With all due respect to Mychal Thompson, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and almost every Laker fan I come in contact with, Kobe Bryant is not better than Michael Jordan….
Granted, Kobe is a great player and on his way to cracking the Top-Five, but he still has a long way to go before he’s on Jordan’s level….
Here’s three reasons why MJ is better:
1) Jordan was much better defensively, taking on the opponent’s top scorer on most nights and usually shutting him down. He played hard on almost every possession and made life miserable for his opponent. Kobe, on the other hand, has always been overrated defensively and doesn’t play hard all the time. He’s always been a gambler; going for steals, drifting and attempting to get cheap baskets off of spectacular plays. I never saw MJ get lit up defensively the way Kobe does and, unlike Kobe, don’t remember opponents taking him off the dribble and blowing by him.
2) Michael was much stronger physically and it was almost impossible to take the ball from him. I think he’s pound-for-pound the strongest player in NBA history; which is why he was such a great defender and finisher.
3) When you look at their career field goal percentages, it’s obvious Jordan was better at getting to the basket and finishing; another tribute to his strength. Kobe has never shot 50% in a single season, while MJ was a career 50% shooter and shot over 50% six times. This shows Michael had better shot selection and finished around the basket better than anyone in NBA history.
As for those who say Kobe is a superior outside shooter, the stats don’t support it. Bryant is a career 34% shooter from three-point range, while Air Jordan’s career total was 33%….
I love Kobe and am a lifelong Laker fan, but he is not the player Jordan was….
Now, when Kobe gets his sixth championship, maybe I’ll say he was Michael’s equal. If he gets a seventh, maybe he’s the greatest player ever….
But he has a long way to go….
One last thing….
The hell with Kobe being the greatest player in history, he’s not even the greatest Laker. I have him third, behind Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar….
Magic has five championships, all with the Lakers, and Kareem has six, five with Los Angeles….
If Kobe wins his fifth as a Laker, then we can begin the conversation about him being the equal of Magic and Kareem. And when he wins his sixth, he officially becomes the best Laker ever to wear the uniform….
But hold on, people, he’s not there yet….
Woke up this morning, scanned the headlines and came across this gem on SportsbyBrooks:
“This morning venerable NBA writer Ailene Voisin of the SACRAMENTO BEE speculated that Kings Coach Paul Westphal’s recent punishment of Spencer Hawes was related to illness of Westphal’s wife. That is, that the stress of that situation was affecting Westphal’s judgement.
Voisin called Westphal’s punishment of Hawes “excessive” while noting:
And this from an unconventional thinker who considers right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh one of his friends?”
Reaction: Westphal is one of the genuinely nice people I’ve ever known and this is a cheap shot by Voisin. I don’t know exctly what went on between Paul and Hawes, but to bring his politics and friends into this is totally out of bounds and Voisin should be suspended by her newspaper….
Arnie Spanier, my old radio partner and long-time friend, worked in Phoenix years ago and invited then Suns’ coach Westphal to his wedding. Not only did Paul show up, he gave a nice toast and was friendly and cordial to everyone there….
This is the tyoe of person he is….
Yes, Westphal is a Conservative Republican, but what does that have to do with anything? I’ve known him for years and have as high an opinion of him as anyone I’ve ever dealt with in sports. He’s honest, sincere, a man of his word and doesn’t deserve to be disparaged just because Voisin disagrees with his politics and disapproves of his friends….
In her world, I guess being a Republican makes you “an unconventional thinker.”….
And so what if he’s a personal friend of Limbaugh? It’s none of Voisin’s business who Westphal associates with and she comes across as an uncaring, elitist blowhard….
Especially with Paul’s wife struggling with her health. Westphal has been shuttling back and forth between L.A. and Sacramento to help care for her and this must be the toughest thing he’s ever dealt with….
For Voisin to speculate that Westphal’s suspension of Hawes was a result of “the stress of his wife’s illness affecting Westphal’s judgement” is absurd and cruel….
And then she criticizes his politics and calls a friend of his names?….
Check that recommendation that she be suspended. She should be fired….
So why did Westphal suspend Hawes? It was probably because of his pathetic one-rebound performance in a loss to the Suns, followed by these post-game comments about Westphal’s substitution patterns:
“All year we’ve kind of been dealing with that,” he said. “When you think you have kind of gotten over that hump, it comes back up again. That’s the philosophy, so you’ve just got to deal with it. Everyone up and down the roster has had a taste of that, so everyone can relate. I think it’s kind of tough, the not-knowing part on a game-to-game basis, to get in that rhythm. But that’s the way it’s going and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.”
Reaction: I like Hawes as a player and think he has a bright future, but he’s soft and sometimes frustrates the Kings coaching staff by not playing hard. In the game against Phoenix, he got pushed around, didn’t play hard and got one rebound; which is totally unacceptable for a seven-footer….
Should he have been suspended for a game? It’s not for me to say, because I’m not in the locker room and don’t know what’s happened during the course of the season….
Maybe this has been going on for a while and Paul wanted to send a message to the young guy that he needs to toughen up and play harder….
Evidently Voisin has it all figured out, though. Westphal is a right-wing nut job who associates with a right-wing blowhard and has completely lost his mind because his wife is ill….
I know it won’t happen, but Voisin should be getting ripped nationally for this….