In his upcoming book Eleven Rings, legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson offers a comparative analysis of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and it turns out there’s really no comparison.
Laying out the players’ relative strengths side-by-side, Jordan, who is responsible for six of Jackson’s 11 rings with the Bulls, consistently prevails over Bryant, who played a leading role with the Lakers in the other five.
The Los Angeles Times has printed excerpts of the book, which is set for release on May 21, and Jackson paints Jordan as the better leader, shooter and defender.
“One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael’s superior skills as a leader,” Jackson said. “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.”
Jackson noted the “pronounced” difference in their accuracy, Jordan shooting almost 50% — an “extraordinary figure” — while Bryant had been at 45%.
“No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender. He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense.”