Are Fans of Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan Ready to Walk in MJ's Air Forces?

DeRod HaffordContributor IJune 20, 2010

As the Los Angeles Lakers win for the fifth time in 10 years and Kobe gets one for his thumb, the Kobe vs MJ debate has heated up. Some seem to think that it's rings that determine how good an individual player is but, after looking at at the Black Mamba's career playoff stats as a starter, past performances in the NBA Finals, and the amount of help he has had, can he ever really hover above Air Jordan ?

Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the NBA, but for me it comes down to Air Jordan always finding a way to win and always being the best player on his team every year. Michael didn't have the offensively gifted big men that Black Mamba had to draw fouls and keep the opposing team in the penalty.

Today's NBA is a little "softer" than it was in MJ's day, where it seems the refs blow the whistle for any kinda of contact, the hand checking rule, and the whole Tim Donaghy scandal. It's not Kobe's fault he can't help how the NBA has changed, but I'm sticking with MJ as the best pound-for-pound player—but if you disagree feel free to leave me a comment.

Career Playoff stats    

Kobe 27ppg 5.7reb 5.0ast 1.5stl 0.7blk FG 45.2% 3PT 33.7% FT 84.2% 3.1 TO's (as a starter)

MJ  33.4ppg 6.4reb 5.7ast 2.1stl 0.9blk FG 48.7% 3PT 33.3% FT 82.8% 3.0 TO's

Kobe: Best playoff year 30.1ppg 5.7reb 5.6ast 1.6stl 0.3blk FG 47.9 FT 80.9 3.3 TO's

MJ : Worst playoff year 29.3ppg 5.8reb 8.5ast 2.7stl 1.0blk FG 43.6% FT 82.8 3.7TO's (This was MJ's Rookie year!!!)

NBA Finals Points Per Game Field, Goal Percentage, and Result  

                 Kobe                                              Michael *

2000 finals 15.6 ppg 36.2%  WIN          1991 finals 31.2 ppg 57.6% Win 
2001 finals 24.6 ppg 41.6%  WIN          1992 finals 32.4 ppg 52.8% Win 
2002 finals 26.7 ppg 50.6%  WIN          1993 finals 41.0 ppg 51.0% Win 
2004 finals 22.6 ppg 37.0% LOSS         1996 finals 27.3ppg  41.1%  Win
2008 finals 25.6 ppg 40.6% LOSS         1997 finals 32.3ppg  45.6%  Win 
2009 finals 32.4 ppg 43.1%  WIN          1998 finals 33.3ppg 43.3% Win 
2010 finals 28.6 ppg 40.8%  WIN

        Total: 25.2ppg 41.1%                          Total: 33.0ppg 48.6%

* MJ never played in a game seven

Best Teammate in the Playoffs During Winning Seasons

Kobe: Shaq 30ppg 14.5reb 3.0ast 2.5blk FG 55% average for 2000, 2001, 2002

   Pau Gasol 19ppg 11.0reb 3.0ast 2.0blk FG 56% average for 2009, 2010

MJ : Scottie Pippen 20.4ppg 8.2reb 6ast 2.1stl 0.9blk FG 47.9% FT 73% averaged for 1991, 1992, 1993

Scottie Pippen 17.5ppg 7.4reb 4.9ast 2.0stl .09blk FG 40.7% FT 70%  averaged for 1996, 1997, 1998

Playoff X-Factors During Winning Seasons :

Kobe: Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza, Ron Artest

MJ : Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, John Paxson, Tony Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper

Finals MVP :

Kobe: 2

MJ : 6


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