Kobe vs. Jordan, and Father Time E-Mail Thread

Today Dyslecix sent out the youtube clip above sparked a longer than expected e-mail chain that we figured was worthy of posting in this slow sports news day. We started with Lebron vs. Kobe. It turned into Kobe and how many more championships can he win, and ultimately ended with some comparisons to Jordan.

Chappy: Haha, did you see Matt’s post over the weekend saying Lebron dethroned Kobe as the most hated man in basketball?

Dyslecix: Yeah I sure did…that was a good post! I think Lebron will win a lot of people back down the road. The media is really driving the hate and the influence is pretty huge. If that team plays well and looks like they enjoy themselves, and makes a good impression during the season, I think people will come back around. Minus Laker fans of course.

By: Kobe, has been the best player from 2004-present time, and far greater than LeBron James now, and future LeBron James considering what he’s done in taking the cop out option to join Dwayne Wade, who is arguably better than him also.

Cali4Dre: I actually prefer people hating Kobe, so it spites them that much more when he makes those off-balance game winners, and wins 3 more rings in the next 5 years.  I think by next year the LBJ noise will have died down after they get to the Finals and lose to the Lakers…

Chappy: I still hate Kobe, but respect him much more than I used to. Living in LA it’s either watch the Lakers or Clippers… Not a tough choice, unless you like watching crappy hoops… I don’t think he’s going to get three more rings though. Two at most…

By: I’ve always hated Kobe because of his arrogance, and because he’s tried to mimic Jordan both on & off the court as oppose to being an original person, but his game is off the charts.  No one hits more difficult shots in critical moments than Kobe, and I’ve learned to respect his game immensely.  When Kobe rises up for a big shot, if you’re a Lakers fan, you’re already cheering, and if you’re not a Lakers fan, you’re already putting your hands over your head.  Clutch is everything.

Dyslecix: Kobe? I think Kobe has three more years in him….two rings in three years is doable…not more.

Cali4Dre: I would be happy with 2 I guess, that would still give him more than Jordan! Let’s remember Jordan won all six of his while he was in his 30’s, so Kobe’s chances of winning another 3 or 4 in the next 6 years aren’t that bad.

Chappy: Or do you mean four of his six after 30? He was 27/28 when he won his first in 1990-91 season…

Cali4Dre: So he won championships at 28, 29 and 30, skipped two years, and won again at 32, 33, and 34.  So Kobe could win 3 more considering Jordan came back to play one more time until he was 40.

Dyslecix: I just worry about the amount of miles Kobe has on his legs.

Chappy: My true question about Kobe is that he has a ton more miles on him than Jordan did at the same point in their respective careers. I doubt Jordan played as much as Kobe from age 18-21 (while he was in college). He also took that break in the middle which saved his body some beating, unless he was getting beaned a bunch by AAA pitchers!

Cali4Dre: Kobe hasn’t really had any major issues on his legs, it’s mostly been a shoulder injury and his hands, so I think it could bode well.  Again, if Jordan could come back and play into his 40s, I think Kobe can play until he’s 36 or 37, which gives him another 5 or 6 years in the league playing at a high level.  After that, he might still play but it wouldn’t be anywhere near the same level.  3 more rings is definitely doable.

Dyslecix: Nothing is wrong with his legs per say….We are just talking about the total number of miles/minutes he has logged on them. He’s gotta slow down at some point.

MCeezy: I haven’t seen anything to this point in his career that’s given me the impression he’s even close to the halfway point of his career. I mean, obviously he is, but he’s been playing at the same high level year in and year out.

Cali4Dre: I’ll bet if you tallied the number of minutes Jordan was forced to play for a Bulls team that didn’t have support like Shaq and Pau, plus all of his playoff minutes, I’ll be it works out to be fairly close at the same age, 31.  Let’s not forget that when Kobe was in his teens the first couple years as a pro, he didn’t get anywhere near major minutes, and he wasn’t playing on Olympic teams and stuff like Jordan did in ‘84 when he was only 21, and again in ‘92.

Chappy: Even in press conferences Kobe has admitted he’s getting old.

Cali4Dre: Hell, I think Jordan did more than just talk about getting old, he retired… twice!

Dyslecix: We can look this up pretty easily….. Just can’t get to NBA Reference until after lunch….would be really interesting to see. I know the first two years Kobe didn’t have starter minutes…25 per game maybe.

Cali4Dre: Actually less, his first two games he averaged more like 17 between the two seasons.  I got curious, so I’m working it out.  Jordan played 101 college games over 3 seasons… how many minutes per game do you think he averaged??  They don’t have minutes for college on NBA Reference, only games played in college…  I would say he must have averaged about 30 minutes a game considering he is in the NCAA HOF…

When Kobe was 20 he played much bigger minutes, 37.  He averaged more later on, in the 40s, but that’s his first big year…

So here’s the breakdown through the age of 31:

Jordan : 34,500 minutes  (includes playoffs, two partial seasons due to injury and comeback after retirement, and averaging 28 minutes in college)

Kobe : 39,000 minutes  (includes playoffs)

That’s really only about an NBA season and a half difference for these guys, and considering Jordan missed almost 2 full seasons due to injury and another season and a half playing baseball, Jordan would obviously have way more minutes.  BTW when Jordan went to play baseball, it wasn’t like he went to play Billiards.  Homeboy was still working out, running, and doing a lot of walking back to the dugout after strikeouts.

MCeezy: What about off the court conditioning? Kobe seems like he lives a healthier lifestyle than Jordan did. Maybe I’m just going off the cigar smoking, which probably was mostly later in life, but I can see Jordan getting after it out on the town a lot more than Kobe. Kobe’s probably had the equivalent of five glasses of champagne in his life. (yes, that’s one in the locker room after each championship)

By: I read an article saying that Kobe’s finger never fully healed going into the Playoffs, and will never fully heal, ever.  That injury may play a big role in terms of Kobe continuing on with his legacy.  We’ll see.

Dyslecix: Do we think the 39,000 minutes over each consecutive season he’s had is an extra ding on him? I’m not saying Kobe won’t be great or anything…..its a question of can he play at this UBER high level of play for another three seasons, as he heads towards 42, 44, 44 thousand minutes?

Chappy: I do agree that Jordan wasn’t sitting around during his time off, but I’m with Tony on this that pressurized NBA minutes year after year have to add up. And you have to admit he looked more beat up over the last couple years than Jordan did during his second three-peat… I’m not saying he wasn’t a force, but I still have a tough time seeing him win three more. I’m still sticking with two at most…

Cali4Dre: Ok, if you put it that way and only talk about minutes:  Jordan averaged 37 mpg for a full season when he was 39 years old, his final year.  He was playing some great basketball winning three more championships after 31, and then played at a fairly high level at 38 and 39.  So throughout his career including college and playoffs he played an estimated 52,000 minutes.  That would mean Kobe has a minimum of 4 solid years ahead of him at 3,000 minutes per year which is a little less than his average, and that’s just in minutes.  If Kobe plays two more years at a pretty high level after that til age 37, that’s still two years younger than when Jordan finally retired in age.  And you think Kobe won’t be playing til he’s 40?  Not saying at a high level, but the next 5 or so years will be a very high level.

Dyslecix: I like it…I like it a lot.

Chappy: I still don’t buy it. I don’t think Kobe won’t be able to keep it up for that long (5 years as you said). I don’t think I can be swayed from a three year window, and possibly two more championships. Would you say he’s still getting better? Personally I think he is already on the decline at least a little. I’m not saying he’s about to completely fall off the map, and not be a great player, but I think he has lost something. He needs his teammates more than Jordan did, and don’t forget about Durantula working all summer with his Zombie Sonics buddies just to beat the Lakers. The west won’t be a clear path for them forever.

Dyslecix: Can he keep that first step, can he continue to open up his own jumper, can he avoid major injury of any kind….etc. We have no idea.

But, he is very much in line with Jordan over the next 8 years which is interesting. I just remember Jordan changing his game as he got older (fade away 15 jumper anybody?)….We’ll see how Kobe changes his to be just as productive.

Cali4Dre: I’d say Pippen was a much better player in the second three-peat then he was in the first, especially after he led the team by himself for those two years.  By default Jordan was relying more on Pippen, especially considering Jordan’s PPG were down from the first three-peat both in the regular season and in the playoffs. Plus, there’s more than one way to win championships, and play high caliber basketball…

Chappy: I dunno, it’s not like Jordan’s numbers were that much down. 1 or 2 points!?! I agree Pippen was better in the second three peat, but five MVP’s and six finals MVP’s would say he was still the best player on the team and league… I still think Kobe has a better surrounding cast…

MCeezy: Yeah, I agree. It’s not by much though. But I don’t remember Jordan getting to take whole quarters off and letting Pippen or Paxson go to work. Kobe’s been known to play off the ball and let guys like Gasol or Artest carry the load for a while and save energy. Wonder if that lightens the workload over time as well.

Cali4Dre: But Kobe is the best player on the best team and in the league, no one is saying Pippen challenged Jordan for best on the team, but he was a top 50 player all time.  Don’t forget that, it’s important if you’re going to say Kobe relied on Pau and his other teammates, cause Pau is not a top 10 or even 20 center of all-time.  And Jordan’s points in the regular season were down by 4 a game, while playoffs was 2.  Pretty sure Kobe’s game will always rise in the playoffs as well.

Chappy: Can we get Phil Jackson on this e-mail chain to settle this for us?

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