This is a head to head comparison between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
The “kobe bryant vs michael jordan head to-head” is a debate that has been going on for years. The two basketball players have won a combined 13 NBA Championships, but who would win if the two were to meet in a game of 1-on-1?
For over three decades, NBA fans have been spoilt. When Michael Jordan entered the NBA in 1984, he quickly established himself as the best basketball player on the planet. There were ten scoring championships and six Finals MVPs to go along with a large list of other achievements. In the 2000s, Kobe Bryant was the most accurate portrayal of Jordan, winning one three-peat and two extra crowns for a total of five championships.
It would be the finest one-on-one game we have ever seen if we could go back in time to watch each player in their peak. Instead, before Jordan retired in 2003, we were fortunate enough to witness their two teams play eight times. It’s still preferable than never witnessing the two players compete against one another.
Bryant clearly learned how to be a dominating player from Jordan as the years passed. Bryant moved from being a rookie seeing greatness to being the one who put it on display. These are the eight head-to-head contests in which Bryant and Jordan faced off.
The Lakers defeated the Bulls 123-129 in overtime on December 17, 1996.
0 AST, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2-5 FG (40.0 percent), 0-2 3PT, 1-2 FT Kobe Bryant: 5 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2-5 FG (40.0 percent), 0-2 3PT, 1-2 FT (50.0 percent )
30 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 10-13 FG (76.9%), 0-2 3PT, 10-14 FG, 10-13 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 FG, 10-14 (71.4 percent )
Bryant was a rookie at the time of their first encounter, while Jordan had just won his fourth NBA title. After taking a break, Jordan was in prime NBA form, while Bryant was just finding his bearings in the league. Bryant grew up idolizing Jordan and attempting to play like him. Bryant, who was selected straight out of high school, had to be anxious at this encounter.
Individually, Bryant didn’t make a good first impression, scoring just five points. Meanwhile, Jordan scored 30 points to remind everyone that he was still the greatest player in the NBA. Cut Bryant some slack since he just played nine minutes and came off the bench.
The Lakers defeated the Bulls 106-90 on February 5, 1997.
7 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 2-7 FG (28.6%), 1-2 3PT (50.0%), 0-0 FT for Kobe Bryant.
27 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 10-24 FG (41.7%), 2-5 3PT (40.0%), 5-6 FT for Michael Jordan (83.3 percent )
Bryant’s point total increased to seven in the second match, although he stayed in the same position as the first. Bryant was still acclimating to the NBA and developing as a player. Jordan was an MVP contender for guiding the Bulls to the league’s best record. You have to wonder how much Bryant studied while sitting on the bench watching him play.
Jordan had another outstanding performance with 27 points, the most of which came from his shooting. Despite Jordan’s strong performance, the Lakers as a team beat the Bulls by 16 points. Bryant started to regain his stride after a year of being outplayed by Jordan.
The Lakers defeated the Bulls 83-104 on December 17, 1997.
Kobe Bryant: 33 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 0 turnovers, 12-20 field goals (60.0 percent), 3-5 three-pointers (60.0 percent), 6-9 free throws (66.7 percent )
Michael Jordan: 36 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 12-22 field goals (54.5 percent), 1-2 three-pointers (50.0 percent), 11-12 free throws (91.7 percent )
Bryant had developed into a very talented basketball player by his second season in the league. Bryant demonstrated his ability to work hard throughout the summer by almost outscoring Jordan in their third encounter. Bryant led the Lakers with 33 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulls completely dominated the Lakers.
Jordan had his greatest overall scoring game in the head-to-head games versus Bryant, scoring 36 points. This includes a near-perfect free-throw performance. Bryant was on fire from the field, shooting 60% from the field, but Jordan came out on top one of the rare occasions in his career.
The Lakers defeated the Bulls 112-87 on February 1, 1998.
20 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 7-16 FG (43.7%), 2-6 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (33.3%), 4-7 3PT (3 (57.1 percent )
Michael Jordan: 31 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 11-16 field goal percentage (68.7%), 0-1 three-point attempt, 9-12 free throws (75.0 percent )
Despite being the better team on the court, the Lakers came close to defeating the Bulls by 30 points. Jordan had a great shooting night, but the Lakers were unstoppable on the court. Bryant scored 20 points for the Lakers while shooting almost 50% from the floor.
Jordan’s heyday would be one of the final times we’d see him play. Jordan resigned from basketball three years after the Bulls won their third consecutive title to complete the three-peat. With Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant had matured into a top player in the NBA, and the Lakers had taken over as the league’s greatest team.
The Lakers defeated the Wizards 103-94 on February 12, 2002.
23 PTS, 11 REB, 15 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 9-20 FG (45.0%), 0-1 3PT, 5-9 FT for Kobe Bryant (55.6 percent )
Michael Jordan: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 8-20 field goal percentage (40.0 percent), 0-0 three-point attempt, 6-8 free throws (75.0 percent )
Jordan was 38 years old in his first season back. He could still put up 20 points on any given night, but he was no longer the same guy. Since Jordan departed the NBA, Bryant was the closest version of Jordan that the fans could witness. Bryant had just completed two seasons in which the Lakers had won two championships and were in contention for a third.
In a head-to-head matchup, Bryant has the lone triple-double of the two players. Bryant had one point more than Jordan, but he also had 15 assists and 11 rebounds. The Lakers pulled away in the end after a hard-fought struggle between the two squads.
The Lakers defeated the Wizards 113-93 on April 2, 2002.
2 RED, 6 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 6-13 FG (46.2 percent), 0-0 3PT, 2-2 FT Kobe Bryant: 14 PTS, 2 RED, 6 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 6-13 FG (46.2 percent), 0-0 3PT, 2-2 FT (100 percent )
2 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1-5 FG (20.0 percent), 0-0 3PT, 0-0 FT for Michael Jordan.
Jordan not only had his worst game against Bryant, but also one of his worst performances in the NBA. Jordan just played 12 minutes for the first time in his career, but he was not hurt. While Bryant had a really bad game from his viewpoint, the coaching staff chose to play other guys. It didn’t matter in the end since the Lakers won by 20 points.
For both teams, this was an aberration of grandeur. Bryant only attempted 13 shots, whereas Jordan hit 20% of his attempts. It was also surprising because both players only made two free throws. Even the best players of all time had terrible games from time to time.
The Lakers defeated the Wizards 99-100 on November 8, 2002.
27 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 8-21 FG (38.1 percent), 0-0 3PT, 11-11. Kobe Bryant: 27 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 8-21 FG (38.1 percent), 0-0 3PT, 11-11. (100 percent )
Michael Jordan: 25 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers, 9-14 field goal percentage (64.3 percent), 0-0 three-point attempt, 7-12 free throws (58.3 percent )
It was a throwback matchup the following season when the two clubs faced. Jordan was very efficient, making 64 percent of his field goals. Despite his poor free throw shooting, he still managed to score 25 points in his 39th season. Jordan almost cost the Wizards the game in the end, but the squad was able to overcome his errors. Jerry Stackhouse’s one-handed jam gave the squad the game-winning field goal.
Despite having less points, rebounds, and assists than Bryant, Jordan outplayed him to some degree. Bryant was 8 of 21 from the field, while he took wiser shots. With that said, there’s a case to be made that Bryant had the better game, as he went 11 for 11 from the line, compared to Jordan’s 7 for 12. Jordan’s victory against Bryant would be his last, as the two would only meet once more.
108-94 on March 28, 2003
Kobe Bryant: 55 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers, 15-29 field goals (51.7 percent), 9-13 three-pointers (69.2%), 16-18 free throws (88.9 percent )
Michael Jordan: 23 points, 0 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 0-0 3PT, 3-4 FT, 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 10-20 FG (50.0 percent), 10-20 FG (50.0 percent (75.0 percent )
The all-time series’ last game felt like a passing of the baton. Jordan scored 23 points while hitting 50 percent of his shots. The Lakers, on the other hand, were just too good, and the Wizards were clinging to Jordan’s early years. Bryant’s outstanding performance led the Lakers to a rout of the Wizards.
Between Jordan and himself, Bryant scored the most points. Bryant scored 55 points while hitting 15 of 29 shots, including 9 of 13 from three-point range. It was a great effort from him, as he shot 69 percent from beyond the arc and 16 of 18 from the free-throw line. The league was aware that Jordan was going, and Bryant must have wanted to leave a lasting impression on his mentor.
Head to Head in the Workplace
NBA Photo Credit
Michael Jordan defeats Kobe Bryant 5-3. (Wins-Loss)
Kobe Bryant averages 22.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 3.9 assists per game, 0.9 steals per game, and 0.6 blocks per game.
Michael Jordan averaged 24.5 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, 3.6 assists per game, 1.1 steals per game, and 0.5 blocks per game.
These are two of the greatest shooting guards in history. If you look at the numbers closely, these two played virtually identical games against one other. When commentators compare Bryant to Jordan, it’s because they had such a comparable game, as well as a win-at-all-costs mentality.
It’s just a shame we didn’t get to witness Jordan and Bryant play when they were at the top of their game. Jordan’s early triumphs were while Bryant was just two years old in the league, while Bryant’s great seasons occurred after Jordan had been out of the league for three years. If Jordan hadn’t retired in 1998 and had continued to play from 1999 through 2001, they would have been some incredible games. The competition and respect would have been magnified even more, and who knows what stat lines would have been generated.
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