“He Loved Hanging Out” – Phil Jackson Explains the Biggest Difference Between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant‘s careers are strongly connected due to many similarities. Bryant looked up to Jordan and wanted to do everything he did, hoping to surpass Jordan’s achievements.

Both Jordan and Kobe won their titles with Phil Jackson as their coach. Jackson is the most successful coach in NBA history and played a big role in shaping both players’ careers. In his book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” Jackson mentioned that Jordan was more sociable than Kobe.

Phil Jackson on Michael Jordan vs Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant

“Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around,” Jackson said.

Jackson acknowledged that as Kobe progressed in his career, he became more open and approachable. Eventually, Kobe took on the role of a mentor and veteran player.

“But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road,” he added.

Kobe was the first player to publicly state that he wanted to be better than MJ, even though he won one less championship and four fewer Finals MVPs than Jordan. Many consider Kobe to be the second-greatest player in that position, just behind Jordan.

Phil Jackson claims Jordan was the better defender

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

In addition to what was mentioned before, Jackson also talked about how both players approached defense and who was stronger in that aspect of the game. Jackson favored Jordan, who is one of only three guards in NBA history to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

“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,” he added.

Jordan was named to the All-Defense team nine times during his career, while Kobe was named to the team 12 times. Kobe had a 20-year career to Jordan’s 15 years in the NBA. Jordan had natural athleticism and was a bigger defender in general, which contributed to his consistent defensive performance.

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