.9 bpg, 48.7 FG % (179 games)
Bryant - 25.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.4 pg, 0.7 bpg, 44.8 FG % (198 games)
Career scoring averages in the Finals
Jordan - 33.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.7 apg, 0.7 bpg, 48.1 FG % (35 games)
Bryant - 25.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.9 bpg, 41.4 FG % (37 games)
We can see Jordan holds a great advantage over Bryant, especially in the playoffs and Finals. Many Kobe fans even try to exclude Bryant’s first three seasons when comparing stats. For some reason they don’t know that this actually proves Bryant is not close because his averages without those three seasons are still not better than Jordan’s.
The Finals MVP
Now this is the most important one. Jordan was the best player of his team in every Finals series. If Bryant wins his sixth title, it’s likely he’ll win his third Finals MVP award.
Jordan will still have three more than Bryant. Bryant would need to win three more titles and win the Finals MVP award in each win to match Jordan’s six Finals MVP awards.
This means he would need to end his career with at least nine NBA Championships. Winning those titles also means that he has to win as the best player of his team at the age of 35. And that would be if the Lakers win the next four titles. The Lakers winning the next four championships means that they would need to complete a seven-peat (seven straight titles).
If the Lakers fail to win the next four titles, Bryant chances of winning six Finals MVP will decrease even more because that means he will need to win as the best player at the ages of 36 or older.
What I’m trying to say is that Bryant will never win six Finals' MVP award.
Bryant is not close and six titles for him will not make him better than Jordan. He has to win more league MVP awards, scoring titles and Finals MVP awards, and his stats should be higher.
This won’t happen, so Bryant can never be better than Jordan.