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NBA: The Myth Of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Christian Petersen- Getty Images

 

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in NBA history. Where he gets placed depends on who gets asked, yet often times he gets overrated, which leads to the greatest myth of all from Laker/Kobe fans and that he is on the level of Michael Jordan.


There’s no denying Bryant’s work ethic and his drive to succeed. Phil Jackson who coached both players  said recently “No. No one can approach that. I don’t expect anybody to be able to model their behavior after that, although Kobe modeled his behavior a lot about Michael Jordan, but he went beyond Michael in his attitude towards training, and I know Mike would probably question me saying that, but he did.”

Even with that being the case Kobe hasn’t been able to come close to Jordan’s greatness.

For one there was never any question of who was the best when Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls and one the six championships. Kobe instead has San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan to contend with. As for the championships he won three as the no.2 option behind center Shaquille O’Neal and two where he was the no.1 option, yet his Finals performances underwhelmed against the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.

The regular seasons numbers have gotten debated many times. Here are the highlights, Jordan beats Kobe in field goal percentage, points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, steals per game and blocks per game. Bryant owns two categories and those are free throw percentage and three-point percentage.

Playoffs per game is a different story Jordan’s numbers were better in every category though three-point percentage was virtually the same.

What many leave out are the Finals performances first here are Kobe’s performances:

Vs. Indiana Pacers:  15.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1 steal on 36.7 percent shooting, 20 percent from three and 90.9 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 24.6 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 steals on 41.5 percent shooting, 33.3 percent from beyond the arc and 84.2 percent from the free throw line

Vs. New Jersey Nets: 26.8 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, .8 blocks, 1.5 steals on 51.4 percent shooting, 54.5 percent from three and 80.6 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Detroit Pistons: 22.6 points per game, 2.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, .6 blocks, 1.8 steals on 38.1 percent shooting, 17.4 percent from beyond the arc and 92 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Boston Celtics: 25.7 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, 5 assists, .2 blocks, 2.7 steals on 40.5 percent shooting, 32.1 percent from three and 79.6 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Orlando Magic: 32.4 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 steals on 43 percent shooting, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 84.1 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Celtics: 28.6 points per game, 8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, .7 blocks, 2.1 steals, on 40.5 percent shooting, 31.9 percent from three and 88.3 percent from the free throw line.

Note: In only one Finals series did Bryant average over 30 points per game and that was against the Magic, he only shot at least 43 percent or better twice and never averaged 10 or more assists or rebounds in a Finals series.

Jordan’s Finals performances:

Vs. Lakers: 31.2 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 11.4 assists, 1.4 blocks, 2.8 steals on 55.8 percent shooting, 50 percent from three and 84.8 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Portland Trail Blazers: 35.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, .3 blocks, 1.7 steals on 52.6 percent shooting, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 89.1 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Phoenix Suns: 41 points per game, 8.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, .7 blocks, 1.7 steals on 50.8 percent shooting, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 69.4 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Seattle Super Sonics: 27.3 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, .2 blocks, 1.7 steals, on 41.5 percent shooting, 31.6 percent from three and 83.6 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Utah Jazz: 32.3 points per game, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, .8 blocks, 1.2 steals, on 45.6 percent shooting, 32 percent from beyond the arc and 76.4 percent from the free throw line

Vs. Jazz: 33.5 points per game, 4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, .7 blocks, 1.8 steals, on 42.7 percent shooting, 30.8 percent from three and 81.4 percent from the free throw line

Note: Jordan only once averaged less than 30 points per game in a Finales series once, Jordan shot better than 50 percent three times and averaged double figures in assists against the Lakers.

 

 


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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