Insanity Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
This is a touchy subject so I am going to start off by saying this is my opinion. This post will defend my stance on why I have this opinion. If you don’t like it, fine, I can only ask you try understanding my side of things .Only read this post if you can understand the value of statistics and understand you can not argue numbers. Numbers are numbers. Also only read if you intend on finishing this entire post because there is evidence here from begging to end.
Kobe Bryant without question is the closest player we have gotten to see in the league to the greatness that is Michael Jordan. That said it is important to remember just because he is the closest, it doesn’t make him close in the literal sense. It just means no other player has come that far to reach his comparisons. (Era since Jordan of course) Many people tend to forget this.
The first point I want to bring up is time. Kobe came out of high school and Jordan came out of college. Right off the bat Kobe has more time in the league, meaning more opportunities to compete for championships. More chances equals greater odds, its a fact. Whether or not Kobe came off the bench his first 3 years he was still a member of a competing team. Jordan retired after his first three peat came back, won another three and again retired only to come back for one more stint on the Wizards. There are 2 breaks in time in Jordan’s resume.
Including this season Kobe has played for 16 seasons. Jordan has played 15 (if you want to include those 2 seasons on the Wizards, I’ll include it to make the argument even stronger). Many people are comparing Kobe for the simple fact that he is approaching Jordan on the all time scoring list and only needs one more ring to tie Jordan’s 6. I’m sure you see where I am going with this. Why is it that Kobe is comparable when it took Kobe so much time to even come close to Jordan, not even surpass. Jordan’s points are still higher by around 4,000 points. So if you were to predict when Kobe would reach that mark based off of his trend he would need at least another season after this one totaling 17 seasons. 17 seasons to pass a mark Jordan set in 15. Fact.
This same approach can be talked about with championships. Jordan had fewer opportunities/seasons than Kobe to compete for championships. This isn’t an opinion, its a fact that by Kobe playing more seasons he has more chances to win a ring. This makes Jordan way more efficient AND he still has one more ring than Kobe. It is for this reason that I feel for Kobe to even be put into a discussion of being greater than MJ, he not only needs a 6th ring but a 7th or 8th in order to make up for that extra time he has gotten to be in the league. It’s rational to think like that and I’m sure many will agree with me.
Continuing with this time trend, It is not only points that Jordan has MORE of in LESS time than Kobe. Jordan ranks higher than Kobe in steals by around 1000. Jordan ranks higher in blocks than Kobe by around 300. Jordan ranks higher in total rebounds than Kobe by around 700. Jordan ranks higher in steals than Kobe by about 1000. ALL IN ONE LESS YEAR OF BASKETBALL. Time only moves forward, the longer Kobe takes to come close to these stats the farther I feel he should be placed away from this discussion because obviously you will reach those numbers if you’re given so much more time than Jordan had to do it. Common Sense.
Now the second part of my explanation as if those numbers wasn’t enough is to talk about Kobe’s rings. I want to make clear I totally respect Kobe Bryant and rings are rings and he is deserving of all 6. My point however is that certain players contribute more than others for those rings. That is a fact and that is why a finals mvp award exists. It is given to the player that LED the team to victory. A lot of people who want to compare Kobe to Jordan bring up the ring count. How Kobe is only one ring away. He is in the literal sense, but in the world of sports debate, I disagree. It is well documented and known that Shaq was the lifeline of those first 3 championships. This is not to take away from Kobe Bryant but it is to assert the truth that Shaq was the biggest factor in winning those rings. Jordan had Pippen but no one will argue that Shaq was a way better player and factor than Pippen in the championships won. It is proven by the numbers as well as Shaq getting the mvp award all 3 times. Jordan won the finals mvp all 6 times and truly led his team to victory every time. This can only be said about Kobe for his 2 rings without Shaq.
Now of course there will be people to disagree so I am going to finish this post with some numbers to prove Shaq was the true leader of those first 3 championships and not Kobe.
FIRST 3PEAT PLAYOFFS ONLY
Shaq: 29.9 ppg, 55.2%fg, 14.5reb, 3.0ast, 2.4blk
Kobe: 25.3ppg, 44.7%fg, 5.7reb, 4.9as
Regular Seasons of the 3 Peat
In 99-2000, Kobe missed 14 games, the Lakers went 12-4 without him.
In 2000-2001 Kobe missed 14 games, the Lakers went 11-3 without him.
In 2001-2002 Kobe missed 2 games, the Lakers went 2-0 without him.
The championship Lakers teams seemed barely affected by the absence of Kobe.
(Record without Kobe 25-7, factor? not as much as Kobe supporters would think.)
Percentage of team’s points scored in the NBA Finals ( proof that Shaq accounted for more)
2004: 27.6% (L)
2004: 32.5% (L)
Season Averages During 3 Peat
Shaq 38.0ppg 2.3apg 16.7 reb 61.1% shooting
Kobe 15.6ppg 4.2 apg 4.6 reb 36.7% shooting
Shaq 33.0ppg 15.8 rpg 4.4 apg 57.3% shooting
Kobe 24.6ppg 5.8 apg 7.8 reb 41.5% shooting
Shaq 36.3ppg 12.3 rpg 3.8 apg 59.5% shooting
Kobe 26.7ppg 5.2 apg 5.8 reb 51.4% shooting
Shaq 26.6ppg 10.8 rpg 1.6 apg 63.1% shooting
Kobe 22.6ppg 4.4 apg 2.8 reb 38% shooting
Conclusion: for Kobe to ever realistically be compared as greater than Michael Jordan he will need at least 7 rings, possibly 8 in order to make up for all Jordan has achieved in less time and opportunities/players (Shaq vs Pippen argument) Again this is my opinion backed by many supporting facts and details. I am not saying I am right, I can’t, I’m just saying this is a really strong case to suggest so.