Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant: Battle of the Icons
There have been a slew on “next” Jordans ever since Michael Jordan became a household name. These ranged from two time slam dunk champion Harold Miner to the two decade veteran Vince Carter. None, however, have come closer than Lakers lifer and superstar Kobe Bryant. From the jersey number of Kobe’s “24” against Jordan’s “23” to the killer instinct in the fourth quarter to the patented fade away jumper, none have come closer to replicating the legendary Chicago icon.
From a longetivity aspect, Kobe playede much longer than Michael as Kobe played in twenty (20) seasons to Michael’s fifteen (15). Kobe started much earlier as he came straight from high school and never stopped playing save for injury related causes. Michael started his career after his junior year in college and retired twice before finally calling it quits in 2003.
Slam Dunk Competitions
Michael and Kobe were both very athletic as evidenced by their countless hours of highlight reels and their victories in the Slam Dunk Competition. Jordan won the contest twice in 1987 and 1988. Bryant won it a decade later in 1997 in dramatic fashion.
While Michael Jordan was the alpha dog from day one, Kobe Bryant spent the first few years as the Robin to Shaquille O’ Neil’s Batman. This is evidenced by the first three (3) Finals MVP honors in Kobe’s finals resume being scooped up by Shaq. Michael Jordan won six (6) Finals MVP honors in six tries.
Known primarily for their offensive wizardry, many people tend to forget that both Jordan and Bryant were hard-nosed defenders. They were good on both ends of the floor. Jordan has multiple defensive accolades to his name – one (1) Defensive Player of the Year award, nine (9) NBA All-Defensive First Team selections and three (3) Steals Leader awards. Bryant was no slouch on defense either – nine (9) NBA All-Defensive First Team selections and three (3) NBA All-Defensive Second Team selections.
Both Michael and Kobe were household names internationally as evidenced by their number of All-Star selections. Michael had fourteen (14) All-Star selections with three (3) All-Star MVP nods. Kobe had eighteen (18) All-Star selections with four (4) All-Star MVP nods.
Overall, both careers were legendary as Michael Jordan finished with 32,292 points, 6,672 rebounds and 5,633 assists and Kobe Bryant finished with 33,643 points, 7,047 rebounds and 6,306 assists.