Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are two of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history. Although they played 8 games against one another, they were part of different eras, with Jordan’s career spanning 1984 – 2003 (with several periods of retirement between 1993 and 2003) and Bryant’s career beginning in 1996.
Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia on August 23rd 1978. He was the youngest of three children. His father, Joe Bryant, was a former Philadelphia 76ers player and former head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Bryant started playing basketball at age 3, and his favorite team was the Lakers. When he was 6, his father quit the NBA and moved the family to Italy. Bryant played soccer and learned French and Italian while there, and returned to the US in the summer to play basketball. He attended Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, where he begun playing for the varsity team as a freshman.
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 17th 1963. He played baseball, football and basketball at Emsley A. Laney High School, but was rejected from the Varsity team in sophomore year because he was too short. He earned a spot on the varsity roster in his junior year. In 1981, he began attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a basketball scholarship.
Kobe Bryant joined the NBA straight after graduating highschool and has played for the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire career. He was the 13th draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996, and was then immediately traded to the Lakers. He was youngest ever NBA starter at 18 years, 158 days. By the end of his first season, he averaged 15.5 minutes a game, and was winner of the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest. Since 1999, he has been one of the league’s premier shooting guards and has won five NBA championships.
Michael Jordan left university in 1984 to draft into the NBA. He was the Chicago Bulls’ 3rd overall pick. In his first season, he averaged 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated just one month into his professional career. He was voted an All-Star starter in his rookie season, and then Rookie of the Year. He broke his foot in his second season and missed 64 games, but recovered in time for the playoffs. He retired in 1993 after the murder of his father and signed a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. He returned to the NBA in 1995, and retired again in 1999, before becoming part owner and president of the Washington Wizards. In 2001, he returned to the NBA again as a player for the Washington Wizards, with the intention of donating his salary to the September 11 relief efforts. He played his final season in 2002-2003.
Kobe Bryant plays as a shooting guard, but can also play the small forward positions. He is known for creating his own shots and is a competent three-point shooter.
Michael Jordan was a shooting guard, but also played small forward, especially during his time with the Washington Wizards and as a point guard. He was a strong clutch performer with prolific trash-talk and a well-known work ethic. He had a versatile offensive game, with a trademark fadeaway jump shot.
Kobe Bryant vs Michael Jordan Stats
Bryant has averaged 25.4 points per game over his career, along with 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.5 steals. He shoots a 45.4% career field goal percentage and 33.7% from 3-point range. Throughout his career, he has played 1161 regular season games, scoring an average of 25.4 points. He has played in 220 playoff games, scoring an average of 25.6 points per game.
Jordan played 1071 regular season games in his career, scoring an average of 30.1 points per game, along with 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals. His career field goal percentage is 49.7% and he is 32.7% from 3-point range. He has played 179 playoff games, scoring 33.4 points per game.
Bryant is a 5 time NBA champion (2000-2002, 2009-2010) and was awarded NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008. He was the NBA scoring champion in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, an ESPN poll voted him the second best shooting guard in NBA history, behind Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan was added to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2009. He was 6 times NBA champion. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1984-5 and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1991. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan played each other 8 times, four when Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls and 4 when he was with the Washington Wizards. The Lakers won 5 of those games. Across these games, Bryant scored an average of 22.8 points, while Jordan scored 24.5 points.
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was arrested in connection with a sexual assault complaint filed by a 19-year-old hotel employee, Katelyn. Bryant denied the rape charges. His endorsement contracts with McDonald’s and Nutella were terminated. The case was dropped by prosecutors after Faber refused to testify in the trial, and Bryant publically apologized for the incident, and the two sides settled with a civil lawsuit.
Jordan was involved in controversy in 1993 when he was seen gambling in Atlantic City the night before a game. He admitted to having $57,000 in gambling losses.