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NBA - The NBA Comparison Corner: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James…The G.O.A.T., The Living Legend, and The Upstart!

 

After baited breath and even longer anticipation, the birth of “The NBA Comparison Corner” is now here! Unlike a few of my previous articles that are marked as chapters in a potentially epic novel series, this article series will be tracked by the players that are highlighted within it. So no Part ones or chapter sixes. It will strictly be by player names, and most likely have a teaser intro behind it. You can thank Kobe Fanatics for the construction of this article series! If it wasn’t for their unmatched energetic youth and blind undeniable ignorance in the lack of basketball IQ that they possess, I may have never imagined this “Re-education of the Kobe Fanatic….or any one else that thinks Michael Jordan isn’t the Greatest of All Time”! With that said, let jump into it!

 

Appropriately enough, the first NBA Comparison Corner will consistent of All time greatest (Jordan) vs. the unfinished story (Kobe) and the upstart (Lebron)! Ever since the Lakers squeaked out game 7 vs The Boston Celtics last season, Kobe fanatics have gradually (if not immediately) lost their minds! More and more I’ve heard the grumblings that Kobe has surpassed Jordan as….wait for it…..THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYER EVER!!!!! I know! That is the same reaction I had when I heard it the first time, then again after the twelfth and thirteenth time after their finals victory. Many of these “Certifiable” proclamations originated from younger Kobe fanatics that may or may not have been out of high school. This is understandable since most of them think they know everything there is to know about the world, before they even graduate. The troubling problem came when the guys my age and older started saying it too! The three main reasons I get are: 1. Kobe’s 81 point game vs. Toronto (who was 29th in defense that year, plus he was guarded by defensive juggernauts in Jalen Rose and Mo Peterson), 2. Kobe’s records for consecutive 40 and 50 point games, and 3. KOBE has won 5 championships. Not the Lakers won 5 titles, but KOBE won 5 titles. Out of those 3 main reasons, what is missing out of that line of logic? I won’t get into that directly, but we will revisit that in later articles.

 

 

 

For years after Jordan retired (for the last time), the comparisons of young talent to who is the next Jordan has been abundant but fruitless. The main stats that are always at the for front are the offensive stats. As this series goes along, I will be exploring multiple stats, intangibles, and other miscellaneous factors. Here is a list of what you can expect:

- The most valuable to their team

- The most clutch (buzzer beaters and last shots inside of 24 seconds)

- The most efficient

- Who had better teammates and who made their teammates better

- When drafted. Draft Class.

- Stats, Awards (regular season, All Star games, and playoffs), Titles, Olympic medals

- Hype. Shoe and jersey sales.

- Competition.

- Rule changes

- Common denominator…Phil Jackson!!!!

- 6 degrees of separation.

So without further ado… the stat factor!

For years since the debate started the old saying was: LeBron has the stats, Kobe has the titles, and Jordan has BOTH! That sentence in itself could spawn a lengthy “Bill Simmons” mini novel series, but for the purpose of quick consumption we will limit it to just the stats for now. As you check out Jordan’s stats you will see parenthesis “()” In the first number of stats. These stats represent the actual first seven years of his career, which includes the injury year (85-86). The stats following those represent Michael’s first eight years excluding Jordan’s injury year. In contrast including the first seven years of Jordan’s career help both Kobe and Lebron, but it still is very telling.

Michael Jordan

Kobe Bryant

LeBron James

Games

(509) 571

496

548

Games started

(498) 571

349

547

Minutes Played

(19,673) 22,324

16,826

22,108

FG

(6,144) 6,937

3,801

5,415

FGA

(11,326) 13,316

8,328

11,403

FG%

(51.9%) 52%

45.60%

47%

3PTs

(179) 203

417

771

3PA

(625) 707

1,257

2,344

3PT%

(28.6%) 28.7%

33.10%

32.90%

FT

(4,129) 4,515

2,638

3,650

FTA

(4,866) 5331

3,177

4,900

FT%

(84.8%) 84.6%

83%

74.50%

Rebounds

(3019) 3489

2,458

3,861

Assists

(3018) 3454

2,060

3,810

Steals

(1412) 1557

714

955

Blocks

(548) 602

320

482

Turnovers

(1,599) 1,754

1,339

1,802

Points

(16,596)18,592

10,658

15,251

Points Per Game

(32.6) 32.5

22

28

 

 

 

I had a few of my friends send me comments on the stat portion of this article. Here are a few of them:

“It's not fare to judge on numbers alone . But Jordan and LeBron did take the last place teams that drafted them to the finals. LeBron 3 yrs Jordan 7 but he won. Kobe started on a already talented team and was a immature selfish player with very high skill level….. Jordan a beast of a scoring machine attackin the rim and making them pay when they fouled him or doubled .LeBron is more of an all around player that plays in the flow of the game gettin his team going first knowing he could take over games late. I think early in Kobe career he was blessed with talent all around him as well as a HOF coach who knew what it took to win a championship . LeBron’s never really had that. Can you picture LeBron feuding with Shaq over who's team it is ..... I can't . Kobe n Shaq would both have more rings than Jordan if they weren't acting like Thelma and Louise!I had a few of my friends send me comments on the stat portion of this article. Here are a few of them:

Shawn M, Seattle WA. GHP Class of 89 (If you don’t know, you better ask somebody)!

“They look good, the only thing I would say is Kobe was not a starter in his first few years in his defense. He did not play as much so the stats early on would favor Jordan and Lebron. Jordan also was seasoned coming out of a high calibur collegiate system and already won a national championship, so he would fare far better than both Kobe and Lebron,. Kind of amazed Lebron has shot that many 3's. Jordan’s steals Wow”

Rashaan S, Washington, GHP Class of 89 (Yoooooou Know!)

One guy is a long time Lakers fan, and the other is just a long time basketball fan. Both of them are class of 1989 alumni from Garfield High in Seattle, WA. While I agree with both of them, I will have to answer the “intangible” element in another article.

As for my initial interpretation, I think you can all see the majority of the major stats are dominated by Jordan and LeBron. Kobe may have had more rings than both of them in his first 7 years, but he had better teams. Hands down.

 

The next installment of “Comparison Corner” will consist of the stats of the last three years, and a year by year breakdown of the last three years for these 3 legendary players. I’ll also incorporate their playoff numbers later too. Real interesting stuff. Until then, let me shout out a belated Happy Birthday to the G.O.A.T…..MICHAEL JORDAN! LOL!