Kobe ‘Bean’ Bryant will never be Michael Jeffrey Jordan and that is perfectly OK. Kobe just passed Jordan to become the third leading scorer in NBA history. Some people claim Kobe is now better than MJ, which isn’t true whatsoever, but it doesn’t need to be. Others claim Kobe is all-time great, but not MJ. Again, that’s OK.
There will always be comparisons from current generations of athletes to former generations of athletes, that’s inevitable. Arguably the two athletes compared to one another the most over the years are Kobe and Jordan. Kobe has always said he models his game after Jordan’s and why wouldn’t he? Michael Jordan is the best basketball player to ever play the game, so wanting to emulate someone of that stature isn’t a bad thing. In fact, imitating is the highest form of admiration. Kobe is the closest thing to MJ the NBA might ever see. Kobe is the second best two guard of all time and a top five or top ten player of all time, depending on who you ask.
Some will give Kobe credit for being great, however it is usually attached with “but he’s not Jordan.” Again, he can’t be Jordan nor does he need to be Jordan. He is Kobe Bryant. Sure his game models Jordan’s a large part, but that doesn’t make No. 24 No. 23. Kobe didn’t set out to be MJ, he set out to be better. After all, if you aren’t in any given profession that is your passion to be the best of the best, what’s the point of doing it?
A big topic of Kobe passing MJ on the scoring list is the fact that Kobe has played nearly 5,000 more minutes and has nearly triple the three pointers made that Jordan does. That’s just some people digging at the fact that Kobe passed MJ in points scored, but not in overall greatness. Jordan has more accolades than Kobe does, with the best one being 6-0 in the NBA Finals with each win resulting in a Finals MVP award. Kobe can’t compare to that, especially since the three peat the Lakers had saw Shaquille O’Neal winning all three Finals MVPs. People will contrast that by saying MJ had Pippen, well no disrespect to Pippen, but he’s no Shaq. Kobe went on to repeat with the Lakers again nearly a decade later, this time with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who together don’t compare to Shaq. Kobe got the Finals MVP both years.
The fact that at the age of 36 and after two major surgeries, Kobe is still making it at least a conversation, is simply astonishing. If you were to say Player X is the best ever and at age 36 and after two major surgeries later, Player Y will still make it a conversation of who’s better, you wouldn’t get many other people to agree with you. Kobe is doing just that. Even if he was able to win two more NBA championships – giving him 7 – and be the all-time leading scorer in the league, he still wouldn’t get the accolade of best ever. Kobe will likely retire with five championships as his Lakers won’t be competing for a title in the next two years.
Kobe Bean Bryant is not Michael Jeffrey Jordan and that is OK.