King Kong vs Godzilla, Freddy vs Jason, cake vs pie, cats vs dogs, “to be” vs “not to be,” skateboarding vs rollerblading — some arguments will never be settled no matter how long people bicker over them. In basketball, it’s Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan. Sure, they only played against each other eight times (four of which came before the that whole Wizards thing), but these guys have been and always will be inextricably linked by their incredibly similar playing style.
A style Michael Jordan very much considers his proprietary creation, of which, he portends, Bryant stole. Makes sense — everyone growing up in the late 80s and early 90s practiced that fade away. The difference is, Kobe managed to pull it off and win 5 NBA Championships using it.
Doesn’t that kind of make him better than Jordan, that he was able to copy and modify Jordan’s game with a great degree of success? Afterall, everyone knew Jordan’s moves by the time Kobe was in his prime — wouldn’t that have made it relatively harder for him?
(These are the kind of semantic arguments that make the Kobe vs Jordan comparison so much fun/impossible.)
Here’s a breakdown of their career averages:
Jordan clearly has the advantage here, but you also have to remember that Kobe’s numbers are skewed because he came straight out of high school, and thus was three years younger than Jordan upon entering the league. All things being equal, at 28 years old, Kobe had a better season (with the exception of steals, where Jordan still dominates):
Now to the tape. YouTube user Yousef Hannoun put together an expertly edited montage of identical highlights from both player’s careers, that shows just how similar these guys were.