If this season has taught us anything, Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan.
The large discrepancy in their career stats has always been there but in the past Bryant fans, myself included, have tried arguing that the difference in their respective eras made up the difference.
We tried arguing that there were no zone defenses in Jordan’s day and that the league overall, though more physical and hard-nosed, was less athletic.
These are the excuses we tried using, but one thing we could never justify were the larger failures Bryant endured over the course of his career that Jordan would have never allowed, namely:
- the 2004 Finals which saw Bryant shoot under 40% from the field
- Game 4 of the 2008 Finals which saw Bryant’s Lakers squander a 24 point lead
- Game 6 of the 2008 Finals when the Celtics wrecked the Lakers in a 39 point blowout, the largest ever margin of a defeat in a deciding game of the Finals.
- Game 7 of the 2010 Finals when Bryant made only 6 of 24 attempted field goals. (This is not as talked about as the other failures due to the Lakers’ series victory, but would have been a permanent stain on Bryant’s career otherwise.)
Now we can add the 2011 playoffs to the list.
During the regular season Bryant averaged the fewest minutes since his sophomore season and still utterly tanked in the playoffs, averaging under 23 points per game and utterly disappearing in Games 3 and 4.
Bryant is no Jordan.
Still, he may be closer than anyone in the game today. Let’s talk about why.