Michael Jordan’s retirement from the National Basketball Association (NBA) left a huge void that pundits, analysts and just about everyone else has tried to fill with comparisons to the greatest basketball player of all time. We hear it all the time “LeBron James is the next Michael Jordan” or “Vince Carter is the next Michael Jordan.” When all is said and done however MJ believes only one person deserves that title and it’s LeBron James.
Jordan book writer Roland Lazenby tweeted on Sunday:
Kobe’s ultimate competition is MJ. That’s why MJ watches him. MJ made people think what he was doing wasn’t human. Ditto the Kobester.
I never said Kobe was better than MJ. MJ just told me Kobe’s the only one to have done the work, to deserve comparison.
The comparison to Kobe Bryant in many ways makes sense, after all both men have the same type of work ethic, putting in long hours when others have quit for the day, studying the game and understanding their opponents. Kobe Bryant has also shown very few signs of slowing down which could mean a long career much like Michael Jordan but hopefully without the various retirements to mare an otherwise impressive career.
It’s still to call anyone the “next Jordan” but regardless of stats, years played, respect earned by players, coaches, reports and fans there is obviously only one Michael Jordan. Gaining Jordan’s respect on the other hand, regardless of how great your career ends up being has to be a huge honor, even for someone as arrogant as Kobe Bryant.
Would you agree that Kobe Bryant is the closest comparison to Michael Jordan we’ve had since his retirement?