So Phil Jackson has a new book coming out and of course the best way to hype it’s release was to leak some juicy stuff about the two best players he ever coached Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Jackson has long been reluctant to compare the two but he finally did and masterfully achieved his goal of creating a major buzz surrounding his book’s release. In Jackson’s book entitled “Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success” he wrote :
“One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael’s superior skills as a leader,” . “Though at times he could be hard on his teammates, Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he’d yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had.”
These comments set off a celebration of “Told You So’s” from Jordan worshippers all over the country , it was their long sought validation that Jordan was King, the greatest, some sort of basketball messiah and Kobe was not any of those things. My point is not that Phil is wrong about anything but Jordan worshippers (because that’s what they do worship) used Jackson’s words on every talk show or blog in the nation to prove that Jordan was God and Kobe was a wannabe fraud. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player ever, I do not dispute that. However Jordan worshippers get offended when people have the audacity to compare Kobe Bryant or anybody else as being in the same class as MJ. Sorry folks, it is okay to compare the two. Kobe is the best we have seen since MJ, where is the shame in that ? Jordan is still benefiting from the greatest ad campaign in the history of sports which has elevated him to mythical status. So much so, that even the best sports minds in the world have been sucked in. We all wanted to “Be Like Mike”, remember ? Even a young Kobe Bryant who it appears has imitated Jordan’s mannerisms etc. So what ? Can Kobe imitate Jordan’s game ? No he cannot. He either has it or he does not. Bryant is in this discussion based on his own talent, and nothing else, he is an all time great and that cannot be denied. Comparable to Jordan ? Hell to the yeah. Most folks simply do not want to accept that because there is this need to separate Jordan from every one else. So they try and discredit Kobe for playing with Shaq the most dominant center perhaps ever and further insist that had Jordan been on those Laker teams instead of Bryant then, Shaq would have been relegated to number two status on the team which in itself is laughable. The most dominant center of all time would not have dominated the ball despite being young, athletic and 7 foot 2 and 300 pounds because he would have to be the second option to 6ft 6″ Michael Jordan right ? Um….okay, after all he is Michael Jordan.
You want the truth ? This is the truth. The fact this is at all a discussion and that Phil found it necessary to compare the two can only serve to validate how great Kobe Bryant truly has been. Remember all the next Michael Jordan’s ? Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Harold Miner ? Okay just kidding with that one, but only Kobe has put together a resume that is at least comparable to his royal Airness and it’s okay.
This is a fact, the only current player whose career you could try and stack up against Jordan’s is Kobe Bryant, which is why Jordan worshippers vilify him at every turn. The Black Mamba may fall short in some categories when he is measured to Jordan, however he’s the only player who even remotely has a case. Again, I ask where is the shame in that ?