Kerry Kittles claims that Kobe Bryant was a more skilled player than Michael Jordan because of how unpredictable he was.
Coming into the league straight out of high school in 1996, Kobe Bryant did not have many comps as he was merely 17 years old. The data on who he is as a player was not as vast as it would’ve been if he had gone to college and played against 19-23-year-olds.
However, if there was one player that could be seen within Kobe, in terms of playstyle and even the mindset with which they approach the game, it would have to be Michael Jordan.
Later on, Kobe would admit that he did indeed model his game after the 6x champ. Even if he did not admit this, it was obvious that he studied Michael Jordan on-court moves through and through.
Everything from the fadeaways, the footwork out the mid-post, the quick first step into a pull-up jumper, and of course, the dunks. These were all a staple of Kobe’s game; moves that he undoubtedly picked up from the ‘GOAT’.
With both careers having reached their end, many wonder, “Was the remix better than the original?”
Kobe Bryant was more skilled than Michael Jordan, according to Kerry Kittles
Former New Jersey Nets player Kerry Kittles played against both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in his 8-year career that spanned from 1996-2004.
He played against the latter in the Finals, in a series that would cement the Lakers’ early 2000s 3-peat. It was during this series that he would realize who was better: Kobe or Jordan?
“Kobe, to me, was just so hard to guard because he didn’t have any weaknesses. With most players back then, you could key in on tendencies, but he didn’t have tendencies! He had countermoves and then more countermoves.”
“Kobe was more skilled than Jordan, but Jordan was more effective than Kobe. Jordan was a little more predictable. With Kobe, you didn’t know what he was going to do because he didn’t know what he was going to do.”
“That’s the most dangerous player, when you think about it. as far as trying to guard him one-on-one, you didn’t know what he was going to do. At least with Mike, you had a little bit of an idea that he wanted to do. Kobe was the toughest matchup for me and the hardest to guard.”
Kittles does have some great points here. After all, going up against a player who openly took shots from behind the backboard and actually made them should be considered less predictable.
However, he may be underrating MJ’s predictability when it came to knowing what he was going to do next. This is simply because MJ had one of the best footwork in the history of the league.
He could manipulate defenses to do whatever he wanted them to do. When it comes to choosing between Kobe and Jordan however, there really is no wrong answer here.