Before the finals had started Kobe Bryant had the comparisons to Michael Jordan show up again. It disappeared for a while, but carrying the Lakers to the finals as the favorite had critics bring up the comparison again.
As game four passed by, a whole legacy was tarnished. Kobe still has many good years left in him, but the Lakers going down in game four after a historical comeback by the Celtics has put a question mark on the comparison.
One thing for certain, Jordan would have never let a 24 point lead fade away.
The Lakers had an unbelievable turn around a year after Kobe demanded to be traded. He answered with an MVP season by carrying them to the top of the Western Conference. Talks flourished as Kobe being the greatest. Just watching him play and controlling a game brought the comparison to MJ.
Kobe has three rings, but that was brought to him by the dominant Shaquille O'Neal, so winning a couple more without Shaq would make Kobe probably the greatest ever to play this game.
Talent wise it is there. Kobe even has things Jordan never had. Kobe always had a more consistant three ball and Jordan really had to develop one. Both players also defended as well as each other, while Kobe is as good of a scorer as Jordan was.
The difference is the competitive level. There is more competition now with all the talent, but I am not trying to get into comparing eras.
So what brought the comparison back this May?
Jordan won without a dominant center and Kobe getting into the finals had accomplished the same. Jordan had Pippen and a bunch of role players. Kobe has Odom and also a bunch of role players. Kobe was on his way to accomplishing what Jordan had, but in a more of a competitive league now.
The problem though is that Jordan did it six times and never lost. Kobe was on his way but may have blown it.
Greatness is settled in the big games. The big games for Kobe are now. He has struggled throughout the NBA finals. I do not know whether or not to credit the Celtics' defense, but if Kobe was as good as Jordan he would not be struggling at all. Jordan had the ability to pick the pockets of a defense and control a game. Kobe has not yet been able to show he can in the finals.
The Lakers, in game four, had a huge lead over the Celtics and the "team" let the Celtics win. If Kobe was the greatest he would have never let the Celtics come back by closing the game. He was incapable of closing out the game.
We all knew Jordan was a competitor and always did not get along well with his teammates always, but Jordan would never walk off the court in the NBA finals and give up on his team with seconds left in the game. Kobe gave up and walked out with three seconds left in game four. It was a disgrace and embarrassing.
My whole point is that I was always sick of people comparing the greatest player ever to Kobe. Kobe has all the tools Jordan did, some can argue even more, but one thing is for certain, Kobe does not have the "it" Jordan had to close out championship games.
The series is not yet over, but looks dead against the Celtics.
This was Kobe's only chance to show to me and the world that he may be the best ever. Kobe has lost a finals once by letting his ego getting in the way against the Pistons and now looks like his ability may cost him.
When he was a facilitator to the rest of his team, the Lakers played better. He has an ability to make his teammates better like Jordan, but lacks the ability to know when it is OK and when it is not.
Hopefully these finals prove Jordan is a level above any other player to ever play the game.