Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan: There's Still No Debate, Jordan Is King

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IJune 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second quarter of Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant has just won another championship ring—his fifth. There will be some fans who will start to bring up the debate that Kobe is somehow on par with Michael Jordan. 

The thing is, Bryant is not. Bryant is a great player who has been in the league 14 years and will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame when he does retire. Yet, Bryant will never be at the level of Jordan. 

Looking at Jordan's accolades over his 15 year career, Bryant doesn't come close to measuring up. Jordan won the Rookie of the Year Award, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, five MVP Awards, and six Finals MVP Awards. 

He also had 10 All-NBA First Team Selections, nine First Team All-Defensive selections, and one Second Team All-NBA selection. 

Jordan's stats? He ranks first all-time in points per game with an average of 30.1, second all-time in steals with 2,514, third all-time in points with 32,292 points, third all-time in steals per game with 2.3, third all-time in field goal attempts, fourth all-time in field goals, fourth all-time in free throws, and ninth all-time in free throws attempted. 

What about Bryant? What are his numbers like so far in his career, considering he's only played one year less than Jordan? 

Bryant's accolades look like this: One MVP and two Finals MVPs. 

He is an eight time All-NBA First Team selection, eight time All-NBA Defensive First Team, two time All-NBA Defensive Second Team, two time All-NBA Second Team, and two time All-NBA third team member.

For Bryant to even catch Jordan, he'd need a Rookie of the Year award (which of course he can't do), four more MVP awards, a Defensive Player of the Year award, and four more Final MVP Awards. 

So in order for Bryant to match Jordan in terms of Finals MVP Award, he'd need to have nine rings. 

In terms of ranking within the top 10 all-time of any category, the only one Bryant is a part of is free throws, where he's currently ranked 10th all-time. 

Jordan scored 32,292 points in 15 years. Kobe? He has scored 25,790 points in 14 years. So, it likely won't be until Bryant's in his 17th year in the league before he passes Jordan for total points. 

Even if you look at each player's best seasons, Jordan wins. 

In the 1988-1989 season, Jordan averaged 32.5 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2.9 steals, while shooting 53.8 percent from the field, 27.6 percent from three, and 85 percent from the free throw line. 

During Kobe's best year in the league he averaged 31.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.4 steals on 46.3 percent from the field, 34.4 percent from three, and 86.8 percent from the free throw line. 

In all 15 seasons, Jordan averaged over 20 points per game. Kobe has only done that in 12 out of 14 seasons.

Need more stats? OK.

Jordan averaged 30 points or more eight times, while Bryant has accomplished that feat three times. Jordan averaged over six rebounds a game nine times, while Bryant has done that three times. Jordan averaged over five assists nine times, and Bryant has averaged over five assists eight times, and Jordan averaged over two steals per game 10 times while Bryant only has done that once. 

As for playoff numbers, Jordan is number one all-time in points per game in the playoffs at 33.4, and leads a slew of playoff categories. He is also first all-time in points, first all-time in field goals attempted, first all-time in free throws, second all-time in free throw attempts, second all-time in field goals, second all-time in steals, sixth all-time in steals per game, and seventh all-time in assists.

Bryant currently ranks third all-time in field goal attempts, fourth all-time in points, fourth all-time in field goals, fourth all-time in free throws, fifth all-time in free throws attempted, and eighth all-time in steals.

In terms of averages in the playoffs, Jordan averaged over 30 points 12 times and Bryant has averaged over 30 in the playoffs four times. Jordan averaged over six rebounds 10 times while Bryant has averaged over six four times, and Jordan averaged over five assists eight times while Bryant averaged over five assists seven times. 

The numbers make it clear—Bryant has never come close to being better than Jordan.

The all-time ranks and the awards do not lie. Jordan has always been the better of the two, and it's not even close.