But just know that as great as Kobe is, he will NEVER be Jordan!!!What makes you say that?
Of course, if you're talking about the best ever regardless of position and not just the best ever at shooting guard, Michael Jordan takes a back seat to Magic Johnson, IMO.
Jordan stands alone. If I start explaining why, I'll be here all night. But briefly, Michael Jordan excelled at every facet of the game of basketball. Off the top of my head, here's a compilation of things that sets him apart, IMHO:
What can be more athletic than a man of the following characteristics?
- The ball handling skills of players a foot shorter than his height of 6'9"
- The ability to dominate, not just play, at all five positions--remember when Magic started an NBA finals game at center in place of his injured teammate, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and scored 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals?
- Exceptional court vision for a point guard
-master of the fundamentals
-knowledge of the game
Compare to Magic's unparalleled mastery of the Lakers' "Show Time" offense and knowledge of how to break down opposing defenses. I'll always remember that play in the closing seconds of Game 6 of the 1991 Western Conference Finals against my Trail Blazers when he hucked a slow pass the length of the court to no one in particular just so he could burn 5 seconds off the clock and force the Blazers to have to move the ball the length of the court in less than a second to score the winning basket. (The Lakers won that game by one measly point to win the series.) Talk about knowledge of the game!
I'll concede Jordan's superiority there.
-excellent jump shot
To match Magic's.
-slasher/driving to the basket
I'll concede Jordan's superiority there.
Magic still holds the record for highest career average assists per game. His ability to find the open man in the Laker fast break was equaled by no one.
Magic averaged one more rebound per game over his career than Jordan.
-made his teammates better
Debatable. Before Phil Jackson took over the helm of the Bulls, Jordan had a reputation for being an a-h-e who wouldn't trust his teammates with the ball and was more concerned with his scoring stats than with his team's success. There has to be a reason why the Bulls lost that playoff game wherein Jordan scored 63 and why it took Scottie Pippen and his point-forward passing skills to make the Bulls a perennial NBA title contender. Everyone likes to point out that Pippen never won an NBA title without Jordan, as if that somehow proves that Jordan made Pippen a championship player, but what these people overlook is that Jordan never even made the conference finals without Pippen, something Pippen did twice without Jordan (1994 with the Bulls and 2000 with the Blazers). This is also consistent with Jordan's record at North Carolina. In his freshman year, he hit the shot that won the NCAA title for the Tar Heels, but it was James Worthy who led the team to the title that year. Once Worthy moved on to the NBA and left the team to Jordan, the Tar Heels never made it any farther than the Elite Eight, even with Jordan putting up such All-American numbers.
-unparallelled in competitive nature
A trait Magic shared. The big difference being that Magic was much more affable and much more of a team player. Jordan had the reputation of being a ruthless SOB, even to his teammates.
-gave 100% effort all the time
-ability to take over a game at any moment
-was always improving some facet of his game
-ability to adjust acording to the circumstances
-physical and mental toughness
All traits that apply equally to Magic.
-revolutionized the way the game is played
Like Johnson didn't with his "DID YOU SEE THAT!!?" razzle-dazzle passes? He made the fast break a thing of beauty.
-revolutionized the style and was a trend setter (i.e. the baggy shorts that are now worn by all)
That makes him an influential player, which is a derivative of his greatness on the court. But his influence on the game is not, in and of itself, what made him a great player. How many average players are able to make such fashion statements?
-pure aesthetic beauty in everything he did on the court
Magic did the same and to the same level.
Now Magic, Bird, and Kobe may possess many if not most of these attributes, but not to the extent that Jordan did.
I will agree that Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant don't quite possess these attributes to the extent that Jordan did, but I think you'd have a very difficult time arguing that Magic Johnson didn't.
As coach Bob Knight said when he coached him as a collegiate olympian, before he was ever in the NBA, "Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that will ever play the game."
Ah, the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority. I don't agree with Bobby Knight. Everything Jordan was, Magic was too. What sets Magic above Jordan in my mind, however, is that Johnson was a more versatile player who knew from the start of his career how to submit his personal goals to the good of the team and do whatever was necessary in any given game for his team to win. Sadly, that cannot be said of Michael Jordan.