Ever since Kobe Bryant became a household name with the Los Angeles Lakers more than a decade ago, the superstar guard has gotten comparisons to arguably the greatest player to have ever played the game in Michael Jordan.
One player that saw the emergence of Jordan firsthand and also witnessed Kobe’s rise to superstardom is Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson. The five-time NBA champion basically passed the torch to Jordan in the early ’90s and watched Kobe become arguably the best player in the league shortly after Jordan called it career.
Magic was asked his opinion on who he thought was better, Kobe or Jordan, while making an appearance at Long Beach State recently. Magic’s response was a little surprising considering his allegiance to the Lakers.
According to Chris Trevino of the L.A. Daily News, Magic went with Jordan or Kobe:
“Jordan over Kobe, even though I like Kobe a lot and Kobe is my man,” said Johnson. But Michael Jordan never lost a Finals. Six trips and 6-0.
“I love Kobe, but he is not Michael, but he’s the closets to (him) that we have ever seen. Kobe got game.”
Kobe’s game developed into almost an exact replica of Jordan’s over time. Once Kobe starting winning championships, the comparison got even closer with Kobe in contention to potentially surpass Jordan’s ring total and earn the distinction as the greatest player of all-time.
After beating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in 2010, Kobe took one step closer to matching Jordan winning his fifth ring. Unfortunately, the Lakers began to fall apart the following season and haven’t been the same since.
With Kobe signing a two-year contract extension, the window of opportunity is closing quickly for the future Hall of Famer as he continues to pursue the elusive sixth ring. Chances are definitely not in Kobe’s favor moving forward with the Lakers potentially at the beginning of an extensive rebuilding process.
Kobe Bryant Responds To Sterling’s Racist Comments, ‘Should Not’ Own The Clippers