Kobe Bryant had a career that spanned generations. He was a player with a sense of style and the confidence to wear any color. Most importantly, he represented his city in an unparalleled way that would have made him more than just another basketball-playing Laker if not for some unfortunate injuries over the years.
Kobe was the closest thing to a basketball player who could have been a modern-day Michael Jordan. He had the talent, skills, and charisma but he also had a story that made him one of the most beloved athletes in history.
If it seems like the discussion about who is better, Michael Jordan or LeBron James, will never end, that’s because it won’t. One could practically memorize the resumes: Jordan has six championships and six Finals MVPs; James has four crowns and four Finals MVPs. Because of his lengthier career, James has overtaken Jordan in the counting stats. LeBron’s teams are 4–6 in the Finals, compared to MJ’s record of never losing in the Finals.
The finest aspect, or the worst part, depending on your point of view, is that there is no winner. It’s a matter of opinion, and despite popular belief, an opinion is not a declaration of truth by definition. However, at least one former NBA All-Star believes that the whole Jordan-James argument was faulty from the start and that it should be dropped.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James have very different playing styles.
During his great career, Michael Jordan elevated wing domination to new heights. Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, along with Scottie Pippen, threw the old concept of winning with overpowering big men out the closest window.
Jordan led the Bulls to six NBA championships, three with Bill Cartwright and Horace Grant in the bigs and three with Luc Longley and Dennis Rodman in the frontcourt. Rodman is a Hall of Famer, and rightfully so, but he was far from the stereotypical domineering big guy. Cartwright was nearing the end of his career when he arrived in Chicago. Grant was a high-level role player, whilst Longley was similar but not quite as good.
Meanwhile, LeBron James was not a Jordan generational descendant. Instead, he resembled Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson more than anybody else. James is a big-bodied winger who likes to be in charge of the offensive. Every team he’s played on has made him the de facto point guard. In fact, in 2019–20, he topped the NBA in assists.
As a result, rather than being an apples-to-apples comparison, MJ vs. LBJ becomes a style jambalaya. While they were able to accomplish certain things on the court that were comparable, they were never the same sort of player.
Shawn Marion is not a fan of the Jordan-James discussion.
Former All-Star Shawn Marion had two points to make regarding the continuous cycle that is the comparison between LeBron James and Michael Jordan during a recent interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.
For starters, James has never attempted to imitate Jordan, according to The Matrix. However, Marion is aware that LeBron’s career is coming to an end, and we must be informed that what we’re about to see is unique:
“By far, LeBron has been one of the finest athletes we’ve seen in recent memory, and we have to respect that. Stop attempting to make a comparison between the two.”
Marion only saw Jordan four times, all during his tenure with the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003. Jordan averaged 24.0 points each night as the Wizards went 3–1 in those games.
On the other hand, From 2003 through 2014, Marion and James faced off 23 times, including in the 2011 NBA Finals, when The Matrix’s Dallas Mavericks defeated The King’s Miami Heat.
Finally, they were teammates in Marion’s last season, 2014–15, even though Marion was not in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ postseason rotation.
Furthermore, the two-time All-NBA forward claims that Jordan and another player have a more direct relationship.
Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Who Will Win? Marion has a different notion.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James came the closest to colliding on the field in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, when Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats faced James’ Miami Heat. via Getty Images/David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service
According to Marion, there is another NBA star who is more comparable to Michael Jordan. He recalls 46 regular-season games and 21 playoff encounters with a player who has Jordan’s DNA. Or, to put it another way, as he expressed it succinctly:
“The closest thing was Kobe.”
It’s no secret that Jordan influenced Kobe Bryant’s game and mentality. He was a merciless take-no-prisoners, score-first, score-second superstar. Bean was willing to share the ball, but when it came down to it, he wanted the rock in his hands. When your initial impulse is to be a facilitator, you don’t instruct Shaquille O’Neal to rebound your misses if he wants the ball.
Bryant appeared in seven NBA Finals, five of which the Lakers won. Kobe won two MVP trophies in the Finals. Jordan comes out on top in this situation. They were, nevertheless, aesthetically fairly similar.
The discussion between LeBron James and Michael Jordan will never end. However, when a 16-year veteran who has played against James, Jordan, and Bryant says the analogy is flawed, we should consider taking his advise.
Basketball Reference and Stathead provided the statistics.
RELATED: Charles Barkley’s Reaction to the GOAT Debate Between Michael Jordan and LeBron James: ‘LeBron Has Stacked His Teams, Let’s Be Realistic’
Kobe Bryant was the closest thing to Michael Jordan that has ever existed. He is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and he had a career that spanned 20 years. Reference: kobe bryant height.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which player was Kobe closest to?
A: The player that Kobe was closest to is Michael Jordan.
Who is the closest player to Michael Jordan?
A: LeBron James is the closest player to Michael Jordan.
Did MJ say Kobe was better?
A: No, MJ never said Kobe was better.
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