Posted May 16, 2013

Phil Jackson talks Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant differences in book due May 21

NBA
Phil Jackson details the differences he saw between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in his new book, "Eleven Rings" due out next week. " (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Phil Jackson details the differences he saw between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in his new book, “Eleven Rings” due out next week. ” (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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.

GALLERY: Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan


27 comments
6marK6
6marK6

I learned a long time ago that "greatest" is the most subjective term you can ever come up with. Jordan certainly is aided in his "greatness" claims by being associated with so many sponsors, including a clothing line, that have a vested interest in promoting him tirelessly, it makes them money. My recollection of Jordan is that he could not really get the job done in the 1980s when the league still had dominant teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Pistons. Jordan's greatness came in the 1990s, when the league had declined significantly. My recollections of Kobe is that he always benefited from having very strong supporting casts. I remember Horry, Shaq and Fisher having more big shots in those championship runs than Kobe. My subjective opinion on greatest ever is Magic Johnson. He could do everything and play every position. He won five championships during the toughest era ever. But that is just my opinion. I wish some people would acknowledge that there is no universal "greatest" ever, because eras are different.

MarkMcClure
MarkMcClure

Wilt Chamberlain far and away Greatest of All Time.....NOT EVEN CLOSE. Look at the stats

JamesJoyce
JamesJoyce

You dudes spouting about Kobe and MJ need to watch a little Wilt time on Youtube.

No one else is even close.

Geomack62
Geomack62

Whatever! The point he's making is they are both great players. MJ is more personable Kobe is more reserved. Surprise, surprise! They both win championships, so who cares?!

imst0ncld
imst0ncld

In my 49 years I have to say that Kobe BRYANT is the best player that I have ever seen. Michael was great, but KOBE to me is just THAT DAM GOOD. Not Hattin just Stattin I love watching him play he is smooth as ice and a BAD MAN!!!!!

Michael would not be able to do what he did in this era the players are faster and stronger, JUST FACTS!!!

 

KOBE BRYANT IS THE BEST TO EVER PLAY THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JulesG
JulesG

Again, what does it matter at this point? Should we use MJ's legacy to down any other players who try to have one, or can we enjoy what many consider the greatest of two different eras separately, DESPITE what their coach says in a book created to make him more money?

JamieBreslow
JamieBreslow

You guys are becoming the TMZ of sports reporting. This doesn't deserve to have a lead, everyone already knows two things: 1) Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player who ever graced an NBA court, 2) Phil doesn't really like Kobe, certainly not the way he likes Jordan. This is strictly for pub on his new book, which you guys bought hook,line, and sinker. 

I also think he's wrong about something. To me, and many others, Kobe was a better overall shooter than Michael. But Michael was a significantly better scorer. This is mainly because after so many knee injuries Kobe had to work more on his post and perimeter game, since his ability to get to the basket was dimished in a way that never happened to MJ.

A.F.Davis
A.F.Davis

In my opinion, MJ is the greatest, but Kobe Bryant is the player who came as close to Jordan-level greatness on the court.  I believe, if Kobe were perceived by fans in a better light, many more people would say as much.  But alot of people just says he isn't one of the greatest to ever do it, just because they don't like him.

 

Kobe is NOT, I repeat...NOT done with basketball, and he will see the NBA Finals a few more times before he through.

 

Lebron, if he continues to win championships, which is a BIG if, he will be in the conversation.  But MJ & Kobe have similar styles while Lebron more closely resembles a better scoring Magic Johnson-type.  Lebron still has a long way to go before deserving to be mentioned in the same breath as MJ.

RichLGerhold
RichLGerhold

The comment about Michael passing off when his game was off versus Kobe forcing shots until his luck breaks is a perfect example why Jordan was the better player. There's more to the game then putting shots in the basket.

49ers
49ers

 @MarkMcClure That's because 98% of the players he played against were under 5' 9".

BrandonDuncan1
BrandonDuncan1

 @imst0ncld How much bigger did humans grow in a decade? come on Jordon didn't play in the 50's bro.

bobdevo
bobdevo

 Jordan was better than Kobe, Oscar was better than Kobe, LeBron is better than Kobe

DougDavis
DougDavis

 @imst0ncld What....?

Kobe is great, but Jordan was better in every way, I mean maybe you stretch the truth to say Kobe was a better pure shooter, I disagree but o.k.

However, taking over a game when it matters and defense is super tight in finals/playoffs, the assists and getting other guys going, fighting for key timely steals, rebounds, and bail out shots, Kobe is not Micheal, he's not.

 

Youtube has everything, just watch.  Much respect to Kobe, he is it right now, and LeBron is just now reaching for that level for the first time, Jordan is the best ever.  You prefer impact on the game of bigs then Russell, Wilt, and even the dream at his peak(which he would not get those 2chips if Jordan didn't step away for the 2 seasons)

 

Also, look up and watch Jordan rules, those Pistons and Knicks abused Mike in a way Kobe or LBJ just don't know, they never had that "defense" to deal with.  Faster, stronger now....yeah sure even if so I give you faster obviously, the rules are different now, just watch the tape Jordan against Pistons and Bulls, it is amazing that Mike, and Reggie at times, could score like they did when the refs would let them play some real defense, even were too lax late 80s 90s, Jordan earned his elite status on calls as Kobe has, still Jordan rules, says it all.

DougDavis
DougDavis

 @JulesG That is fair, you have a valid point, but if someone wants to use the term G.O.A.T, or the best ever to play the game, they have to be corrected, if you watched Jordan you just know that it is something you must correct and his legacy defended.

I'm a Trailblazers fan, I hated Mike and wanted Clyde to defeat him, and I think Kobe is probably a nicer guy, but the anser to those terms are absolute in this case and it's Mike, and it ain't close as great as Kobe has been over his impressive career that LeBron it is just now on his horizon.

Sami
Sami

 @JamieBreslow For the life of me I will never, ever, ever understand the "better overall shooter" thing. I guess it's something that confuses young people. Kobe shoots a ton from the outside, and like Jackson said when the game isn't going his way, he forces a lot of his shots. Here and there he makes a few fancy threes that the commentators hype like no tomorrow, but for the most part those are terrible shots. Shot selection/having the ability to get good shots is the biggest difference between the two players and why MJ was probably the most consistent player night in and night out.

 

MJ made a living from '91 on by being efficient and hitting 20ft jumpers of the triple post offense. People remember the few flashy plays and crazy dunks, but Jordan rarely did anything extra with the ball. It was one or two dribbles, and jumper from the top of the key. Best midrange shooter (or at least most consistent) that I've witnessed. And he could get himself open with minimum effort and had the great ability to get seperation from the defender when he needed it. And when you make a living by shooting jumpers AND shoot almost 4% higher than the other guy you are compared to, it's kind of moronic to state the the lesser player is a "better shooter" just because he enjoys hoisting more three pointers.

bobdevo
bobdevo

 @A.F.Davis Baloney.  LeBron is bigger, stronger, faster, better passer, better rebounder

riley8
riley8

Agreed but we are spliting hairs.  How often was Michael's game off?  Anyone being compared with Jordan must be pretty good.

Sportsblabber
Sportsblabber

 @bobdevo At the time, it was a coin toss between Oscar Robertson and Jerry West.  Oscar could do more, but Jerry was the more feared scorer.  Interesting, as time passes, the distance between them has widened.  The Big O is top five; Mr. Clutch, bottom ten.

 

Kobe?  Bottom ten below (not in order) Wilt, MJ, Russell, Oscar, Kareem, Magic, Bird.  Then Kobe, Shaq, West, and Tim Duncan, I suppose.  That's 11.

imst0ncld
imst0ncld

 @bobdevo Lebron is good but he's not in the other guys class yet. He has the best pure physical ability but he doesn't have the "IT FACTOR" yet. KOBE, BIRD and Michael always wanted the ball when game was on line, Lebron still passes and throws some bricks, but he's getting better.

 

imst0ncld
imst0ncld

 @Vinny Cordoba Yes Michael was Great, Kobe is better! My words my eyes my heart, love his game. If I could watch just one of them play one time I would chose KOBE every time. I love his game. Next would be Bird, Then Hakeem,  I just diddn't love Mikes game. Don't hate, you like who you like I like KOBE best of ALL>

JulesG
JulesG

 @DougDavis I am not sure if people argue that anymore. It's great for a fans/writer's sport debate, but when does it become an extremely dead, rotting corpse of a horse? Again, Phil is recapping because that conversation sells books, but as a fan of basketball TODAY, because that is where we all are, I do get tired of hearing how great MJ is when players of today are trying to be great in their own right. You almost want to tell them to not watch the NBA and keep Come Fly With Me on repeat if we are stuck talking about MJ over and over. Does that make sense? Now that horse is being put in life support just to be killed again because Phil put out a book. What if Kobe wrote a book about all his coaches and compared Phil to someone else for the sake of the controversy...would that be a great debate too....or..

JulesG
JulesG

 @Sami  Moronic? Why can't Kobe be the better shooter? It's stated because he has way more shooting range than MJ. That can constitute as being a better shooter. But ANYTHING compared to MJ gets destroyed as if no one else's accomplishments or abilities deserve consideration BECAUSE it's almighty MJ. Well, as someone who watched him just like I assume you did, he DID have flaws like all players. And one was his limited long range shooting. With how the game has changed, that was something that Kobe tried to do to expand his personal game, as well as post play. But again, Kobe cannot get any type of accolades to MJ, the more liked and universally respected figure, despite not being a perfect as we make him out to be, but his legend is always going to be more prevalent than balanced facts about him. With that said, I believe Kobe IS a better shooter. Shooting ability is not just measured by the idea that your shooting percentage is low if they are "bad" shots, but can you hit those shots? Kobe can, MJ could not when it came to range. That is not arguable, BUT, if you want to debate me because I gave Jordan a 99.9999% eval, then cool.

JulesG
JulesG

 @Brigante  Ah...the shooting percentage argument. Steve Kerr was a better SHOOTER than MJ....meaning his ability to shoot was greater and he took shots in correlation to his role. He IS a better shooter than MJ. Better PLAYER? No. Stats don't tell the whole story.  Part of MJ's stats were his ability to finish around the basket with his superior athleticism, and shoot from mid-range. Why? Because MJ was not a great long range shooter...Kobe IS. That is the point. That is all I am saying, but again, MJ counter points are like wearing Tea Party shirts to the Democratic National Convention. The reaction you get is always emotional and argumentative. Never allowing anyone else to be given any respect in contrast. No one is saying MJ sucks, or isn't the best ever or that his breath wreaks....I am just giving Kobe HIS props in one area of his game. Wish death on me for it, that is fine, I enjoy that...it's a fun sentiment, but don't act like I don't have a point because it's about MJ. And the 2nd fiddle thing....again, Kobe did not decide that he was going to play along side Shaq. I am wondering what he was supposed to do...quit because he needed to be better than MJ? Would MJ have conceded his game for a dominant force like Shaq? Who knows. WHO CARES! Second fiddle, smiddle. Shaq needed Kobe to win as much as Kobe needed him....they were on a TEAM TOGETHER! The same way MJ needed his second fiddle in Pippen to win and never won without him nor Phil....but we would bet he could do it without them....well, because MJ was the best right? And Kobe is just some guy who can't get his own line of respect it seems....

Brigante
Brigante

 @JulesG  @Sami

 Dude look up Jordan's career shooting percentage and then look up Kobe Bryant's percentage. Comparing Bryant to Michael Jordan is the most ignorant and asinine thing I've ever heard. Look at Jordan's average per game with that percentage. Look at Michael's blocks, steals, assists per game. Look at Jordan's defense acomplishments. But most of all look at the fact that Michael Jordan won 6 championships as the best player on his team and the best player in the league. Kobe Bryant was a second fiddle on 3 championships, that's the simple truth. Michael Jordan would never have been a second fiddle on any team in any era in the history of basketball. Kobe Bryant was Scottie Pippen to Shaq's Jordan. O'neal was the man on those teams and Kobe Bryant was his helper. Take comparing Jordan to Bryant and shove it where ya stank. It ain't close and it's insulting.