The Kobe Bryant-Michael Jordan Debate Rages On

Thomas CrismanContributor IMay 11, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 31:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sticks out his tounge at Michael Jordan as he runs down the court during their game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 31, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Kobe vs. MJ. There is no argument.

The other day with a bunch of people discussing basketball, I got into a discussion with someone who kept trying to tell me Kobe Bryant was better than Michael Jordan.

It was the second time in a month I'd heard this claim.

I basically laughed and said something like, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."  I then started naming all the reasons Jordan was better that Bryant.

Something like:

1. Jordan's six championships without Shaq is better than Kobe's three with Shaq.

2. Jordan won six Finals MVP awards (an NBA record); Kobe hasn't won any.

3. Shooting percentage (Jordan: .497 career, Bryant: .455 career).

4. The time Kobe guaranteed the Lakers would make the playoffs, when they did not.

5. One NCAA Championship for Jordan, none for Bryant.

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6. Jordan holds the NBA record for most points in a playoff game (63 against Boston on May 20, 1986).

7. Rebounds per game (Jordan: 6.2 career, Bryant: 5.3 career)

8. Assists per game (Jordan: 5.3 career, Bryant: 4.6 career)

9. Jordan's five regular-season MVP awards against one for Kobe.

10. Jordan led the 1995-96 72-win Chicago Bulls (an NBA record for wins).

The Kobe supporter argued:

1. He scored 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006.

2. He scored 62 against Dallas in three quarters on Dec. 20, 2005.

3. Bryant is more exciting and was more "clutch" than Jordan (I disputed this one).

4. Three-point field goal percentage (Bryant: .341 career, Jordan: .327 career).

5. Many other stats that were just plain wrong...

I ended by saying something like, "Kobe Bryant is still young, wait until the end of his career to compare them," to try to diffuse the situation.

I thought very briefly that this person was going to punch me in my face. He then accused me of being a "hater," and finally we just talked about something else.

Don't get me wrong, Kobe Bryant is a great, sure-fire Hall of Fame player. At this point in his career though, there is no way you could possibly say that he is a better player than Michael Jordan, using any kind of rational logic.

Michael Jordan is the best player to ever play professional basketball. There are arguments for others, like Bill Russell or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kobe Bryant just isn't one of them yet.

There are a lot of people out there who have the necessary psychological make-up to throw a beer bottle down onto the field or run onto the court/field trying to injure their least favorite player.

But there are also a lot of people out there who have the necessary psychological make-up to become stalkers.

When I lived in Boston, I met a number of people whom I believed with all of my heart and soul that if they were given the chance, would do physical harm to Jorge Posada in such a way that he would never be able to play baseball again.

However, while there, I also met an equal number of people who believed Antoine Walker was the best player to ever wear a Boston Celtics Jersey.

To me, both of these are equally ridiculous.

We all know what a "Hater" is—but, to explain the other kind of crazy, I submit for your consideration the following definition:

Player Lover \Play"er Lov"er\, n. -

1.  One who has a non-sexual crush on a professional athlete causing an irrational inflation of the athlete's abilities, accomplishments, and/or skills.

2.  One who has a sexual crush on a professional athlete, causing an irrational inflation of the athlete's abilities, accomplishments, and/or skills.

We all know at least one.


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