In a move that stuck to his Zen teachings, Phil Jackson asked Michael Jordan to have a talk with Kobe Bryant.
Both of those players remained dominant scorers of that era, but Jackson believed Jordan could instill some sense toward a young Bryant nearly a decage ago on how to maintain his scoring aggressiveness without disrupting team play. But before that conversation could ever take place, Bryant offered this challenge.
“I could kick your [butt] one-on-one,” Jackson recalled in a recent interview with Fox Sports 1.
Too bad the famed coach disagrees.
“It’s got to be MJ,” Jackson said. “He’s got that hand, or glove, when a guy can pick the ball up with one hand and dribble the ball like Michael can do and take the ball to the basket. It’s very difficult [to defend].
It’s hardly surprising Jackson would side with Jordan over Bryant. In his latest memoir titled “Eleven Rings” co-written by Hugh Delehanty, Jackson considers Jordan superior over Bryant, and the reasons went beyond the championship discrepancy. Jordan won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls (1991-93, 1996-98), while Bryant won five titles with the Lakers (2000-2002, 2009-2010). Jackson considered Jordan a better defender, a more accurate shooter and more able to get more out of his teammates.
“Michael was more likely to break through his attackers with his power and strength, while Kobe often tries to finesse his way through mass pileups, Jackson wrote. “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. Kobe is more flexible – hence, his favorite nickname, “Black Mamba.’”
There was one exception where Bryant had the edge.
Jackson praised Bryant for treating his body “like a finely tuned European sports car,” while saying Jordan was “less regimented” and noted his joy for cigars and wine.
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