Once and for all, let's settle this argument—Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan.
If getting swept by Dallas was not embarrassing enough, they were not even in the game when they were fighting not only to extend their season, but to extend their legacy by winning a second three-peat.
Perhaps I shouldn't have said fighting, because the Lakers put up little fight, unless you want to count the cheap shot by Andrew Bynum on J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter. Lamar Odom also was tossed for a flagrant foul against Dirk Nowitzki.
Jordan never would have allowed this to happen.
While Kobe tries to "be like Mike," and was hoping to match his six titles, he scored just 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting. His Lakers were down 63-39 at the half on the way to the first playoff sweep in Phil Jackson's 21 years of coaching.
Not exactly a nice send-off to retirement for one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game.
It seemed like the Lakers retired before the game started.
A team led by Jordan would have found a way to win, but even had they not, he would never have let his team quit like the Lakers did as the Mavericks crushed them, 122-86. The 36-point deficit was the largest in NBA history in a game that capped a four-game sweep.
It's not the first time either.
In the NBA Finals in 2008, the Boston Celtics blew out L.A. 131-92 in Game 6 to win that series 4-2 as Kobe scored 22 points, going 7-of-22 from the floor. They were down 58-35 at the half, and the 39-point margin of victory was the largest ever in an NBA championship-clinching game.
That deficit was also the largest in team history in an elimination game.
Are you starting to notice a pattern here?
While nobody can deny Kobe is a great player, we're talking Michael Jordan here.
Kobe can still surpass Jordan's six rings before his career is over, but that doesn't mean he's a better player. For one, he's played on more talented teams than Jordan did. For another, he's lucky to have five rings.
To win his first championship, Portland had the Lakers down by 15 points entering the fourth quarter of the deciding game before they choked, allowing L.A. to move on.
The third ring almost justifies Tim Donahey's argument that the NBA tells the refs how to call the games. If you didn't know any better, you would think David Stern had money on the Lakers in the series against the Sacramento Kings. That had to be possibly the worst officiated playoff series in the history of the league.
There is no way that you can justify how that series was officiated, and if it wasn't dictated before-hand, those officials should have been fired for incompetence.
Jordan, despite having the highest career average in the history of the league at 30.1, elevated his game even further in the playoffs averaging 33.4 for his career.
Kobe mirrored his regular season performance, averaging 25.3 during the season, and 25.4 in the playoffs. Obviously still very good, but he didn't turn his game up a notch in the playoffs like you would expect an all-time great to do.
Jordan made the NBA Finals six times, and the Bulls won every one of them, never going beyond six games. He was the NBA Finals MVP each time.
He also won five MVP trophies in his career, a number that most experts say should have been much greater, with Charles Barkley and Karl Malone getting career achievement awards because they didn't want to give it to Jordan again.
Kobe has been in the NBA Finals seven times, losing twice.
Kobe was the finals MVP only two times, and probably didn't deserve the one he won last year, when he shot 6-of-24 from the floor in the final game for 23 points as the Lakers almost won despite him in Game 7.
He also has only one regular season MVP award in his trophy case at home.
Throughout his career he has been compared to Jordan, and part of that is he brought it on himself. He patterned his game after him, and tried to walk and talk like him. And he is a reasonable facsimile, but you don't want hamburger when you crave steak.
It's like comparing a cubic zirconia and a diamond. They both shine bright, but one's the real thing, and the other is just a copy.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!