With the 2018 NBA playoffs coming to a close, one of the most contentious topics in basketball is whether Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan was the better player. Though they are both on polar opposite sides of this argument, it has not stopped retired players like Jerry West and Magic Johnson from voicing their opinions.
Kobe Bryant was “thirsty” like Michael Jordan, but his former Hall of Fame teammate refuses to consider him for the GOAT title. In fact, Kobe’s former teammate says he doesn’t even think about Kobe when thinking about who is the best player ever.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were two of the best basketball players of all time. They could virtually score the ball on command, and they both had killer instincts when the game was on the line.
Mitch Richmond, Bryant’s former Hall of Fame teammate, reportedly declined to place Kobe in the GOAT discussion alongside Michael Jordan, claiming that Mamba’s Jordan-like attributes weren’t enough to qualify him.
Michael Jordan was a role model for Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (left) and Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during a Lakers-Bulls game. | Vincent Laforet/AFP via Getty Images
It’s almost like witnessing Michael Jordan in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey when you watch Kobe Bryant’s NBA highlights. They played with the same zeal and intensity and had the same movements.
Bryant aspired to be like Michael Jordan so much that he would study his interviews on team aircraft.
On an episode of The Dan Patrick Show earlier this year, his former Lakers teammate Jon Barry remarked, “He wanted to be him more than anything in the world — and be better.” ” He came near, but it was all he cared about.”
While this may have caused Jordan to dislike or be fiercely competitive with the LA icon, the two stars actually became friendly.
According to ESPN, Jordan remarked during Kobe’s funeral service in 2020, “Perhaps it shocked many that Kobe and I were extremely good friends.” “However, we were quite close friends.”
Mamba’s resemblance to His Airness, on the other hand, did not instantly place him in the GOAT discussion.
Mitch Richmond still believes Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.
Mitch Richmond is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and since they were both stars in the 1990s, he had several opportunities to play against Michael Jordan throughout his NBA career.
During his last season in 2001-02, he did, however, play alongside Bryant. Richmond was no longer in his peak at the time, but he was a member of a Lakers team that won its third straight championship that year, with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
During an episode of T.O. and Hatch Getcha Popcorn Ready, Richmond remarked, “You knew he (Jordan) was going to come at you every night.” “Kobe had the same thing, and I believe all the great ones have, that passion for scoring.”
Despite the fact that Bryant was “hungry” like MJ, Richmond still considers MJ to be the GOAT.
“Of course (Jordan is),” he added, “I went up against him every night.” “… Kobe was, and he still is, at that level. There’s no doubt about that. Mike, on the other hand, transformed the game in a variety of ways, both on and off the court. Then, all of a sudden, players began doing sponsorships and earning money from sources other than basketball. He only opened the door to a plethora of possibilities.”
Both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had illustrious careers.
Most people would probably agree with Richmond’s assessment, but just because Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time doesn’t imply Kobe Bryant was a slacker.
Here’s a breakdown of their stats and achievements.
Michael Jordan (Mike):
- 14-time All-Star selection
- NBA six-time champion
- MVP of the NBA Finals six times
- MVP of the league five times
- ten-time NBA scoring champion
- Average of 30.1 lifetime points (No. 1 all-time)
- 32,292 points in his career (Fifth all-time)
- All-Star for the 18th time
- NBA champion five times
- MVP of the NBA Finals twice
- There is just one NBA MVP award.
- NBA scoring leader on two occasions
- Average of 25.0 lifetime points (13th all-time)
- a total of 33,643 lifetime points (Fourth all-time)
Again, it’s difficult to award one player an advantage over the other, but Bryant owes much of his success to Jordan. Michael Jackson paved the road for him, as he did for many other greats.
Whether you believe Kobe Bryant still deserves to be called the GOAT or not, Michael Jordan’s achievements came before.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Kobe Bryant Immediately Asked a New Teammate if He Was Ready to ‘Black Out’ When He Joined the Lakers: ‘You See Spots,’ says the narrator.
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