This past weekend, in Los Angeles, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford introduced Kobe Bryant as “this generation’s Michael Jordan.” While I’ve never really felt the need to put myself in the debate of who’s the best basketball player of all time, this quote made me jump into it with both feet.
Kobe Bryant is not this, nor any other generation’s Michael Jordan.
Jordan is Jordan. Period.
And before someone thinks, “well he’s just a LeBron James bandwagon fan,” let me give you some facts.
There are four players that come up when talking about the next M.J. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and of course, Michael himself. There are so many factors that go into this debate it’s hard to keep track. Each player has his strengths and weaknesses. This is what I would like to throw out there:
Why can’t they all just be awesome basketball players? Because ultimately, the guy I like has to be better than your’s. Right?
Well let’s go over some stats. Kobe Bryant is 6-6 and weighs 205 lbs., LeBron is 6-8 and weighs a staggering 250, Durant is 6-10 and weighs 240, and Jordan was 6-6 and weighed 220 when he played. So, if you base your arguement on this stat alone, Kobe is most like Jordan.
Another thing people like to throw in the faces of James’ fans are the number of championships. Well, let’s go over them. Durant has zero, LeBron has two, Kobe has five, and Michael Jordan has six. Jordan is tied for 12th all time. So who is first? Bill Russell with 11. Almost double of Michael Jordan. So, maybe he is one of the best players ever. The guy played 11 of his 13 seasons with no three pointer!
Points per game? Kobe has averaged 25.5, Durant is at 27.4, LeBron sits at 27.5, and Jordan is a step above with 30.1. So LeBron is the closest.
What do all these stats prove? Not a whole lot in my opinion. It just shows me that these guys are amazing basketball players. You know, someone who doesn’t get thrown into the mix because he wasn’t “cool” enough? Larry Bird. That guy had a shot sweeter than anyone that has ever played and if you try to deny that, you’re insane. He wasn’t very flashy and he didn’t have above the rim dunks, but he could shoot the lights out every night.
LeBron bought his championship? Might look that way, but did Michael do it on his own? No way. Ever heard of Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman? Those guys were awesome basketball players as well and were on either side of Michael during his shining moments.
So what I’m saying here is that Michael is Michael, Kobe is Kobe and LeBron is LeBron. They are all great basketball players. That’s all there is to it. They will all go down as some of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Why can’t we just leave it at that? Why do we have to compare everyone? I enjoyed watching what I can remember of M.J. playing, I had a Kobe Bryant poster when I was in middle school, and now I like watching LeBron take it to people. They’re all great and let’s just leave it at that.
Robert Stegbauer is a staff-reporter for the Times-Gazette and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at RStegbauer.