The question of Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan has been asked repeatedly over the last couple of years.
Let me make this clear: There is no debate.
Michael Jordan has reached levels that are insurmountable. Realistically, the only way Bryant could ever surpass Jordan is if he miraculously plays until he is 45, wins a bunch of championships and continues to dominate.
Statistically, Jordan is in a league of his own. He shot the ball almost five percent better from the field than Kobe (49.7 to 45.4). He was more of a dominating player. He made everyone around him better, and his presence was detrimental for the opposition at all times, as he depicted the very meaning of the statement "greatest of all time."
The only sensible point in Kobe's favor is the fact that he skipped college and has accumulated more positive statistics than Michael Jordan. For example, there is a very good chance that Bryant becomes the NBA all-time scoring leader one day. However, that does not mean he is the sport's greatest player of all time.
Kobe Bryant will never be able to surpass Michael Jordan, but at 32 years old, the gifted athlete, perhaps the second-best ever to play the game, could indeed make this a close debate and possibly reach Jordan one day.
It may seem far-fetched, but it is indeed still possible.
The first thing Kobe Bryant needs to do is win another title. If Kobe manages to get six, he automatically draws himself closer to the greatest player of all time. There is plenty of time for Kobe to get six and perhaps even No. 7. This would help solidify the claim that Kobe is at Jordan's level.
Secondly, Kobe needs to shoot less and get his teammates more involved. While Michael Jordan was egotistical, Kobe Bryant gives the word a new meaning.
He will take the game into his own hands and refuse to get others involved. He will shoot poorly with ill-advised shots, and when he does decide to pass the ball, it is too late, as everyone else has gotten cold. Kobe needs to distribute the ball better, make everyone around him more involved and in return force everyone to become better.
Michael Jordan made Bill Wellington a significantly better player from 1993-97. Wellington should have probably been working at a fast-food restaurant during those years, but Michael made him into a good player throughout the Jordan era. Kobe needs to do the same.
Lastly, and the most difficult task to ask of Kobe Bryant—simply become better.
There is something unexplainable that comes to mind when talking about Michael Jordan. Reiterating the fact that he was gifted is like repeatedly saying the sky is blue. When Jordan was out on the court, it was like watching a work of art.
Time stood still, and a boy from Brooklyn, New York captivated the hearts of millions. Michael Jordan had the world in his hands with every step he took, and he used it to his advantage. He had the look, the style, the game. It was his touch, it was his dominance and it was his inexorable presence that defined Michael Jordan.
If Kobe Bryant ever wants to reach Michael Jordan, he will have to gain that unexplainable aspect that made Jordan who he was—an aspect so powerful words give it no meaning, and no one has ever seen it again. If Kobe finds it, he has a chance of reaching the level of the greatest of all time.