Age-old debate: Kobe settles Jordan comparisons
MANILA, Philippines – Pitting Kobe Bryant against Michael Jordan is inevitable.
The two NBA icons approached the game of basketball sharing not just the same style of play but also an identical relentless attitude, with Jordan winning 6 championships and the late Bryant capturing 5 titles.
In turn, their fans have always found ways to prove the one is better than the other, but whether their reasons are valid or not is not the point.
For Bryant, he needed Jordan and his guidance to flourish in a league that saw him barge into the scene as a lanky 17-year-old teenager.
"It was a rough couple of years for me, coming to the league. At the time, the league was much older. It is not as young as it is today," Bryant said in Episode 5 of the documentary The Last Dance.
"Nobody was really thinking much of me. I was the kid that shot a bunch of air balls, you know what I mean?" (READ: LOOKBACK: The day Kobe Bryant decided to 'be like Mike')
"At that point, Michael provided a lot of guidance for me."
While the basketball world was busy arguing who is the superior player, the two had developed a brotherly bond their legions of supporters were unaware of, as revealed by Jordan in his eulogy for Bryant.
"Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between him and I," a tearful Jordan said." I just wanted to talk about Kobe."
Their relationship involved Bryant pestering Jordan for basketball tips during late-night talks.
While one would expect that Jordan kept his cards close to his chest, he willingly imparted his secrets to Bryant and took the youngster under his wing.
"I had a question about shooting his turnaround shot. He gave me a great, detailed answer," Bryant said as he infused the fadeaway jumper Jordan was known for in his offensive repertoire.
"But on top of that, he said, 'If you ever need anything, give me a call.' He is like my big brother."
In a sense, as much as Bryant created his own legend, Jordan was a part of it.
"I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one and fans saying, 'Kobe, you would beat Michael one-on-one,'" Bryant said.
"And I feel like, 'Yo! What you get from me is from him.' I do not get 5 championships here without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice," Bryant added of Jordan.
The debate on who is the better player will carry on for years to come, but that is what it will all be: a debate. – Rappler.com