Q: Who would win in a one-on-one game, you or Kobe?
MJ: Kobe would win, because I’m older. But in my prime? Not even a contest. Let’s just say I have a better chance of stopping him than of him stopping me.
I’m fascinated with the Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant comparisons. It would be my ultimate fantasy matchup to watch MJ and Kobe go at it in their primes. I don’t know which player would win. I’ve long held that Kobe is the better scorer, but MJ was without a doubt the better defender.
Of course MJ is going to say he could beat Kobe. And I’m sure that Kobe feels he could beat Michael. Although he’ll never say so publicly.
But why should we listen to either player? Neither one will admit defeat or show weakness. It’s not in their character. The very thing that drives great players like Jordan and Bryant can also be to their detriment. They have enormous egos, are in love with their abilities, have unrattling confidence that they will succeed in any endeavor, and will take a backseat to no one.
Instead, I prefer to rely on the opinion of two men who have coached both players: Phil Jackson and Tex Winter.
Lakernoise by Roland Lazenby: “I tend to think how very much they’re alike,” said Tex Winter. “They both display tremendous reaction, quickness and jumping ability. Both have a good shooting touch. Some people say Kobe is a better shooter, but Michael really developed as a shooter as he went along. I don’t know if Kobe is a better shooter than Michael was at his best.”
I’ve read every one of Phil Jackson’s books. And Jackson has touched on the Kobe-Jordan comparison a few times. When Phil decides to call it quits, there will be a tell all book. I hope he devotes a chapter or two to this great debate.
Until then, I think it’s appropriate to end this blog with a few lines from an article Chris Ballard of CNNSI.com wrote: “[Kobe], no matter what he does, will never get the chance to play the one game he’d die for: Bryant versus Jordan, each in his prime. “‘There’d be blood on the floor by the end,’ says Tex Winter, who has coached them both.”
[First video HT: TrueHoop]