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Jordan called Kobe just a “top 10 guard” all time, Kobe is fine with that

Oct 18, 2010, 9:33 AM EDT

Jordan talks with Bryant Getty Images

Michael Jordan is a competitor, to this day. Remember his Hall of Fame speech? That fire still burns, even if that passion will not be reflected in the quality of the team he owns in Charlotte.

So with Kobe Bryant one ring away from tying Jordan’s six, you know there will be some comparing. And you know MJ will not give up his crown as the greatest of all time easily. So, Jordan said this about Bryant to Game Hunters, the USA Today’s video game magazine.

I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who’ve played by the time he is finished. Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the Top 10.

Of course, the throngs on the Web who are convinced Kobe can walk on water were insulted. Kobe just top 10? They are convinced he is knocking on MJ’s door for that top spot, that Kobe’s honor must be defended at every turn and that MJ has dared insult Kobe’s standing in the game.

Kobe’s thoughts? Meh. Whatever.

That’s basically what he told Marc Spears of Yahoo.

“It’s an accurate statement,” Bryant said. “I’m definitely one of the top 10 guards. It could mean two, it could mean one, it could mean four or five. I’m definitely one of the top thousand. Look, I know how he feels about me.

“There have been a lot of great guards to play the game. For me to sit here and say, ‘He should have said top five,’ that’s disrespectful to the other guards that I’ve watched…

“I don’t look at it as motivation,” said Bryant, who hasn’t talked to Jordan since the Lakers played at Charlotte last season. “I’ve never given it thought that I wanted to get six to catch Michael. His six and my six are different. That’s not to say that his were more challenging than mine because I had to play a different role and do something out of character my first three. They’re just different.

“It steps into a territory that only a select few have ever been to. I understand. That’s what special to me, that I’m this fortunate to have this opportunity. So, let’s try to make the most of it.”

The real test is this — will seven years after Kobe retires, will there be a Kobe revival in the NBA 2K23 game?

  1. omniusprime - Oct 18, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Come to think of it Michael Jordan is just a top 10 guard. I wouldn’t make too much of what Michael said since he’s worried Kobe will overtake him in championship rings and is trying to protect his place in NBA history. Kobe Bryant is the greatest basketball player in the world and the Repeat World Champion Lakers will Threepeat next June!

  2. hnirobert3 - Oct 18, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    What MJ did was make such an impact to the game that we’re dying to find someone else to replace him. Kobe is nowhere near the same level of MJ, and there’s nothing wrong with that. MJ is very full of himself, but when you’re the greatest player ever (depending on how you view Bill Russell) you have a right to be.

  3. tubal22 - Oct 19, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    That was actually pretty a pretty mature response by Kobe. He just gained a little more respect from me.

    MJ is far and away #1.

    Kobe is easily top 50 all time, maybe even top 10 all time.

    But he’s no MJ.

    • blktone - Oct 19, 2010 at 2:00 AM

      i agree 100% with tubal22

  4. chitownmatt - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Kobe’s response was mature and very sportsmanlike.

    And when you think about it, there were plenty of people who might have said the same thing about MJ back in 1994 when he was 33.

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