In the eight matchups that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had against each other, the Black Mamba holds the edge with a 5-3 record.
Perhaps two of the greatest NBA players, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, were generational talents. Though they played in different eras, the two icons had a similar style of play.
It’s no secret that Kobe had modeled his game according to Jordan’s. The Lakers superstar’s ability to score the ball, followed by his competitive zeal, was quite similar to those of MJ’s.
Kobe entered the league in 1996 when Jordan was at the peak of his prime. The Bulls superstar had won his fourth title and was coming off a 72-10 season. However, the young Mamba never feared taking on MJ.
During the podcast (h/t Nick Schwartz of For The Win), Kobe said,
I was thinking in my mind, I didn’t care. I’m going to destroy this guy. I don’t care if I’m 18, I’m coming for blood.
However, things didn’t go as planned for the 18-year old Kobe, as Jordan would dominate the Lakers guard, scoring 30-points and winning in overtime.
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In the eight times that the two superstars faced each other, Kobe prevailed over MJ, 5-3. Nonetheless, 3 out of those 5 wins came when Jordan played for the Washington Wizards.
Kobe Bryant won 5 0ut of the 8 matches he faced Michael Jordan in the NBA.
Kobe and MJ were tied 2-2 when the latter was playing for the Chicago Bulls. His Airness averaged 31.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.8 SPG as a Bulls player against the Black Mamba. On the other hand, Kobe averaged 15.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 0.5 SPG.
Jordan would come out of his retirement during the 2001-02 season as a Wizard. However, the landscape had shifted during the time with Kobe as the new face of the league. The Lakers superstar was on a quest for a 3-peat in 2002.
MJ met Kobe 4-times as a Washington Wizards player. In those four meetings, Kobe emerged as the clear winner with a 3-1 record.
Kobe averaged 29.8 PPG, 7.0 APG, 6.0 RPG, and 1.3 SPG on a 45.8% shooting from the field and 64.3% from the 3-point line. MJ was no more his Airness during his stint in Washington as he averaged 18 PPG in his matchup against the Mamba.
Though Kobe had the lead in all his matchups against MJ, one cannot deny Jordan was far away from his prime as a Washington Wizard.