Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of the greatest players in NBA history.
Inevitably, because of their similar playing styles and undeniable success, they often have been and continue to be compared.
One person who did this was their former head coach, Phil Jackson.
Jackson won six championships with Jordan at the helm of the Chicago Bulls, and then another five with Bryant and the Lakers.
In his 2013 book, Eleven Rings: The Soul Of Success, Jackson described in great detail the difference between Jordan and Bryant.
For him, it came down to leadership.
“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,” Jackson wrote.
“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 then took it one step further.
“It was as if the other players were now his partners, not his personal spear-carriers,” he added.
The dynamic between Jordan and Bryant has always been a fascinating one. Jordan himself has been quite blunt about his relationship with Bryant. Along the same lines, he also once famously gave a very telling answer when asked to choose between Bryant and LeBron James.
After Bryant’s passing, Jordan also shared the final text message exchange he had with the Lakers legend.
Lori Harvey 👀👀https://t.co/CNNIxZcCZX
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 18, 2022
Big picture, the comparisons between Jordan and Bryant are to be expected.
They’ll likely to continue for a long time.
But Jackson’s unique perspective, having coached both, can’t be dismissed.
If he truly believed Jordan was the better leader of men, it’s hard to argue with his assessment.