Blog Entry

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

Posted on: July 22, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:51 am
By Matt Moore

Kobe Bryant will forever be compared to Michael Jordan. From position to style to legacy, Bryant will never make it out of a discussion about his place in the league's history without a reference to the G.O.A.T. It's simply inescapable.

And Bryant being Bryant (or Kobe being Kobe), he'll always want to try and surpass Jordan, even if it's unlikely, given all factors. And as the Los Angeles Times reports, someone who knows Bryant very well says he's focused on topping M.J. on the scoring list.
When I asked the former Lakers coach last season which player Bryant wants to pass on the scoring list the most, Jackson replied without hesitation, "Michael Jordan." Bryant argued that wasn't true and continued touting his sole motivation entails trying to minimize the gap between Bill Russell's 11 NBA titles and his own five. Bryant isn't lying when he says that's his main motivation, but it's misleading to act indifferent about it when teammates, media and the general public know he's driven to be the best player ever.
via NBA lockout: How will work stoppage affect Kobe Bryant's scoring? -

The Times goes through exactly how many more points Bryant can reasonably expect to score in a variety of scenarios dependent on different outcomes of the lockout and the end of Kobe's career.

But more importantly, this anecdote provides a pretty clear illustration of the obsession that drives Bryant. It's not enough to be one of the best players of all time, it's not enough to have five championships, it's not enough to be mentioned in the same context as the greatest. Bryant wants to pass Jordan.

The problem is that in doing so, he only levees more comparisons he'll never live up to. Passing Jordan in points won't make him seem greater than Jordan, even beyond the fact that Bryant played more seasons. Even winning a sixth ring won't. Jordan is too much an integral part of basketball fans' identity, too much of a cultural icon. 

But passing Jordan will continue to keep Bryant in the conversation and further the debate. And even being in the debate? That's proof of how unbelievable Bryant's career has been. 

Or, to put it in Laker fans terms, "Yo, Kobe rules!"


Since: Aug 23, 2011
Posted on: September 7, 2011 6:48 am

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

@ Lkrzfan Jordan won Defensive Player of the Year in 88 along with a leauge MVP only Hakeem the Dream has done that Jordan also has led the leauge in steals over 3 times and has led the leauge in blocks as a guard over three times and is tied with only gary payton to be on the NBA All Defensive first team 9 times in a row and Kobe hasnt acomplished half of that so yes Jordan is a better defender.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:42 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

Defender???  Jordan, a better defender???

What planet do you live on?

On ALL of the other items you list, of course, and no doubt that Jordan is the best ever. . .but a better defender?  You are in error on that point my friend.

One other item: as much of a ball hog as Jordan was (and as Kobe can be), Jordan never even got close to 81, even in the games when he didn't need to score over 60 when his teammates were just feeding him the ball. So...

But no argument here, Jordan is numero uno.        

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: July 23, 2011 12:23 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

I dont know why this conversation even exists. Jordan is hands down better. The numbers, rings, accodales, the respect around the league doesn't lie. Jordan during his entire career with the bulls was a dominant player, can you say the same about Kobe with the Lakers. Jordan was the best player on 6 championship teams, Kobe was the best on two of those teams. There is no aspect of basketball that you can say Kobe Bryant is superior to Jordan in. Jordan is the better shooter, penetrator, defender, passer, rebounder, winner, and even beats Kobe in the ego category. This is shouldn't not be in this conversation. Comparing older Jordan to older Kobe is hilarious to. Jordan would never have let his team get beat by a team like this year's Mavs, much less embarassed(No disrespect to the Mavs, who are a great championship team). Lets be real when the originator of another players playing style and the player cant outperform you, then he isn't in the conversation with that player. That is the conversation when you talk about Kobe and Jordan.

P.S This is coming from a player is not a fan of Jordan by any means. Knicks all day. -_-

Since: Jun 27, 2011
Posted on: July 23, 2011 1:17 am

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

kobe had 81. end of story.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: July 23, 2011 1:14 am

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

Hey dblockhead,

Some great thoughts man but I need your keen insight on a fact finding mission I'm on:

Shaq is truly amazing - so HOW many rings did he have before joining the Lakers and KOBE BRYANT???  Was it 3 rings?  5 rings? 7?  Was it ONE?  No, not one??? Or is he going to use LeBoob's excuse?

You have a good day now.  Go back and milk the cows.

Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:16 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

That's as much of a loser's mentality as I've ever seen. 

He needs to give it up? Since when has wanting to become the best ever been a bad thing? And to say only 2 of the rings are truly his is as asinine a statement as I've ever heard. 


Since: Jul 22, 2011
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:44 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

Please put me on a team with Shaq during those times and he and I would have won a championship! Furthermore, had the heat won the championship and wade dominating it title is wades because he would have been the MVP and the one that people will remember for that title. Keep in mind the person who wins the MVP is the one that people always think of when they think of that championship. Consequently, this is why i say Kobe has only two rings in my eyes.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: July 22, 2011 8:06 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

Keep dreaming dude. The only people in that conversation are Jordan and Kobe.  No LeBron, No Magic, No Bird, No Dominique, No no-one.  And Jordan is the one and only.  The fact that Kobe is in the conversation has been amazing to watch in and of itself.  The other players - off the charts. . .but not even close. There is No One left for the conversation - we can only wait for the next basketball Messiah from the NCAA because he's not in the NBA today. We can only watch Kobe's stats and # of rings grow.

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:19 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

After seeing what Dallas did to the Lakers in the playoffs I'm shocked to see another Kobe/Jordan conversation.  Losing is one thing, but being swept in embarrassing fasion is another.  It doesn't matter what Kobe does from this point forward, he has had moments when he didn't elevate his team to greatness and Jordan never had those moments.  There can only be 1 "GOAT" and Kobe is no longer in that converstion.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:10 pm

Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan in scoring

I'm a huge Kobe/Laker fan but I'm also a basketball fan.  Kobe, as great as he is, will never be the GOAT.  That mantle rest squarely on the shoulders of Jordan.  Kobe may win more rings and he may even score more points but for those of us who remember Jordan's Bulls in the playoffs know there's was no doubt he carried that team single handed.  Pippen was a great role player but it was still Jordan's team.  What made him so dominant was everyone in the arena, the opposing team, and the world knew he was going to get the ball and there was nothing anybody could do to stop it.  When Jordan wanted to go to the paint and get to the free throw line then that's exactly what he did.  Plus he did that in an era where the hand checking and ticky tac fouls wasn't called.  A foul was a foul back then.  Kobe's game is different than MJs.  He's a jump shooter and has a deadly mid-range game.  But when it comes to championship time there's only 2 titles where he actually carried the Lakers.  The other 3 came off the back of Shaq. 

Here's an analogy.  If Kobe is to surpass MJ as the GOAT then the Lakers never would've lost to the Celtics back in the 09 Finals.  That was Kobe's team, although Bynum was injuried and Gasol was new.  It was his time to carry the team but he didn't.  Jordan had NOBODY on his squads and the only reason why we've even heard of people like Scott Williams, B.J. Armstrong, and Luc Longely is because they played with MJ.  Kobe had a future HOF and future 6 man of the year and they were trounced in Boston.  I'm not taking anything away from Boston (although I hate them religously) because they had a very good and highly motivated team; but I expected Kobe to take a strangle hold on that series and he really didn't.  He had some great games in that series but he needed help.  Jordan had no such help and won 6 titles. 

Kobe is great, but not the greatest.

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