Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan? Another title doesn't mean we have to talk about it again

Look the discussion is patently ridiculous.  It also annoys me a bit that Bulls fans are so insecure that they get drawn into this talking heads Kobe vs Michael thing.  It's hard for me to believe any serious basketball analyst in the world believes in his heart of hearts that they're taking Kobe over Jordan.

Rings as best player on his team: Jordan
Virtually every statistical measure: Jordan
Quality of supporting cast: Jordan (had weaker casts and had to do more)
MVPs or Finals MVPs or whatever other awards: Jordan

Objectively, subjectively, however you want to look at it Jordan wins, but as embarrassing as it is for Bulls fans to honor this debate, it's an even bigger disservice to Kobe who then somehow looks like a loser for not measuring up to the dude whom no one else measures up to either.

So it got me to thinking, where do you really place Kobe in terms of all the greats?   Bill Simmons had him 15th a year ago in his book.   I believe there was a footnote in it about him possibly moving up with another title or that he would move him up higher since he won the 08/09 title but the final list was published when he wrote it. 

Now, Simmons has a number of players ranked ahead of Kobe that I wasn't privileged enough to watch, so I'm not going to comment on them.   Out of the players I've seen, the ones that rank up there with Kobe for discussions sake are:

Hakeem, Duncan, Magic, Bird, Shaq, and Kareem (no particularly order).   Jordan (as discussed previously) is easily ahead, and not worth drawing into this debate.

So where does Kobe fit against these guys?

I think you have to put him behind Duncan who won a ring 4x as the best player on his team, and his best supporting cast members have been Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and the ghost of David Robinson.   I'm taking Pau Gasol as a better player than any of those guys, so he has two additional rings as best player, and did it with a weaker group.

I have to take Kareem over him too because Kareem was simply impossible to stop and played forever.   He had more rings as well, and was an MVP of the league 5 times.   His statistics impress me more as do his awards and rings.

I'll take him over Hakeem even though Hakeem won with weaker casts, his championships almost get an asterisk since Jordan was retired at the time.   However, to his credit, he did dominate Shaq in the finals one year. 

That leaves Shaq, Bird, and Magic left.

I'm on the fence with all three of those guys.  I know many will want to take Bird/Magic easily, but both of those guys had multiple all-star teammates.  Their casts were way better than what Kobe had. 

Kobe also has more rings than Bird, and the same number as Magic though you can argue both have 3 Finals MVPs vs Kobe's 2.  When it comes to cold blooded killerness, I think Kobe wins this battle though maybe Bird is right there.  Kobe beats either guy by a considerable margin on the defensive end, and he was a better scorer than Magic in the clutch.

Maybe my memory has just faded too much, but as likable as Johnson is, I just think having Kobe on my team would help more than Magic when they're both in their primes.   The thing is, without phenomenal teammates, I trust Kobe to be able to do it by himself more than I trust Magic.  Ultimately, I want my best player to also be the best scorer on the court, and I don't think Magic qualified there.

Bird, I'm still a bit torn on, but I think I'm leaning towards Kobe there too.  I think Kobe gives you enough extra on defense to compensate for Bird's superior shooting. 

As for Shaq, this one might be the most meaningful to Kobe, and I'm sure he feels he's passed Shaq now that he's won more rings.  Shaq in his prime was something like we may never see again.  The way he dominated games offensively was simply incredible and rivaled Jordan. 

The problem was he didn't have the killer instinct to stay in premier shape, and he couldn't knock down free throws to play a huge clutch role at the end of games.   Shaq's more dominant, Kobe's more of a cold blooded killer. 

I still have to lean towards Shaq though simply because I could find another set of good guards easier than I could find another center, but I think it's a tougher call.

So where do we go with this rambling?   Of the greats I've seen, I guess I've got something like:

1: Jordan
2-4: Duncan, Kareem, Shaq
5-7: Kobe, Bird, Magic
8: Hakeem


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  • I've been devout Kobe hater from day one, but he's earned my respect and a place among my all-time greats list with these recent titles. Yes, it's a total joke to place him with Jordan. I still don't buy him over Magic (I think you're way off on that), for that matter. As you put it, maybe we can start talking about Shaq, but I'd say he needs one more title for me to give him that one) But for the first time, yes, I think it's fair to discuss him as a realistic top five guy.

  • In reply to muhammond:

    Kobe is one of the all-time greats, but he's not equal or better than Mike.

    Secondly, I live in So Cal and on sports radio I hear the statements or implications all the time that Kobe is equal, or better than Mike.

    First of all, I won't spend time posting ALL of the stats that Mike betters Kobe on, but they are MANY.

    But aside from the numbers the one point I argue in support of Mike being better than Kobe, a point I've never heard anyone else make, is the FACT that Mike made-the-guys-around-him-BETTER! The impartation of work ethic, confidence and heart cannot be measured in numbers.

    Let's be real and consider this one example: Scottie would not have been the player he became had he not played w/ Jordan. Think about it, early in his career, Pippen would be present but not show up for games because he was afraid of Dennis Rodman and the Detroit Pistons. But slowly, after playing w/ Mike for a number of years, Pippen got some heart and the impartation of heart from Mike took Scottie's game to another level.

    There's no doubt that Scottie witnessing and be inspired by Mike to practice and prepare hard played a role in his success as well, but my point is simply that Mike helped to make Scottie the player he became. A tough hearted leader that nearly led us back to the finals the 1st year of Mike's retirement.

    Jordan did that not only for Scottie but also for a number of players who played w/ him. Truth be told, Mike won all of his championships with guys he helped to make, while Kobe won his with guys who would've been who they are w/o Kobe. Guys like Shaq, Fisher, Gasol, Artest, Odom and etc.

    Point, Mike is better than Kobe for many statistical reasons but the intangible reason Mike is better, is because he made others better and Kobe hasn't and doesn't.

    In fact and in closing, w/o Jordan, Kobe wouldn't be the player he is because patterned his game, work ethic, many of his moves and even many of his mannerisms after Jordan. Mike was Kobe's inspiration and the standard Kobe aimed to attain.

    Honestly speaking, it's possible that w/o Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant would be good but maybe not as great as he has undoubtedly has become.

  • In reply to ChicaliK:

    I have always conteded that nobody would even know who Scottie is today had he not played with Jordan.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    C'mon man. He was, what, the number 6 pick in the draft coming out of nowhere his senior year? I'm sure that Scottie's body of work is not totally dependent upon piggy backing off of Jordan. For Christ's sake, as has been pointed out, they nearly made the finals without Jordan, probably should've, and Pippen almost got the MVP that year. I know that practicing against Jordan on a daily basis helped improve his game, but it is ludicrous to put the pussy (Jordan) on such a pedestal.

  • In reply to jt563905:

    I'm so impressed with your comment, Tyrus, although I don't believe there was anything pussy about Jordan's game. Without Pippen, Jordan was Dominique Wilkins with defense, he never elevated ANYONE's game before then. As a matter of fact, Phil Jackson doesn't get the credit he deserves for getting MJ to buy in to a coach other than Dean Smith. And it was Cartwright who stood up to MJ, got him to be a better teammate. No PIPPEN, NO RINGS!

  • In reply to muhammond:

    first...mike vs. kobe is unfair to kobe because he is truly a great player, however, there are two big differences between mike and anybody else: 1. mike played best when it mattered most. his scoring average was higher in the playoffs and even higher in the finals. 63 then 69 vs the eventual champs is much bigger than 80 vs a nbdl wannabe team.

    2. consistency. if mike had 5 points in the first half, he was getting 25 in the second. take that to the bank. better than 50% from the field as a shooting guard when the world knew all options led to him. first-team all defense 10 years?

    let's stop talking about it.

    now...kobe vs magic/bird? wow...turn in your pen buddy...you're way off. when magic and bird came into the league, both the celtics and the lakers were also-rans. teams like seattle and milwaukee were the top teams in the league. kobe didn't turn his franchise around, he was a piece in the puzzle. sure, magic played with kareem and bird had a host of future hall of famers but both players transformed the game as much as they transformed their teams. bird and magic are why the nba nearly became america's pastime. let's not forget magic playing all five positions during an nba finals. kobe choked last nite and is lucky some journeymen saved his @ss.

    at the end of the day, put all four in a gym in their prime and we'd see some good basketball, but mike would win, bird would shoot the lights out and magic would beat them at horse. kobe would learn a lesson.

  • In reply to muhammond:

    First time I've posted on this board ... but someone asked for MJ's lowest FG% in a Finals series ... So I thought I'd calculate it up ...

    '91 vs. Lakers: 55.8%
    '92 vs. Portland: 52.6%
    '93 vs. Phoenix: 50.8%
    '96 vs. Seattle: 41.5%
    '97 vs. Utah: 45.6%
    '98 vs. Utah: 42.7%

    By far, MJ's worst shooting performance in a finals game was Gm 6 vs. the Sonics ... he was 5 of 19 (26.3%), but the Bulls still won that game as I'm sure you recall. And Jordan's percentage of 41.5 just beats out Kobe's 40.5% vs. the Celtics.

    I'm a huge Bulls fan ... and Jordan fan. There's no comparison in my mind that Jordan is considerably better than Kobe. But sometimes I think we have to remember that even Jordan had his off nights.

    Btw, there are some incredibly striking similarities between that Bulls vs. Sonics game, and the game the Lakers won last night vs. the Celtics.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    except for the biggest one of all, the Bulls won is 6, the Lakers had to take it to 7.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That's your idea of a difference between the two?
    Don't be silly.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    I'm talking about the 2 series, not the 2 players.

    Read the last line of the post.

    The difference between winning in 6 and winning in 7 is actually huge.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Shaq dominated the league 3 yrs straight and if Kobe didn't ruin it, it would have been 5 yrs probably. Kobe ruined teams! Magic and Bird are way better. Yes they both had multiple hall of famers but they had to play each other, its relative. Pau Gasol is the 2nd best center in the league right now. That is huge, doesn't matter if he is playing without another HOFamer. Artest is the best defender, Odom probably the best 6th man. Kobe has 1 NBA Finals MVP, I agree with Skip Bayless, can we really say Kobe was the MVP, he folded down the stretch in all of the close games he's ever played in. There is NO KILLER INSTINCT, name 1 example of Kobe taking over in a huge spot. NAME 1. Kobe is about 10 with Hakeem, and The Dream came up huge multiple times. KOBE is just not a CLUTCH PLAYER and never will be.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Doug, I'm glad you mentioned your age. I don't mean that as a sleight, either. I just mean I can understand you putting Kobe before Magic because you can only go by what you've seen. That's why so many 20-somethings are so eager to rank Kobe with or above MJ. They just didn't see MJ in his prime. I agree with your list with only 2 differences: I'd swap Magic and Duncan. Magic did have the luxury of playing with some great players, but he could elevate his game above all of them when he had to. But because he was the consummate point guard, he made it a point to elevate them first.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    One more reason the MJ vs. Kobe should not exist: MJ in his prime and even slightly past his prime separated himself from all comparisons to his contemporaries as well as players just before his generation. People are still arguing Kobe vs. LeBron. Before LeBron, it was Kobe vs. Duncan. Before that Kobe was "2" in the 1-2 punch of he and Shaq. Jordan squashed all comparisons through unparalleled individual dominance on both sides of the ball and team success.

    MJ led the NBA ppg 10 times, led the NBA in total points 11 times (only Bird and Bernard King were ahead of him in ppg in MJ's rookie year but they played fewer games) while shooting at 50%. He was top 5 in steals several times and won a defensive player of the year award. I don't think any player before or since MJ has won a scoring title and NBA title in the same season. MJ did it 6 times as the unquestioned leader of his team.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    bullsman24, you wrong about Bird.

    Magic and MJ both openly admit he one of the best players of all time.

    You need to move him up on your list, my man.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Great post guys...Kobe is not on MJ's level. Dont forget that you could hand check back in the day. MJ drew a lot of fouls but if you sneeze on Kobe....the NBA makes that a personal foul now.

    Shaq led the Lakers for the 1st 3 titles...Kobe was the sidekick. Many of us tend to forget how freakin good Shaq was. He demanded a double team for about 8-9 years straight. He was either getting fouled or scoring when he got the ball downlow. Plus Shaq is a top 10 player of all time. Pippen isnt.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Kobe ranks 7-9 imo until he can get another 1

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Your cold blooded killer comment only fits two people that played in the NBA, thats Bird and Jordan, Doug I'm not any older than you but I earned alot of respect for Bird when I watched some of his classic games on ESPN and it was amazing, Bird was a heavy smack talker and he would tell people where he was shooting from and dare them to stop them, no one ever did. To me Kobe is in the top ten and maybe top five, but my ranking is Jordan, Bird, Duncan, Magic, Hakeem. My problem with Kobe is he only wins with good teams, yeah the same could be said with Bird or Magic, but they were the main stars on thier team, they carried the team, Kobe needed Artest this year, if Artest wasnt there Boston would be celebrating another championship.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    +2 good post....I still think the MVp should of been Gasol. Kobes best games were the ones he lost! Because those were the games he took 25+ shots. When he got his teammates involved...thats when the Lakers were really good. Gasol improved his stats by like 6-7 points from 08 , plus he rebounded much better in the 10' finals. If anybody put them over the top it was Gasol.

    Hakeem the Dream would still dominant in todays game. We all talk about how Dwight is the best big and all this stuff...but the guy doesnt have a lick of offensive skill imo. Ewing, Zo, Hakeem, Shaq all would make Dwight look bad.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Kobe's Lakers have a good shot at another title next year. With all the free agent movement, there probably might not be good chemistry on any other team except Boston(that is if everyone comes back healthy and they pull off some great MLE such as for Raja Bell).

    Anyhow, eventually I hope for all the greatness of MJ/Kobe, LeBron will be the greatest ever..He is 25, has multiple skills compared to MJ/Kobe,..can get a statue next to MJ...

  • Doug, I knew this article was coming when I responded to your post on realgm. I'm one of the Chicagoans easily drawn into this argument. It's a hot button topic for me and beyond ridiculous as even a topic of discussion. For me, I would put him in top 10 all-time, but perhaps not in the top 5.

    Out of the players from the last 30 yrs, however, I would put him fourth behind Jordan, Magic, Kareem and Duncan. He's a great scorer and defender but I don't see him winning any games / series where his team has a disadvantage and is supposed to lose. To me, that's the difference. I think he's a great player but he gives me too many reasons to say "BUT ..."

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    ... sorry, fifth.

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    Magic is a tough one. If you dropped Kobe and put Magic in his place, I still see the Lakers winning all 5 of those titles. I still have Magic ahead of Kobe. Kobe and his killer instinct will have to win another title before I and many others put him ahead of Magic. It will be the same for Lebron if he wins 6 titles. To be the man you have to beat the man. Ties are for losers..... or World Cup

  • Kobe gets over Magic due to style? Magic's style created the term "no look pass." Magic's style created "The Showtime" Lakers. Magic could play every position and has the "sky hook" in the playoffs as a defining shot. All of the defining shots in the playoffs for recent Laker history were made by Horry or Fischer. I don't bring up MJ because I don't see Kobe even as the greatest Laker of all time.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    Correction: The "Sky Hook" was a trademark of Kareem. Already 7' 2", blocking Kareem's Sky Hook was virtually impossible. Magic, in imitating Kareem, termed his use of it the "Baby Hook".

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    You're right. Baby hook is correct. I'm 32, so I'm in Doug's boat with not seeing enough Magic, Kareem, and Bird. Doug you proved your point. Kobe can't compare to MJ. We're a Bulls forum and you have people fighting and getting up in arms for Magic, Kareem, Shaq, and Duncan. He's got a long way to go.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    I think that anybody would take Kobe over Duncan. I would take Hakeem over Duncan. I would take Bird over Duncan, in fact I think that I would take everybody Doug discussed over Duncan.

    Duncan is a nice player, but not a game changing one.

  • This Jordan vs Kobe argument is very ridiculous, I mean Kobe is a phenomenal Basket ball player and he deserves to be mentioned with some of the greats in the game. But people need to realize this one thing, if it wasn't for Jordan and the way he dominated the league since he was a rookie, Kobe would not be who he is today and on top of that it took Kobe a couple of years to even get his game up to par with the NBA. Jordan came into the league pretty much embarrassing other all star players to the point that they wanted to freeze Jordan out in the 1985 all star game. The era that Jordan played in was a much physical type of play and the players back then had to earn their way to being great and players really did not like each other as they do now with all of the hugging and trying to get together to win championships. I don't know, to me its just not a argument cause these people that are 25 or younger either was not around or they were too young to know the type of basketball that was being played back then and they are the ones that are making this argument. I guess I would think Kobe is the greatest if I were born in the late 80's. It just goes to show that this younger generation does not know the history of the league and they should really do some research on the NBA before they say things that they know nothing about. If Kobe is being called a cold blooded killer then Jordan was a cerebral assassin cause Jordan never quit on his team and Kobe a few times have done just that. THERE'S JUST NO ARGUMENT TO HAVE ON THIS SUBJECT. But a lot of people will never understand this. Kobe can win more rings than Jordan but he will never be better than Jordan as an over all talent... PERIOD.

  • I don't know about Shaq above Kobe...I understand that Shaq was a force in his prime and could do things that very few big men could do...but, his Achilles heel of free throw shooting made him too unreliable in one very important aspect of the game, which in effect, neutralized his contributions down the stretch of games. In my opinion, you cannot place a guy in the top 10 who cannot master one of the most fundamental aspects of playing the game.

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    I agree with your statement.

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    Where's our stat masters out there? What's the lowest FG% MJ ever shot in a finals series? I'm guessing not 43%. Some posted somehwere to day that Kobe showed up small in the biggest game of his life last night, not very MJ. That summed it up for me. Sure he killed it with free thrown at the end but...was Kobe really the MVP of this series. I'd like to take a hard look at Gasol's stats vs. Kobe's. I think maybe Kobe got it cuz they had to give it to him or he woulda snapped...Gasol would say its OK I'ma team player :-)

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    The problem I have with any Kobe debate is the fact that everyone only looks at the most recent moment. Just a few years ago, Kobe couldn't get out the first round. Everybody was hating on him. Now his team goes Grand Theft Auto and steals Gasol and he is the greatest of all time. I hope Lebron is taking notes. The moral of the story is everybody loves a winner.

  • In reply to Dionysus:

    Wilt is certainly top 10, in fact if I had to pick someone to be #1 other than Jordan, Wilt is my man.

    Wilt struglled to shoot 50% from the line his entire career. But he did manage to average 50ppg game for an entire season, so your reasoning is weak at best, even as applied to Shaq.

    Shaq was probably the Wilt of his generation, but not as talented.

  • The discussions just create a buzz and give the analysts something to talk about. I have a hard time believing any of them actually believe Kobe is actually close to MJ in greatness. Michael would not have laid a 25% shooting dud in a Game 7. Anyway I agree with your top 4...5-7 I would put Magic, Kobe, Bird.

  • If the regular season stats were that important, then Lebron would never leave Cleveland. Shaq was a liability at the end of games. He was very dependant on good closers to clinch playoff games. More dependent than anyone on your list. When he didn't gave clutch players like Wade, Kobe, Horry, and Fischer; he didn't win titles. All the other players on your list were the most important player on the court for a full 48 minutes. Not just the first 45.

  • I definitely think Magic would have won this Finals with Kobe's supporting cast. Magic was so great because he set the pace of a game and controlled it throughout. He would have ran Boston out of the arena. How can you even compare Kobe to Magic. Magic jumped center in the last game of the finals when Kareem was injured in the Finals. That was Magic's rookie reason. Kobe was shooting air balls in the deciding game against Utah in the 98 playoffs as a rookie. Yes Kobe was 18, but Magic was only 20. Magic revolutionized the point guard position with his size, height, and great court vision. Magic set the tone for the Penny Hardaways, Jason Kidds, Grant Hills and Lebron James to have confidence in handling the rock as non traditional point guards. Sorry, but I think it is disgracing Magic and his legacy to say Kobe has passed him. I'm a huge Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan fan, but to see a historical figure like Magic be overlooked is just wrong. Magic may have had great teams with him, but he was always the leader from day one.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    Well put! You determine greatness by how future players are compared. You will hear MJ comparisons and Magic comparisons, but you're not going to hear anybody say a player is the next Kobe Bryant.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    Shaq is in the top 10...you had to automatically double the guy for 7-8 years straight...he was unstoppable in his prime. Plus his numbers are ridiculous.

    I think Kobe is around the 5-7 area. The 1st 3 titles...Shaq was the main man and Kobe was the sidekick. The last 2, he has been the main man with Gasol being the sidekick.

    But my arguement is how did Kobe get the MVP? His best games he played in the series were the games the lakers lost. Ya he was spectactular in a couple of the games...but thats because he shot the ball 25+ times. He was 6 for 25 last night with 1 or 2 assist lol With a a lot of bad decisions. Plus on the defensive end...he barely had to guard Rondo. He stayed 4 feet off of him at all times. IMO if anybody should get the MVP its Pau Gasol. Kobe had similair stats in 08' and the Lakers lost. Gasol made the big improvement by averaging like 6-7 more points plus he rebounded a lot better this year then in 08'. And Gasol didnt stink it up in game 7. The most crucial game.

  • Ummm, Magic went to 9 Finals in 12 years. That's Bill Russell-territory. Magic had talented teammates but he elevated them rather than vice-versa.

  • The main co-players what Kobe has/had are Pau Gasol and Shaq. Both are pretty good big offensive players whatever their faults are. Even though MJ had Pippen, Pippen was known more for defense than offense.
    The only pro-Kobe argument we can have is the players are more athletic/faster now. But, we also have the issue of teams with lot of players who have no experience(coming out early)and take a long time to learn the NBA game because they are not mentally mature.

  • I know this is about Kobe but I think you are underrating Duncan's cast. I would put Duncan's cast over this current Laker's cast... Gasol may be better than Ginobli or Parker but they were both all-star talents while the Spurs were winning titles while this Lakers team just has Gasol at that level. A sign of this is Parker won finals MVP and I think Ginobli is the better player for the career and even that season. So the 3rd best player won finals MVP that is unheard of and a testament to Duncan's cast.

    I think my order would be more like: Shaq, Kobe, Duncan

  • Look, we never saw Russell play. The guy had so many hall of famers to surround himself with and Red(yesteryear's Phil).But still, ten or so Championships? That's a lot of f-ing rings. Kareem, the guy won what Five rings, and you could not stop his skyhook like you could not stop Michael period.

    You talk about Jordan distancing himself from Kobe; what would Jordan's career have been like with no hand checking, and no Larry, Magic, Isiah, Hakeem? Kobe against that crippled, old Boston team with what 6-24 shooting?

    How many titles would Michael have won with Shaq or how many would Kobe have right now without playing with as Doug says one of the top five players of all time? Many feel Pippen is underrated, but is he anywhere near a top ten all time player? And yet Kobe had Shaq for three titles.

    Kobe lost to Detroit for god's sake, and who did they have? Michael never would have let that happen. Never. Kobe's lost two Finals, and had many more poor showings in several critical playoff and Finals games then Michael ever did.

    To me Kareem for a time with the skyhook, Larry for a short time, Magic for a time were all in a peak as Simmons says, and at that time they were as good as anyone. Except Michael. Michael at his peak and well after in the playoffs/clutch playoffs/critical games was the best player by a wide margin.

    There's a reason they put Babe Ruth, Muhammed Ali, and Michael Jordan's name in the same trifecta. Some day perhaps there will be a better winner in the game of basketball though in a different manner/style of yet we do not know(that could have been Shaq possibly if he wanted it bad enough). But there will never, ever be another Micahel Jordn. "Jordan, a shot on Ehlo... YESSSSSSSSS!"

    End of discussion.(IMO)

  • Sorry Doug no disrespect, I didnt mean you were being disrespectful comparing Kobe to Magic, but the media is quick to acknowledge Kobe being absolutely better than Magic. They're quick to make that judgement after these Finals. You didnt hear even whispers when the Celtics drilled them by 39 in the deciding game in 2008. If you watch the 1991 Finals, you can see even that Laker team should have never advanced past the Blazers to meet the Bulls. They had an older and injured squad but still managed to advance all the way to the Finals. Sorry again Doug, Why would I get mad at you? Your a passionate die hard Bulls fan.

  • Kobe got it easy! Jordan era was way more challenging and more memorable. MJ23>KB24

  • Media is making Kobe look better then what he really is. He is a great player...dont get me wrong. But he had Shaq in his prime...who is easily the most dominant force we have seen until LeBron James. Theres a reason why Shaq won i believe all 3 of those MVP trophies. Because he led them there. Kobe was good but all you had to do it get the ball down to Shaq and he would make your team foul out, or he would score. You couldnt stop the guy.

  • Let's talk about Lebron again...he's growing fond of the Knicks again and Jordan's legacy may be scaring him.


  • In reply to Dileg:

    Glad to get back to a more interesting topic.

    I saw this report too; I really hope it is BS (which would be par for the course with Stephen A Smith). Again, what is the appeal of the Knicks FROM A BASKETBALL PERSPECTIVE? You can sign with Bosh. Fine. Then what? Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Duhon? Coached by Mike "No Defense" D'Antoni? Please.

    It's pretty simple. If LeBron chooses the Knicks, he deserves all the hate and criticism he will surely receive when that sorry team FAILS to win a championship. I love LeBron, but he will doom himself to being laughed at along with losers like Ewing, Malone, etc. Meanwhile, Kobe (despite being an inferior talent, yes an inferior TALENT) will reign over him forever.

    Like many have said, this free-agency we find out what LeBron is all about. If he is about winning the Knicks are NOT the team. Hell no.

    On the "LeBron is too afraid of the Jordan legacy to play in Chicago" tired old argument: THIS DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS ANOTHER ARTICLE ALSO FROM REALGM.COM FROM 2 WEEKS AGO!

    "A source tells Chad Ford of ESPN that contrary to the speculation of some, LeBron James does not view Michael Jordan's legacy as a negative in his decision on whether or not to join the Bulls.

    "That's not how LeBron sees it, according to a source familiar with his thinking," wrote Ford. "Rather than a deterrent, LeBron seems to see Jordan's imprint on the Bulls as an enticement -- not as a legacy to fear but as one to consider joining."


    It's pretty sad that the "fear of MJ's shadow" is the only argument Knicks fans can muster against LeBron going to the Bulls. And the fact that Stephen A is using it makes him even less credible, frankly.

  • In reply to ace991:

    That's because Stephen A. is from NY as well and they are starving for someone to come and save basketball in NY. I want Lebron to sign with the Bulls as well but we should not be surprised if he does sign with NY thinking he can save basketball in that city. Lebron I am sure knows what he is going to do and who knows what kind of plan he has to try and save basketball in NY. He has been too much of a fan of the city of NY for too long. If he does sign with them he will be a side show and he deserves every failure that comes his way cause signing with NY will not be just a basketball decision. This is what the NBA has come to tho.

  • In reply to ace991:

    Not sure where to place this comment because it's been discussed in several places in the thread earlier today, so I'll place it here. Yes, it is fair to have a conversation about Kobe & Magic, but I think Doug is greatly underestimating the greatness of Magic. Magic was a winner, a champion. His elevation of teammates went beyond just neat passes and stats. He was an ultimate captain and leader. A champ. As Jioha says, 9 finals in 12 years . . with an abbreviated career . . . and a five-time champ when an all-time great Celtics stood in his way. And talking about talent surrounding him, where was Kobe without Shaq and before Gasol . . . not in the finals.

  • In reply to ace991:

    Stephen A. Smith is a moron. He does not have any sources. Who cares if he's "asking questions." It doesn't mean he's going to NY. Wasn't he fired from ESPN? Also, I distinctly remember him saying the Bulls were idiots for taking Noah over Spencer Hawes. Enough said.

  • In reply to Dileg:

    Ya really...i read that article too...LeBron would embrace playing in Chicago. I tell you what...if the Bulls can sign LeBron plus maybe make a trade for Troy Murphy...(of course i want Bosh,Amare etc..i just think Murphy might be the easiest to get) But if the Bulls can get Lebron and Murphy...id say we will be in the finals next year against Kobe.

    Matt Barnes/Hinrich/Korver/Reddick/ Draft pick!? (Get a SG)
    Troy Murphy

    Gasol or Bynum would have to guard Murphy and thats not a easy thing to do. You saw what Sheed did last night...Laker bigs had to respect his shot. You have to guard Murphy out to the 3 point line. And since the lane will be open, you have to worry about LeBron and Rose going off. Thats a scary team.

  • In reply to Dileg:

    Also the Pacers are bringing in Daniel ORton for a 2nd workout...Daniel Orton is a guy that you can land in the later part of the 1st round. Bulls might look into a trade of Hinrich, Taj, 17th pick for Murphy and the 10th. Or maybe replace Deng with Hinrich in that deal and take out Taj.

    Then you might have something like this....

    Rose, Hinrich
    Paul George or Xavier Henry, Hinrich
    Bron, James Johnson
    Murph, Warrick
    Noah, Brad Miller, Asik

  • In reply to Dileg:

    ***Taj instead of Warrick my bad****

  • In reply to Dileg:

    Doug, you are amazing.

  • In reply to Dileg:


    FYI, the Tom Thibodeau Press Conference will take place on Wednesday morning.

  • In reply to Dileg:


    Here's the link to the story.


  • In reply to Dileg:

    THIS IS A LBJ FREE-DAY. Shame on you...haha.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    It's addicting. I can't help it

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Doug I agree with you list.

    Forget MJ v. Kobe. We are all biased and to me, its not even up for debate.

    What does still seem to be up for debate is Kobe V. Lebron.

    Just so we are clear, the best player in the NBA is and has been Kobe.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Maybe...Kobe is still in a better position than Kobe. Kobe has the best coach ever to coach in the NBA. He also has an all-star, and I think a future HOF, in Gasol. Kobe is also apart of an organization that knows a little bit about winning. Lebron has a horrible coach. He had "all-star" (that term used VERY loosely) in Jamison for half a season. Also he had Shaq's corpse. Cleveland organization knows nothing about winning, or they would have been assembling a team around Lebron after he made it to the Finals in '07 with scrubs!

    The career stat line for Lebron is better than kobe's except for FT% and Kobe has a better outside shot. I don't buy that Kobe is better than Lebron now b/c Kobe's situation is much better. Transplant Kobe and Lebron and Lakers still win last year and this year.

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    I agree. LeBron's teams declined in the postseason after going to the finals as he got better. That shows how Cleveland messed up. The biggest advantage Lakers had was length(Odom,Gasol,Bynum) with talent plus a big SG(Kobe). LeBron never had a chance on match-ups except for himself...So it is not a fair comparison plus Kobe has been in the league for a longer time. When all is said and done...I feel LeBron will be better than Kobe in legacy

  • In reply to mdot1986:

    One quick note on Hakeem,

    He took on Shaq and Patrick Ewing in the Finals and came away a winner both times.

    That guy was never the biggest but taht 10-12 foot jumper was automatic.

    Man he was great.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Match Lebron with D Howard and have Popavich coach the team...they would win 3 in a row as well.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    awwwwwww man you are discounting hakeem olajuwon SOOOOO much. IMO, he's the greatest center of all time. he was the most dominant center on the offensive end in his day and was the most dominant PLAYER on the defensive end perhaps in league history. plus he's better than timmy d but you have timmy ahead of kobe. maybe it's also important to consider the teams that the spurs had to beat to win their championships were mediocre at best. hakeem played in the golden age against the toughest competition.

    kobe is definitely better than bird. bird IMO is one of the most overrated players in league history. i'm not trying to be racist but if larry was white, he would have been on the level of maybe moses malone or something. a very good player, probably a HOF, but not top ten EVER. but since he was white, he was LARRY LEGEND. well i could win a championship with the team he had around him too.

    last of all, magic is greater than kobe. think about it. magic had multiple all star teammates. well CP3 made david west into an all star and tyson chandler into an offensive threat! perhaps it's the work of the point guard that made his teammates all stars...

    i got

    1. jordan
    2. magic
    3. hakeem
    4. kareem
    5. shaq
    6. timmy
    7. kobe
    8. bird

    and i think lebron will rise up to #2 if he can win some championships. so go to chicago.

  • And I feel the same way about Parker and Ginobli being able to win a series. They both had great teams around them otherwise they couldn't have won multiple titles but I just think the ability of Parker and Ginobli to take over a game with scoring is unmatched by any of those Lakers.

    But on another note that earlier list didn't include those other guys like Kareem because I never saw them play but I will say this on before my day players (something which you probably agree with):

    I can't take anymore Bill Russell is a top 5 player nonsense I hear every year around the finals. To me he's barely a top 5 player from his generation. At least 4 players were better than him that he played against him Wilt (by lightyears), Baylor, West, and Big O (by a mile). And I don't have to watch the film or have been alive when they played to know that.

  • I am quite a bit older than you Doug, I was a kid during the Motta years of the early 70's. I saw the entirety of Magic's, Bird's, Jordan's and even Kareem's career.

    Kareem is crazy underated because everybody forgets his first few years as Lew Alcindor. He was totally untstopable. The only guy who could give him a challenge was Chamberlain, who was in his last years.

    By the time Magic joined Kareem, he was already essentially past his prime.

    Magic was a vastly underated go to scorer, because he didn't need to be, and didn't want to be. Watching him, I always got the feeling that he could score as much as he wanted whenever he wanted if he needed to or wanted to. Don't forget he scored 42 in game six of the finals as a rookie with Kareem out to win the NBA title. Not sure any rookie has ever scored that many points in the finals, or playoffs for that matter. Magic probably wins more for you(than Kobe) because of the kind of teammate that he was. This one is a toss up, but then you just take Jordan and Magic as your backcourt, or maybe the Big O.

    Bird did more of everything and anything to win and was a much better teammate than Kobe, but you probably have to go with Kobe.

    As for Jordan v Kobe, you are absolutely right, Jordan wins(dominates) every statistical comparison.
    ON MIke& MIke this morning, they compared just finals stats, Mike destroyed kobe in every one, even 3 point shooting which everyone always says that Kobe is undeniably better at.

    Jordan shot over 50% for his Bulls career, Kobe's best single year is barely 47%, and Kobe is the better shooter. Jordan is second in career steals, and won defensive player of the year, and Kobe is the better defender.

    Kobe is by far the closest thing there has ever been to Jordan, he cloned himself to be like Mike, but he is just not and never will be as good as the original, even when he gets title 6, or if he gets to 7(pray for the lockout in 2011-12),

  • Magic would have destroyed this Celtics team, especially this years version.

    Look at the stats of the so called big 3 in the just completed series. All of them performed as if they had already retired. Garnett was nearly a ghost the entire series, Allen basically missed every shot that he took besides those in game 2. Pierce was mediocre at best, and played maybe one good game.

    How good is the team that beat them, when the best 3 players basically sucked for 6 out of the 7 games each and you barely beat them in 7 games. Statistically I have no ides how the Celtics won 3 games.

  • Well, he was/is statistically the second greatest rebounder ever(after Wilt)and everyone agrees that if they kept blocked shots stats he would be #1(just ahead of Wilt).

    I would say that Russel would be Magic as Kobe(or Michael) would be to Wilt.

    I would take Wilt over Russell if I was chosing sides. But I will never understand how some if not most of those Boston teams beat those Lakers teams. That was before my time.

  • Another point that never gets mentioned is that Kobe got a 3 year headstart(while Mike was in college) on Michael. Michael missed his entire second season(broken foot), and then he missed 2 more years (first retirement).

    So from this point forward, Kobe has 6 more NBA years at any given age than Michael had. And he basically spent those 6 extra years with Shaq in his prime.

    If MIke had joined a team with shaq in his prime he might have won six more rings in six seasons.

    In fact I think that Kobe just finished his 14th season, whereas Jordan only played 13 for the Bulls, and 2 of those were partial seasons due to injury and retirement.

  • Magic raised the level of his team. Kareem was on the downside of his career. Worthy may be the most over-rated HOF of all time. Not to mention you are totally over looking the first three titles for Kobe, when he had Shaq in his prime. I can't justify putting Kobe above Magic.

  • One year, Wilt said he would lead the league in assist, went out and did just that...double team or no, how can you average over 20 rpg? Wilt dominated more than Shaq ever could. True, the playoffs were his Achilles heel (then again, it was the Celtics who had a totally stacked squad against him most times).

  • and not one of them could touch Pippen. as a matter of fact, I'd take Rodman over any of them. the point is that Jordan's "supporting cast" during the second three peat were light years ahead of Kobe's cast during these last two finals.

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