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Friday, June 13, 2008

Game Four Does Not Sway Kenny Anderson's View of Kobe Bryant

The cliche goes that the media builds you up only to tear you down. After years of not giving Kobe Bryant the MVP votes that he deserved when he was clearly the best player in the league, this season the media selected him as the MVP and began making the tiresome comparisons to Michael Jordan that everyone--including Bryant--is tired of hearing. The easiest, color by numbers story to write in the wake of the Celtics' brilliant comeback victory over the Lakers starts with the words "Kobe Bryant should never again be compared with Michael Jordan." As I have stated in this space many times, I give Jordan the edge over Bryant in terms of skill set and in terms of overall career accomplishments; however, Bryant is the closest thing to Jordan in terms of skill set and work ethic since Jordan retired. Nothing that I saw in game four of the Finals changed my opinion on either of those issues. As I wrote in my game recap, "The case for Jordan's superiority over Bryant should be made based on a comparison of their skill sets, not on the basis of Bryant not being able to lead an inferior supporting cast to victory in the Finals over the best team in the league...If this game proved anything it proved that Bryant needs more than one one-time All-Star to lead the Lakers to a series victory over a deep team that has three future Hall of Famers."

Like many other mainstream media lemmings, Jim Rome is going to run with the easiest story to tell until he falls right over the cliff. Interestingly, former All-Star guard Kenny Anderson refuses to fall for the company line. Today on "Jim Rome is Burning," Rome asked Anderson if he buys the comparisons of Bryant to Jordan and Anderson answered, "As far as individual (skills), Kobe is right there. He's a great player. But now you have to see the supporting cast. I didn't feel that the Lakers' supporting cast could match up with Boston's supporting cast and it's being proven now. Derek Fisher and Kobe (are) the guys that are playoff ready. These other guys--Pau Gasol, Farmar--they are inexperienced right now."

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:00 PM



At Friday, June 13, 2008 6:55:00 PM, Blogger $9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

In a Game 7 loss to Orlando when he was about Kobe's age, Jordan did this: 8- 19 (42%), 6 turnovers, 70% from the line.

Game 1 of that series: 8-22 (36%) 8 TO, 19 points.

Jordan was great, but they all had bad games. That was wonderfully explained in the earlier recap of the Lakers-Celtics series.

At Saturday, June 14, 2008 1:51:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Yes, there are many examples of all-time greats who had bad playoff games and even bad playoff series.

I have no problem with someone saying that Jordan was greater than Bryant but people are going overboard when they say that Jordan would never shoot a certain percentage or that his team would not lose a 24 point lead. Jordan had his share of poor shooting nights and if Jordan had carried a team with no current All-Stars into the Finals versus a team with three current All-Stars who is to say what would or would not have happened? Jordan was never in that exact situation.

This series is more about what Boston is doing well collectively than any alleged shortcomings of Bryant's. The Celtics' defense is keyed in to stop Bryant and the Lakers can only win if they get a certain amount of production from the rest of their roster.

At Sunday, June 15, 2008 9:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Obviously you and everyone else knows that was the shortened season Jordan played when he had come back from baseball. Everyone knows he was not in playoff shape, and for you to happen to have picked that one series to make your point gives us an indication of your motives and what you really believe about this comparison.

At Sunday, June 15, 2008 1:41:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


MJ had some poor shooting games in the '93 series versus the Knicks but the Bulls won those games anyway because Pip came up big. MJ was 1-9 in playoff games before Pip joined the team.

I think that MJ was greater than Kobe--but one playoff game by Kobe cannot prove or disprove that. It takes a team to win a championship. No one--not even MJ--can do it by himself. Kobe has shot .493 from the field in this year's playoffs, which is a remarkable percentage for a shooting guard, particularly in the current era during which defense is so highly emphasized. Kobe shot .500 or better from the field in 10 of 15 playoff games while leading the Lakers to the Western Conf. Championship. That is why knowledgeable basketball people like Kenny Anderson don't leap to conclusions on the basis of one game.


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