Phil Jackson talks Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant differences in book due May 21
Phil Jackson penned a new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” to be released next week, and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times published a preview on Thursday, providing excerpts on the differences that Jackson sees between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan from a playing and personality perspective.
Jackson, who is currently waiting to see whether the Sacramento Kings move to Seattle next year before deciding on a possible return to the NBA, writes that where Jordan was “charismatic,” Bryant was “reserved” and avoided fraternizing with teammates when he first joined the Lakers out of high school in 1996:
“Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around. Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.”
On their differences in playing style, Jackson, who coached Jordan to six championships and Bryant to five, said MJ let the game come to him, “whereas Kobe tends to force the action, especially when the game isn’t going his way.” He also talks about how Jordan would break attackers down with his strength, but Bryant relies on finesse:
“Michael was more likely to break through his attackers with power and strength, while Kobe often tries to finesse his way through mass pileups. Michael was stronger, with bigger shoulders and a sturdier frame. He also had large hands that allowed him to control the ball better and make subtle fakes. 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.”
Other nuggets released by Bresnahan on Thursday include Jackson saying he signed off on the Lakers drafting Andrew Bynum in 2005 but did not like his “running gait” that he thought would lead to knee problems; Bynum missed all of last season because of lingering knee problems. Jackson also calls the Lakers’ Game 7 win over the Boston Celtics in the 2010 Finals the most satisfying of his career.