In sports, it’s hard to stay in the moment. Football has finally started, I am fully invested in the MLB Playoffs, Boxing has had some decent bouts lately, and yet, it’s still those same storylines that keep pulling my attention away. This would be my reason for talking about basketball, months after the season has ended, weeks before the next season begins.

It’s time to stop with the Kobe talk, and any other comparisons to Michael Jordan. Two recent stories have caused me to type like a mad-man on my Iphone, arguing, disputing, and deflecting claims on Facebook and Twitter, over an argument that is becoming old. One article highlights an interview, in which retired (for now) Coach Phil Jackson stated that Miami Heat star LeBron James “has the tools to one day surpass” basketball legend Michael Jordan. The other article, posted by Yahoo! Sports, “KOBE BRYANT DOMINATED MICHAEL JORDAN HEAD-TO-HEAD“, gives us a head-to-head comparison between Jordan and L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant. An assessment that was apparently evaluated during a 8-game stretch in which the two faced off.

Let’s take this one step at a time.

Phil Jackson’s comments are the easiest to defend. I completely agree with Jackson in this assessment. What I disagree with is the countless number of “coo-coo’s” who have taken this statement and turned it into “LeBron is better than Jordan”. That is not what Jackson said, nor is it a valid statement at this point in James’ career. He said he has the TOOLS, which I agree with. Let me give you a series of statements. Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan has the tools to be the greatest quarterback ever. Washington Nationals Bryce Harper has the tools to be the greatest baseball player ever. Kevin Durant has the tools to be better than Jordan, and be the greatest basketball player ever. I have the tools to be the greatest CEO ever, even though I am nowhere near being a CEO now. My point being, the phrase “HAS THE TOOLS TO BE” means “HAS THE POTENTIAL TO”, and does not carry as much weight as King James fanatics would like, because you can say that about several players in sports.

The Kobe vs. Jordan story drew much more attention, but is equally as idiotic. The post claims to take into account 8 games, spanning from Jordan’s Chicago to Washington days, in which he went head-to-head with Kobe. The first flaw being that this would mean someone compared the END of Jordan’s career to the PRIME of Kobe’s. That will be as crazy as doing a head-to-head comparison between Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’neal, looking at Shaq’s Phoenix to Boston days. You’re not on a level playing field.

The second flaw is that basketball is a team, not individual, game. There are too many scenarios to consider when try to compare two individuals in a team sport. Was Scottie Pippen unstoppable in those match-ups, and so, Jordan did not need to take over just to outscore Bryant? Were the Bulls up by 20+ in the 4th, with Jordan on the bench, and Kobe scored some late chump points? While all the defensive attention was on Jordan, did the other Chicago players get the job done, not requiring Jordan to score 40+? We don’t know.

My third problem with this post is what we do know: if the start of this assessment was during the Chicago years, it would mean Jordan’s team won the Championship that season, and he was named Finals MVP. And simply put, I don’t care if Kobe averaged 60 points per game that season, Jordan was the one who accomplished the ultimate goal in the end. Jordan was the one whose performances carried his team.

Honestly, I grow more and more tired of the comparisons to Jordan. Why can’t we just allow Kobe to be the greatest of his era and his time? And likewise, allow LeBron to be the best now. I know that’s fool’s talk, because we have that uncontrollable desire to try to best the past. That would be fine, if we could do it in the right order. My question for everyone who loves to compare these two or any players to Jordan would be: WHY ARE WE NOT COMPARING  KOBE AND LEBRON TO ONE ANOTHER? I won’t elaborate now, but it would seem to me that you should have to be declared the best in the league TODAY, before you can jump to being called the “Greatest Of All Time”.

Where do you stand on this argument? Send me your comments below.

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