Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the best shooting guards this generation has seen, and has been compared to Michael Jordan. Few NBA fans are not shy to even say that Kobe is even better than Jordan.
In fact, the two do have many things in common. Both are extremely competitive, both have mean fade away jumpers, the same 6'6 height and numerous buzzer beaters in their careers.
However, the debate of whether Kobe is better than Jordan vanished quickly after the devastating loss of the Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks in the last Western Conference Semi finals (Mavericks swept Lakers 4-0).
The recent fall of Lakers is not the only reason that Kobe should not be considered better or even equivalent to Jordan's legacy. We list a few reasons below.
1) Jordan Never Lost in the Finals, Winning Six Finals MVPs
Michael Jordan has achieved three-peat twice, winning six total NBA championships. For each championship, he has won the MVP title.(Jordan may have won 8 straight NBA championship not he have retired two years playing baseball).
On the other hand, Kobe has won 5 NBA Finals. However, Kobe was not the main player to lead the Lakers to the three-peat but Shaquille Oneal took all the MVPs. Also, last year's finals MVP he did win against the Celtics was a bit controversial, with many experts saying that it should have been given to Pau Gasol.
On top of that, Kobe has lost the NBA Finals twice losing to Detroit Pistons (2004) and the Boston Celtics (2008). Even for the regular season MVP title, Jordan has five while Kobe has one.
So, Jordan is clearly ahead of Kobe in terms of NBA Finals achievement and performance.
2) Jordan Played Better in the Playoffs
Michael Jordan's main strength was the he upped his game during the playoffs.
He's regular season average scoring was 30.1 points per game (which could have been higher if he didn't return to Wizards when he was 38). And his scoring average was 33.4 points in the playoffs . In fact Jordan's rebound and assists average was higher in playoffs than the regular season as well.
However, Kobe's scoring average during the playoff (25.4 ppts) is just slightly higher than his regular season average (25.3 ppts). Also his rebounding average drops in the playoffs from 5.3 per game to 5.1 as well as his assists per game. (4.7 assists per game in regular season,4.8 in playoffs)
The stats clearly show that when the games counted, Michael Jordan dominated opponents and upped his game during playoffs. Also, Michael Jordan has won the titles without dominant centers. (Kobe had Shaq and Gasol in their prime)
3) Jordan Has Better Stats
Michael Jordan beats Kobe easily in statistics numbers. Jordan had better scoring, rebounds, assists and steals average than Kobe.
Jordan scored 4.8 more points , 0.9 more rebounds , 0.6 more assists.0.3 more blocks and 0.8 more steals per game than Kobe throughout his entire career (this is for regular season and the gap is bigger for the playoffs game). Jordan has 0.2 less turnovers per game than Kobe as well.
After all, Jordan performed better than Kobe in all metrics that counts in basketball.
Michael Jordan has also won 10 scoring titles while Kobe has won only one scoring title in his career.
4) Jordan Won More NBA First Team Awards
Jordan was also arguably one of the best all-rounded player to lockout the opponents winning 10 All-NBA First Teams (1987-1993, 1996-1998). Kobe also won 9 All-NBA First Team, one short of Jordan.
All this numbers and stats clearly show that Michael Jordan was on another level than Kobe. There was no debate or argument whether Jordan was the best player in the league while he was in his prime. However, there are numerous debates even in the current NBA if Kobe is the best (many argue Lebron, Wade, Durant or Rose is better than Kobe).
Most of all, Phil Jackson, who has coached them both and won championships with them both has said Kobe has patterned himself after Michael, and there are a lot of identical things there, but it's one thing to hope to be like him, it's another thing to be like him....
I'm with [ESPN's] Bill Simmons on this, he says. We have to take Michael Jordan out of the equation. Stop comparing anyone to Michael Jordan. It's just not fair. He was remarkable. Kobe's in his own sphere.
He doesn't shoot the same percentage [.455] as Michael [.497]. He has the same characteristics as Michael, but he's not the same player. It takes nothing away from him - he's a great player in his own right.
However, Kobe still has few years left in his tank to get more titles to match Jordan's title number or even surpass. But whatever Kobe achieves more, it is more than likely that he will never surpass the legacy of Michael Jordan.