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Michael Jordan chooses between LeBron and Kobe (VIDEO)

Mar 3, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

The quotes were everywhere a couple of weeks ago, broadcasting to the heavens that Michael Jordan picked Kobe Bryant over LeBron James when asked to choose between two of the game’s best players.

As is often the case with these types of things, there’s nuance involved, and it isn’t as easy as simply choosing one side over the other.

With that in mind, we present to you the video clip of Jordan responding to the question: Kobe or LeBron?

Jordan clearly sees a lot of himself in Bryant, both in terms of the way Kobe plays the game, as well as the way he values the pursuit of championships above all else. There’s a kinship there that’s evident when Jordan is speaking about him.

But as you’ll see, Jordan wasn’t exactly dismissive of LeBron, and pointed out his strengths immediately before ultimately settling on Kobe because of the number of championships that reside on each player’s respective resume.

  1. teehov843 - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Man this is old, This was televised during all star weekend…

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 3, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      I guess LeBron won’t be taking his talents to Charlotte in ’14.

    • money2long - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      it never gets old when the greatest is asked for his input in one of the most debated topics in the last half decade.

  2. bhester1906 - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Didn’t he choose Kwame Brown over Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas, Shane Battier, & Richard Jefferson, too?

    • money2long - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      those are rookies that everyone is guessing on. kobe and lebron are established. there is no guess work here. his opinion is based off a body of work in the nba. people who point to his drafting ability as a way to downplay his evaluation of kobe and lebron are not very smart. gm’s looking back 5 yrs and having regrets in the draft is common.

  3. bucrightoff - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Robert Horry, Jim Loscutoff, Sam Jones, KC Jones > Michael Jordan, if you know, rings are the tiebreaker.

    • teehov843 - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      I really can’t fault him on picking Kwame Brown. Not saying all but many GM’s would have picked Kwame if they had the #1 pick.

    • money2long - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      you should only use the ring argument when comparing players who are in the same class

      if you want to separate one superstar from the next, using the ring argument works.
      you do NOT need the ring argument when trying to separate darko from ewing. ewing is obviously better even though darko has a ring.

      jordan CAN use the ring argument with kobe and lebron because they are both superstars.

      former all stars like richard hamilton and chauncey billups have rings. but you won’t in your right mind say they had a larger impact than a jerry west because west is a legend even without a ring. they are on different levels.

      so you using jordan’s logic against him makes little sense cause the ring argument should only be used to distinguish guys who are in the same “class”…regular players (role players) all stars, superstars, hall of famers. there are probably other levels in between. but you should obviously use your discretion when using the rings case. naming sam jones and horry makes you look bad. and leron also tried to do the same thing and he was not very smart to do that either.

    • moseskkim - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Though its obvious, let me explain why that’s an ignorant comment. We’re comparing the best of the best and were they able to win championships. Hence the question who’s better? So that negates horry, jud bueschler, fisher and others because they were never considered one of the elite in the nba.

      • mytthor - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        So there’s absolutely no question, guaranteed, it’s got to be Bill Russell?

        The bottom line is there’s no right answer to these dumb debates.

  4. ryanfort - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    This isn’t news

  5. frankiebooboo - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    1) who really gives a sh•t what MJ thinks.
    2) It doesn’t matter who he picks. They both would be a major upgrade over his current roster.

  6. 11thstreetmafia - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Why are you people mentioning Kwame the Brown Clown? Who cares about MJ the owner? This is about MJ the player. The guy was the best ever. EVER.

    • mazblast - Mar 3, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Jordan the player? Incomparable. Jordan the player picker? Hopelessly inept. This is more about the latter than the former.

  7. losanginsight - Mar 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    The moral of the story is LBJ needs tp win more rings without an * next to it.
    Kobe is still playing at a hight level 17 years in and 5 Rings deep.

    • cullenand99 - Mar 3, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      How does LeBron’s championship last year have an asterisk next to it?

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        1. The refs cheated the entire playoffs.
        2. It wasn’t a full season.

        This is obvious to any objective viewer.

      • borderline1988 - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        I have a feeling that if Lebron wins 7 rings, MJ will still pick Kobe.

      • cullenand99 - Mar 3, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        The Heat played the same amount of games as the Spurs, Lakers, Thunder, Knicks or any of the other teams in the NBA, genius. You’re willing to say anything to discredit LeBron’s accomplishments, aren’t you?

  8. zxrated - Mar 3, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    I find it interesting how LeBron fans get all butt hurt mad over MJ’s choice. I pose this question, how many of you truly believe LeBron will still be performing at the same rate he is now in 2018?

  9. kb2408 - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    I’m anxious to see what type of player LeBron is at thirty four when a lot of his athleticism is gone. What Kobe is doing in his 17th season is unprecedented for a perimeter player. LeBron is one of the five to ten best players ever but he does not have the skill set that Kobe has or MJ had.

    • money2long - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      kobe knows every basketball move. lebron is great 5 on 5. the reason kobe is able to play at a high level still is because he’s literally learned every possible basketball counter in the book. he doesn’t need athleticism even though he still has it. i expect lebron to pass a lot more by 34 and i expect him to convert more to a swiss army type pf.

    • borderline1988 - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      One could argue that Lebron might even be better in his older years b/c he by far has the best post game compared to MJ and Kobe, and is a much better passer than either of those 2 – both skills he can utilize even when he’s a step slower.
      He’ll just have to adjust his game somewhat, but his game has been evolving his entire career, so I think we can trust him to do exactly that.

      And he might not look as smooth, but it’s not like Lebron can’t shoot..he’s a pretty decent shooter himself.

    • tcclark - Mar 3, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      I disagree with your last statement. I think LeBron most definitely has the same skill set as Kobe or MJ. He has the physical ability to be not only the most dominate player in NBA history, but the most dominate athlete of all time. 6’8 260 pound men with his athleticism is a one in a billion find. LeBron’s problem is mental. LeBron isn’t willing to do whatever it takes to win like Kobe or MJ do. LeBron wants to be an entertainer. He wants to have the fans adore him. Did you ever see MJ or Kobe do pregame showoff dunks? Did you see the powder throw before the games from either of them? Of course not. Michael didn’t care one bit about the fans. I mean the man quit basketball to play minor league baseball at one point. That was a huge disappointment for the fans and he didn’t care. LeBron wants to be loved and that is holding him back from being great. It has nothing to do with the skill set. He wants to be great more than he wants to win. The late game shots are so tough for him because he is worried about so many things – the fans, his legacy, what the guys on ESPN are going to say, how his teammates are going to react – all of which have nothing to do with winning or losing. Those shots were much easier for Kobe or MJ. For them, they had nothing to lose. They were already losing the game, so if they missed the shot they didn’t lose anything else. If they made it, they won. That’s all that matters to them and that’s what separates the great from the legendary. It’s not the skill set. It’s all mental.

      • mytthor - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        This is absolutely ridiculous. I mean aside from claiming you know what another man you’ve never met is thinking.

        Pregame showoff dunks? You could make the same argument in reverse about Jordan being in multiple dunk contests and Kobe also being in one, but LeBron refusing to be in one. LeBron’s powder throw is directly taken from Jordan’s powder clap thing. Besides you’re saying LeBron cares what people think so he’ll never be the greatest, but “being the greatest” isn’t an objective achievement; it’s based ON WHAT PEOPLE THINK.

        Pull your head out of where you’ve stuck it.

      • tcclark - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Michael didn’t do the dunk contests to show off to the fans, he did them to win. You can’t say the same thing about LeBron’s pregame dunks.

        Micahel didn’t care about being the greatest, he cared about winning. Michael has always cared about winning more than everything. If Lebron stopped thinking about what everyone thought of him and just played to win the game, he could surpass Jordan. But that’s not who he is. He’s an entertainer, Michael was a warrior.

        And I know about as much as what they’re thinking as you know about who I have and haven’t met. It’s an opinion based on observation. If people didn’t form opinions about players based on observation there’d be no ESPN (for better or worse).

  10. prourke22 - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    LeBron doesn’t have the skill set I f kobe or MJ? You are correct sir, he had a BETTER skill set. I’m tired of people looking at scorers as being great basketball players.

    now can LeBron be talked about the being better than kobe, maybe. Michael, not yet. please the him play another few years before the comparison.

    But, if you look at the all around game, shooting, passing, defending and rebounding LeBron has better numbers than both.

    What can kobe and Michael do that LeBron can’t? what can LeBron do that kobe and Michael can’t? to me the answer is easy. first question is nothing, 2nd, LeBron can defend at least for a brief period of time in games defend all 5 positions

  11. divan22 - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    1) Mike, you’re wrong. LeBron’s better than Kobe’s ever been. It’s not even close.

    2) To say that LeBron doesn’t have Kobe’s “skill set” is laughable. He’s better than Kobe in nearly every important facet of the game.

    (cue the “except for being clutch and winning da ringz!!1!1” nonsense)

    • tampajoey - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Yeah, because YOU know so much more about basketball than Michael Jordon? LMFAO

      • goobazooka - Mar 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        I’d be willing to bet he can at least spell Michael JordAn’s name correctly. But it’s not like he’s the best player of all time or anything, so I could see how a knowledgeable basketball fan such as yourself might not know how to spell it.
        Maybe you should head on over to prohockeytalk or somethin, champ.

      • tampajoey - Mar 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        @goobazooka – get your lips off Lebron’s C0CK… his love juice on your chin isn’t a good look.

      • goobazooka - Mar 4, 2013 at 3:00 AM

        Not once did I say anything about Lebron, killer. I’m not a heat fan, not a die hard Lebron fan, not a Kobe lover/hater. Please, point out to me where exactly I mentioned Lebron James. You seem to be the one obsessed with the man here…
        The only reason I responded to your post at all was that I absolutely could not believe that someone who doesn’t even know Michael Jordan’s name would have the audacity to show his face on a forum relating to basketball, never mind call out other people on their opinions.
        Who are some of your other favorite players, junior? Walt Chamberland perhaps? Magic Johnston? Scottie Poppen?
        Maybe you’re more old school and you’re down with Jerry East and Oscar Robinson?

        Go on home with yourself, little tyke.

  12. rodge1 - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Who cares what a guy with a Hitler-mustache says?

  13. sdemp - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Labron might be bigger and stronger than Kobe, but that doesn’t necessarily equal better.

    Labron will he ever have the intangibles to be considered the “GOAT”. Labron should be compared to the greatest athletes to play in the NBA, not the greatest basketball players.

    • borderline1988 - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      If by intangibles you are referring to better passing skills, better defense, higher game IQ, better at making the players around you better, and overall being a more efficient basketball player – than Lebron wins over Kobe by a country mile.

      If you are referring to the ‘I need the ball late in the 4th quarter so that I get all the glory in the 30% chance that my shot falls through’ intangible, then you are correct in that Kobe would win.

      I can’t even believe you think Lebron shouldn’t even be compared to the greatest basketball players. How does Kobe enter the conversation when he has only 1 MVP? Lebron has 3, and most likely a 4th will be coming his way this year. How many players in history have 4 MVPs? How about 4 MVPs before the age of 30?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      Labron might be bigger and stronger than Kobe, but that doesn’t necessarily equal better.

      I really don’t understand how this is up for debate. Kobe’s best rebounding season was 6.9/g in ’02-’03. Lebron has bettered that 8/10 years. Kobe’s best assist season was 6.0/g in ’04-’05. Lebron has bettered that in 8/10 years and tied it in a 9th.

      Kobe is a better scorer, Lebron is a better player. And even the scorer title is up for debate when you see they have the same career 3PT % and Lebron’s career FG% is better than any Kobe has ever put up.

      If your comeback argument is rings, then you must admit that Russell > Jordan and it’s not close.

  14. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Kobe’s game is polished, just like Jordan’s was. LeBron is in his 10th year is still getting by on superior athleticism and brute strength. His footwork ain’t nowhere near Kobe or Jordan’s.

  15. jessethegreat - Mar 3, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    As a Laker fan, I am grateful to have seen Kobe in Lakers uni this long. Mamba has the same drive as MJ.

    Lebron is a great player, but like others have stated, he is dominant, but he just wants to be liked. Lebron gets down when the talking heads rip apart his game. That kind of stuff fuel/ed Kobe and MJ. Part of MJ’s and Kobe’s success comes with their selfishness. Both truly want/ed the ball for the last shot… Lebron doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but in order to join the other two’s league he’s going to have to start demanding the ball at the end.

    Think about it like this… When the chips are down, who do you want on your team to bring them back. Lebron has too much fun. Kobe and MJ hate/d losing. Kobe and MJ were the most competitive in the game.

  16. sdemp - Mar 3, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    LaBron isn’t even the best player of his era. . . I believe Durant will have more accomplishments (Championships) than LeBron when all is said and done.

    • mytthor - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Great way to win an argument; sharing your “beliefs.”

      • tcclark - Mar 3, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        he’s making a prediction…. do you have hard evidence of the future? Don’t get so butt-hurt over people’s opinions

  17. hatesycophants - Mar 3, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Bill Russell is the greatest professional basketball player ever.

  18. dwmc23 - Mar 3, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    It’s all about the hardware. Lebron will get there…assuming health.

  19. thisisether - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    EVERYONE is taking this out of context. Jordan did not generalize “that if you have more rings, you’re the better player, and that goes for any and every player”…he is simply using CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS as a tiebreaker between 2 great players. reporters and dummies like you guys have run with this comment.

    that’s what reporters do. They take your comments out of context and then ask other players about what you said. Hence, Lebron catching the attitude when asked about this.

  20. adrianbulls - Mar 4, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    LJ knows there is no I’s in TEAM better than them. He is not trying to be better than MJ or Kobe. He is not trying to be the highest paid player. He makes his own teammates and fans happy.

  21. loungefly74 - Mar 4, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    “Jordan clearly sees a lot of himself in Bryant, both in terms of the way Kobe plays the game, as well as the way he values the pursuit of championships above all else. There’s a kinship there that’s evident when Jordan is speaking about him.”

    That paragraph speaks volume and nails it on the head for MJ’s comment. Is Lebron the most talented player? Yeah…Yeah he is. But MJ wants the guy who has the drive like he did…and Kobe fits that bill much more than Lebron ever will. birds of a feather…

  22. soopreme - Mar 4, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Jordan was talking about the complete body of work for their respective careers.
    With everything being equal and both in their primes after 10 years in the league would be the best way to ask this question.
    Any who would take Kobe over Lebron with everything being equal would have to be on dope or dog food!!

  23. losanginsight - Mar 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Unless you have a time machine or are from the future you have no idea how Lbj will look in year 17 of his career. Jordan is looking at it without his hater glasses on.

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