The victory was regular season game number 1,072 of Bryant’s illustrious career, matching the total number of regular season contests participated in by Sir Michael Jordan, true basketball royalty (sorry King James, your phony nickname means nothing here).
Naturally, though stupidly, the mundane non-milestone sparked some tiresome Kobe/MJ comparisons.
Let’s say once again what should never need to be said: There is no comparison. There should be no argument.
If it were an apples to apples situation, we’d be ranking a very, very, very good apple against the greatest apple of all time.
It’s a no-brainer.
The idea that “Kobe Bryant is on par with Michael Jordan” belongs alongside such concepts as “the moon landing was staged” and “Nicolas Cage is a good actor;” specifically, indefensibly inane ideas perpetuated only by the gullible, the stupid or the blindly infatuated.
The gap between Kobe and MJ is roughly the size of Mrs. Khloe Kardashian-Odom’s forehead, maybe bigger.
Bryant is a terrific player. He’s had a spectacular and memorable career to this point. If he retired tomorrow, he would go down as one of the top perimeter players to ever play the game.
He’s an all-time great, no doubt about it.
Constant Jordan comparisons, however, are naught but a disservice to Bryant.
Jordan overwhelms Bryant in practically every measurable statistical category.
He outdistances Bryant’s average in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and field goal percentage. He had fewer fouls and fewer turnovers. He had more MVPs, more Finals MVPs, more wins, more titles, more trophies, more championships, more and more and more and more.
Comparing any player to Jordan is like comparing any woman you’ve ever met, known, dated or talked with to the most beautiful woman in the world. She just isn’t going to stack up.
At this point, just let Bryant be Bryant; evaluate him for what he is, don’t penalize him for who he’s not.
Bryant is a great scorer, a fiery competitor, a skilled defender and an explosive athlete.
He’s an NBA Champion and a Hall of Famer by any measure.
He is not the greatest player of all time. Looking at it objectively, it’s not even close.
For whatever reason, some will inevitably continue to ignore logic and reason, brush aside the stats and facts. The argument will probably never go away.
Should anyone defiantly stick out their lower jaw, glare and try to make a case for the Black Mamba, it’s probably best to just counter with a Jordanesque shrug.