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Kevin Durant: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are greatest of all time

Mar 14, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant,

Michael Jordan is commonly accepted as the best NBA player of all time, though occasionally someone else believes a different player belongs No. 1.

Consider Kevin Durant among those dissenters. At least partially

Durant on Kobe Bryant, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (hat tip: Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball):

“He’s the greatest of all time. His skill is second to none. Him and MJ are neck and neck as far as skill,” Durant said. “Kobe is the top two best ever in just having skill, footwork, shooting the 3, shooting the pull-up, posting up, dunking on guys and ball handling. Kobe and Jordan are 1 and 1A.”

There’s a difference between being the greatest of all time and having the best skillset of all-time. Players like Shaquille O’Neal took repeatedly took advantage of a smaller skillset, and that still yielded great results.

But either way, I think Durant is overrating Kobe.

Durant and Kobe are friends, as Medina’s article lays out. It’s understandable that Durant is biased toward Kobe, and many of Kobe’s contemporaries respect his game – as they should.

Jordan, though, was on another level. There’s a reason Kobe modeled his game after Jordan.

It’s really no disrespect to Kobe to say he’s one of the all-time greats but still behind Jordan.

104 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. azarkhan - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    A silly argument. There is no single greatest player or a Mt Rushmore of players. If a player is in the Hall of Fame, he was a great player, period.

    • anjohn39 - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      I don’t know what all the fuss is .Durant just confirmed what more than a few greats have mentioned before .Like Durant said we have a short memory but what Kobe was doing , no 1 current has done or is doing scoring wise..I don’t even know how its even a discussion .At some point people need to realize that Kobe is this generation MJ. I think kobe has more 50 point games than every current nba player combined

  2. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    People don’t even mention defense these days. How many times was MJ all-defensive 1st or 2nd team? How many times did he lead the league in steals (or come close)? Kobe can’t touch Jordan in this area. Also, MJ almost always shot .500 or better. Kobe is an all-time great scorer. MJ is the greatest PLAYER of all-time. People are dying to finally give that crown to someone else, but it won’t happen for a long time.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 15, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      For the record, Kobe is 9 times all NBA Defense first team, three times second team.

      • topdawg4ever - Mar 15, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        Upon which Phil Jackson laughed.

  3. Waxxx4321 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    No way today has the pedigree or caliber of players during the 80’s and 90’s Kobe didnt have much competition. And every time Kobe shot the ball hes like “Im Jordan” this is a non issue Jordan was the greatest and for what it looks like always will be. Those who say Kobe is better than Jordan obviously missed a lot of the NBA at its peak the 90’s! You are entitled to your opinion but they are like excuses everybody gots one and this is a Joke!

    • anjohn39 - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      Kobe is old school he played against MJ, Clyde , Barkley , Robinson and Patrick. They still used the hand check. That era after Jordan was crazy .. Iverson, Kidd , ray allen , Vince , Tracy , Steve Francis , Duncan ,weber just to name a few. Jordan wasn’t trying to guard iverson and neither would lebron in Iversons prime but kobe did > Whoever says far as skill set isn’t one of the best ever just doesn’t know basketball..MJ endorsed kobe himself..”he’s the only player that can be compared to me because he has put in the work ” oh and Mj and Kobe arn’t friends like that

  4. ebrownwareagle - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Soooo of you base it on STATS then KAJ is the best. IF you go RINGS then BILL RUSSELL IS THE BEST. And since Bob Horry has 7 he would be considered better than MJ. So what’s the base of the argument. Because outside of THE 3BALL, how is BIRD better? And outside of PASSING how is MAGIC BETTER? Both in terms of better than Kobe. And If MVP’s is the argument, then Steve Nash is better than Shaq and Kobe. He has 2 they have 2combined. Sooo what is the Standard? Because I for one was able to see KAJ, Magic,MJ,Bird, Shaq and Kobe. And as far as SKILL SET, Kobe is on Par with MJ. And he has 5 RINGS to show for it. Que the MJ has 6 argument that makes him better and that’s trumped by Horry having 7. Flawed logic. I challenge anyone to look up the guards in the MJ era and then look up the guards in Kobe era and I’m not so sure MJ played against the talent that Kobe did.

  5. Zammael - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Kevin Durant was drafted in 2007.
    Michael Jordan retired in 2003.

    Since KD did not play against Jordan, his opinion is just like anyone else’s: a spectator.


    • topdawg4ever - Mar 15, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      I love Durant but he’s wrong on this one. Guess he never saw Russell, Kareem, Bird, etc. play.

  6. tomtravis76 - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    It takes 5 players to put a team on the floor. Basketball can only distinguish guys by position.
    As of right now:
    PG- Magic
    2- Jordan
    3- Doctor J
    4- Tim Duncan
    5- Wilt

    You could make a squad up of Big O, Logo, LeBron, Mailman and Kareem or Stockton, Kobe, Bird, Petit and Shaq , so many others but I think the guys above sit at the top slightly above all others at their position.

  7. johnnywk - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    At least Kobe had a three-point game, and that’s not something he copped from Jordan. MJ will probably always be regarded as the best, but Kobe did have a little more diversity than he’s credited for.

  8. antistratfordian - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    lol. He’s gettin’ real salty now!

    • money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      Lol funny how kd finished off my argument from a whole back as to the difference between Kobe and lebron. How does it feel hearing it from someone who will win the MVP over lebron too? I like to hear things from people with basketball clout. Not strange, smug and biased guys behind their keyboard such as yourself

      I know this article pierces your soul. Whoops. I said pierce. Too soon ? Btw. What did u do with the truth’s headband ?

      • antistratfordian - Mar 14, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        The difference between Kobe and LeBron is Kobe has terrible shot selection, is inefficient, can’t read the floor or play defense or lead a team.

        Other than that… lol.

        Durant is allowed to be bitter – losing to LeBron all the time, it’s expected. He’s also allowed to be wrong, as are you. This is not new for either of you.

      • money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:50 PM

        hehehhehehehehe youre so bitter :)

      • zebra1020 - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:09 PM

        As for Anti’s comment below – Stop talking silly. Lebron’s bigger, better at blocking shots, and a more willing passer, but that’s all he’s got over Kobe in his prime. Kobe has a better handle, more moves and countermoves, a stratospherically better jump shot, and is overall more confident, competitive and clutch.

        Although Lebron is very talented, he’s the least confident player in crunchtime of anyone who is mentioned in best-ever discussions. And it’s all because he’s had legitimate doubts about his shooting ability, including free throws, when a game is on the line. He’s improved in that regard lately, but if Ray Allen and the refs hadn’t bailed him out in Game 6, he might have imploded from the weight of the criticism he would have received.

      • zebra1020 - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        Anti’s comment above.

      • money2long - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        in anti you trust?
        not a good idea in life

  9. 00maltliquor - Mar 14, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    As I’ve said before, Kobe is the 2nd best player ever. The End.

  10. firstsword36 - Mar 14, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    That is an ignorant comment KD.

  11. kb2408 - Mar 14, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    So, let me see if I have this correct, Dan. Because Kobe and KD are friends KD has to kiss Kobe’s butt and say things he does not mean? And because Kobe patterned his game after MJ’s means he can’t be better than him? I am not saying Kobe is or isn’t but your logic for thinking he’s not is way off base. Obviously, you’re an MJ fan. I get that. But who is the true G.O.A.T. is subjective. All I know for sure is the two most skilled and fundamentally sound players I’ve ever seen are MJ and Kobe.

  12. zebra1020 - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    How can Kobe be anything but the best ever, in terms of overall skill, talent, and winning impact, when he’s MJ with a better perimeter jumper?

    Kobe also has more finals and only one less ring, with less overall help. MJ had at least two other present or future hall of famers starting beside him each time he won a championship. Kobe had only one for his first three, and maybe one (at best) for his last two.

    If they switched places, Kobe wins every ring that MJ did, but MJ probably doesn’t win Kobe’s last two rings because the Laker’s supporting casts in 2009 & 2010 weren’t talented enough.

    • tomtravis76 - Mar 14, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Kobe was on Shaqs team for the three-peat. Kobe was the leader of the other two.

      Kobe will never surpass mike as the greatest 2 guard to ever play, just won’t,sorry. Doesn’t mean Kobe isn’t great though.

    • csiegert4 - Mar 15, 2014 at 3:22 AM

      Kobe’s not even a top 10 player of all-time. He was a high volume scorer that didn’t contribute that much to the rest of the game. He was an average rebounder and passer, with a ridiculously high usage rate and somewhat inefficient in comparison to the guys who were better than him. He’s obviously great, or was, but not even in MJ’s realm.

  13. velocirep - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    “Remember, they learned from us, we didn’t learn from them.”

    Much of Kobe’s skill set was learned from Jordan, who taught us all how it could be packaged together better.

    Then added exceptional leadership skills and a drive that even Kobe couldn’t match, according to PhilJax

  14. divan22 - Mar 15, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    Hahahahaha Durant just killed his chances at landing a GM job after retirement.

    • csiegert4 - Mar 15, 2014 at 3:24 AM

      Why? MJ thinks the same thing…and look at him…ruining a franchise with his (obvious) horrific judgment of talent. I’ve never understood why we care what other NBA players think about one another, being really good at a sport doesn’t make you an expert talent evaluator – obviously – or else coaches, GM’s, etc would just be a who’s who of former NBA greats when in reality it’s more of a “who?” when talking about their playing career (if they had one at that level).

  15. knoxxlive - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    2 words “Generation Change” you can’t compare two different ERAs of players, one paved the way another set the bar, that’s like comparing two unlike twins

  16. ranfan12 - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Can’t just let the man have his idols lol

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