The Kobe Beef: The Annoying M.J. Debate

(We interrupt the regular scheduled programming — Smack on Shaq — to bring you this special program. Smack on Shaq is on hiatus while Shaq is grieving the death of his grandmother. Don’t worry — we’ll make up for lost time soon. Very soon.)

I read a little bit of this piece and then just stopped. No offense to Neil Payne — who obviously knows his hoops and writes well — but outside of the Kobe Hater Club nobody wants to read that kind of stuff any more. It’s been done ad freakin’ naseam That being said…

Stop fucking comparing Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan!

Why are people still trying to force feed this conversation down our throats? Who’s making an argument for Kobe being better than Jordan? Not Kobe. Not us Lakers fans. Not Phil Jackson. Not those who cover the Lakers. So, leave it alone.

We get it. Both guys are 6-foot-6. Both guys have the killer instinct of a comicbook villain. Both guys are redunkulously famous. Both guys can fly…and shoot…and lockdown basically anybody in the league, or at least Mike coule during his heydey. We get that their are parallels between these two guys. We really do. But what’s up with obsessively comparing Kobe to M.J. How come LeBron James doesn’t get this treatment?

You know why? Because the M.J. argument is the only way the haters can bring Kobe down. They talk about Kobe being an inferrior player to Air Jordan — and right now both the stats and the rings back that up — so they don’t have to talk about KB24 currently being the best player in the world.

Do we compare every writer to Bill Shakespeare? Every actor to Marlon Brando? Every scientist to Steven Hawking? Every hockey player to Wayne Gretsky? Every hottie to Angelina Jolie? Every idiot to Plaxico Burress? No? So why do we insist on comparing Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan, the best hooper — maybe best athlete, actually — of all time. Again, it’s because a lot of people don’t want to give Kobe proper props. They don’t want to crown the new king, so they hold on to the old one. There’s nothing wrong with being the second-best shooting guard ever to step on the hardwood, and that’s exactly what Kobe is. Laker Nation has accepted that — now it’s time for everybody else to.

So knock this Kobe-M.J. comparison B.S. off. If you want to compare the Black Mamba to someone, then compare him to his contemporaries — ahem, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James — and not the one player over the course of basketball who’s undeniably better than him.

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