Cover Image for 11x champ Phil Jackson reveals striking difference between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

11x champ Phil Jackson reveals striking difference between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

Arjun Julka
|Fri Aug 19 2022

NBA Hall of Famer coach Phil Jackson points out the differentiating factor between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Arguably two of the most skilled players to play the sport of basketball, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, have their names etched in the history books of the NBA. Icons of the game, both MJ and the Black Mamba ruled the roost during their respective primes.

It’s no secret that Kobe regarded Air Jordan as his idol, emulating some of the Bulls guard’s moves too. In what many believe, the Mamba was the closest thing to MJ. Standing at 6ft 6, both the legendary guards had a similar skill-set, coupled with an unattainable competitive zeal to succeed.

Though Kobe made a herculean effort to surpass MJ, the latter continues to be a GOAT favorite. Nevertheless, the two multiple-time MVPs have one link in common, without whom they probably wouldn’t have achieved the level of success they did.

Also read: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and a $300 million legend are the only ones to have fifteen 30+ point games in a single playoff run

Top 15 coach of all time, Phil Jackson, was the architect behind two of the greatest dynasties in NBA history: the Bulls and Lakers.

Phil Jackson dishes out the biggest difference between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

In many minds, the Zen Master is the greatest coach of all time, with 11 championships and three 3-peats to his credit. Phil, who coached MJ and Kobe during their primes, had an in-depth perspective into the strengths and weaknesses of the two superstars, something he revealed in his book, Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success.

“Though at times he could be hard on his teammates, Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he’d yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had.”

Though MJ was labeled a tyrant by many of his teammates, he never seized to produce results, something the Mamba struggled with initially. The Lakers guard had his share of fall-outs with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.

Nonetheless, Kobe eventually figured his way out, leading the purple and gold to back-to-back championships in 2009-10 and was the Finals MVP each time.

“It was as if the other players were now his partners, not his personal spear carriers.”

While the Mamba couldn’t chase the ghost of Chicago, he came the closest to doing it.

Also read: $40 million NBA star admits Michael Jordan is unrankable, Kobe Bryant is #1 and LeBron James is #2


About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

A 26-year-old from Mumbai. A huge Basketball fan who regularly consumes hours of basketball content, be it matches, debates, or analysis. Some of my other interests include CrossFit, watching documentaries, collecting sneakers, and trying out different types of cuisines.

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