Kobe Bryant has not read Phil Jackson's new book "Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success", but has spoken with Jackson since the book's release. What did Kobe have to say about Jackson comparing him to Michael Jordan? Bryant said that it was "not a fair comparison" and stated the age difference -- Kobe's early 20's against Jordan's late 20's -- created an unlevel comparison in his interview with ESPN's Dave McMenamin:
"I talked to Phil about it," said Bryant, who added that he has not read the book. "I said, 'You know, you can't compare me at [age] 21-22-23 to Michael at 28-29-30. That's not a fair comparison. But, you know, I'm comfortable at resting on my five [championships] and what I had to do for this team to be successful.
"We both had different roles, and [Jordan] had his level of frustration coming up as a young player and challenges that he had to deal with, and I had mine in playing a different role to what I thought naturally I could do. We had different career paths, man, so it's kind of tough to [compare]. At least for me it is, anyway."
Jackson became the head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989 when Jordan was 26. Jordan captured his first title in 1991 when he was 28. Bryant was 21 when he won his first title with Jackson and the Lakers in 2000.
In "Eleven Rings" Jackson compared Bryant and Jordan throughout the book, giving Jordan an edge as he discussed defense, leadership and a variety of other areas. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times shared a few of Jackson's comparisons prior to the books release. Jackson has "no question" that Jordan was a better defender, a more accurate scorer, and was better at letting the game "come to him"
No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender. He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense.
Jackson noted the "pronounced" difference in their accuracy, Jordan shooting almost 50% - an "extraordinary figure" - while Bryant had been at 45%.
"Jordan was also more naturally inclined to let the game come to him and not overplay his hand, whereas Kobe tends to force the action, especially when the game isn't going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns. Michael, on the other hand, would shift his attention to defense or passing or setting screens to help the team win the game."
For an alternate take, in 2007 Roland Lazenby revealed insight that he had received from Tex Winter comparing Jordan and Bryant. Lazeby wrote that the Lakers coaching staff had concluded the two players were "much alike" when comparing their alpha male qualities and felt the major difference was that Jordan was "better prepared" to play within a team concept since he had played at the collegiate level:
A few years back, the Lakers coaching staff concluded Bryant and Jordan were much alike, almost eerie, in fact, when it came to the alpha male qualities of their competitive natures.
Kobe and Michael were ruthless when it came to winning, everyone agreed.
And their skills were similar.
Except Michael's hands were larger.
The major difference between the two came with college experience. Jordan had played in a basketball system for Dean Smith at North Carolina, thus he was better prepared to play within a team concept.
Just another drop in the Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan comparison bucket.
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