Phil Jackson compares Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan

Feb 25, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times states that he had tried everything to get Phil Jackson to compare Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Turns out, all he had to do was wait.

Jackson fervently described his thoughts on the two in his new book: “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.” The book will be available Tuesday and the excerpts provided below were obtained in advance by the LA Times.

Charisma

Michael Jordan: “Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around,”

Kobe Bryant: “Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.”

Defense

MJ: “No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender. He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense.”

KB: “Kobe has learned a lot from studying Michael’s tricks, and we often used him as our secret weapon on defense when we needed to turn the direction of a game. In general, Kobe tends to rely more heavily on his flexibility and craftiness, but he takes a lot of gambles on defense and sometimes pays the price.”

Offense

MJ: “Michael was more likely to break through his attackers with power and strength, while Kobe often tries to finesse his way through mass pileups,” Jackson wrote. “Michael was stronger, with bigger shoulders and a sturdier frame. He also had large hands that allowed him to control the ball better and make subtle fakes.

KB: “Jordan was also more naturally inclined to let the game come to him and not overplay his hand, whereas Kobe tends to force the action, especially when the game isn’t going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns. Michael, on the other hand, would shift his attention to defense or passing or setting screens to help the team win the game.”

For better or worse it seems clear that Jackson has chosen his man, should he have intended to or not. It will carry great weight in a debate that has waged for some time now; Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan.

If a championship were to hang in the balance, who would you want taking that final shot?

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Topics: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Playoffs

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  • GK

    Offensively Kobe. More skilled, better footwork, better shooter, more tricky I guess. MJ was stronger but Kobe is more skilled. Defensively Jordan but Kobe can play very tough lockdown defense when he wants to.. Both are great

  • Fern Rea

    I dont think Phil, at least from those excerpts, really provided any insight that hasnt already been reported.

    His opinion of Kobe and MJ is pretty much the consensus.

    IMO:

    Kobe was the most skilled overall. Better shooter, better playmaker, more range on his shot, better ball handler, better around the rim.

    MJ was the better defender, better scoring in traffic and finishing, more disciplined.

    Everything else between the 2 were pretty much a draw.

    If speaking in terms of “better career” or “higher ranking on the all time list” I would have to rank MJ over Kobe.

    MJ won more rings, was the best player in the league at that time, was the unquestioned leader and biggest producer of those championship teams.

    • http://twitter.com/danielnicks8 Daniel Nicks

      True, but it’s the first time it’s coming out in one place though. There could be loads more in his book as well. These are just the excerpts reported by the LA Times.

      I think I’ll actually be purchasing the book. So I’ll probably do a follow up article.

      I agree that Jordan had the better career, but I feel it’s closer than Phil made it seem though. Bryant may not have the the individual accolades of Jordan, but he was just as skilled – in his own right.

  • Pingback: Kobe Bryant replies to Phil Jackson's MJ comparison on twitter