Michael Jordan -- Best NBA Player Ever
by Len Davis
Jordan. Jordan 3, Kobe 0. Case Closed.
Kobe is an all-time great, but nowhere near Jordan. There has been a bit of debate recently about Kobe Bryant’s all-time status among NBA players.
After winning his fourth NBA title (and first without Shaq) some in the media have said started the discussion as to where Kobe stands next to Jordan. This is just another example of the sports media being caught in the excitement of the moment. When it comes to the Black Mamba and His Airness, there is no comparison.
Let’s take a simple look at three measures, stats, winning, and intangibles.
First up, stats. Breaking down both Bryant’s and Jordan’s career stats reveals a clear advantage to Jordan. Bryant has current career averages of 25.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 4.7 apg while Jordan averaged 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 5.3 apg. This means that Jordan averaged a career aggregate of 6.8 (points + rebounds + assists) more per game than Kobe Bryant. Point Jordan.
If the ultimate measure of a player is winning, we have to turn to NBA titles. Jordan had 6, Kobe has 4. Granted, Kobe may get more but he would have to pass Jordan to be mentioned in the same break here. Why? Simple, once Jordan won, he never lost again. Jordan won three in a row, retired, came back and lost in less than half of a season, and then won three in a row again. Kobe lost twice in the Finals and missed the playoffs. Can you imagine one of Jordan’s teams missing the playoffs after that first championship? Ever? I think not. Point Jordan.
The most intangible measure of a player is how that player affected his team. Jordan improved the play of every team he played on markedly throughout his entire career. Bryant has only recently taken the role of a leader (how soon we forget the debacle from the past two years). I do not buy the argument that Kobe has turned some magical corner. The keys to the Lakers most recent championship were Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom. Would the Lakers have won without Kobe? Absolutely not. Did he play his best in the finals? No. Did he disappear in the fourth quarter several times only to be saved by the bigs? Yes. Did he make his teammates better? Sure, a little bit; however, Jordan forced his teammates to be better. Point Jordan. Jordan 3, Kobe 0.
Case Closed. Michael Jordan was the best NBA player ever.