Phil Jackson compares Kobe and Jordan

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 21
Former Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson’s new book hits bookshelves Tuesday.

 

It’s the age-old question: Jordan or Kobe?

Everyone debates it, usually during a late night bar crawl with friends — everyone, that is, except the man that coached both players … until now.

Phil Jackson, who coached Michael Jordan to six titles and Kobe Bryant to five, finally touches on the greatest debate in basketball in his new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.” The 339-page book hits bookshelves Tuesday.

In it, Jackson paints the portrait of two very different players. Jordan was a born leader, whereas Bryant learned how to lead along the way. He also delves into their contrasting styles of play on the court.

“One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael’s superior skills as a leader,” Jackson wrote. “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. 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 in his bones.”

Of course, Jackson had his issues with a young Bryant. Many have speculated that those issues had to do with Jackson stepping away from the Lakers briefly in 2004.

“Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college,” Jackson wrote. “When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. 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.”

Jackson described Jordan as “more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe.”

These are just observations, though. Jackson went out of his way to heap praise on both players as two of the greatest to ever do it. In fact, Jackson felt the need to send out this tweet as more and more news outlets begin to run commentary from the book.

“Listen friends of bball; don’t get hung up on words,” Jackson tweeted. “I was most fortunate to have the chance to coach two of the greatest gds. EVER MJ/Kobe”


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