Time to Settle Accounts March 26, 2011: History lessons.
At headquarters, debate centered around the all-time rank of Kobe Bryant.
“Second,” General said when I asked for opening statements. Ricky nodded in agreement. I sat surprised. “Second best guard?” I said. “Or second best player?” “Player. Who’s ahead of him other than Mike?” G asked.
“Don’t sell me Wilt and Russell. Never saw them play. And they wouldn’t hold up to that degree against modern players. Oscar Robertson – I know he averaged a triple double, I’ve seen it on the stat sheet, I can imagine what that would have looked like, but again, I didn’t see it.
“You can’t get me on Shaq either. Fourth quarter foul shooting. Shaq had a big flaw. I’ll pass, thank you.
“Maybe Magic, maybe Bird. Magic couldn’t really shoot, and Larry was a little slow, but those are small flaws when you look at how complete these players are. Who else?”
Ricky leaned forward.
“For me, it’s simple. Kobe’s the closest thing we’ve seen to Jordan, yes?”
“Yes,” I said.
“And Jordan’s the best. Thus, Kobe’s second best.” Ricky leaned back.
“Let’s say we’re picking teams for a season,” G said jumping in, “and I have first pick and every player ever is available, I pick Jordan. I’m picking second? I pick Kobe.”
“Kobe. Dunzo,” said Ricky.
“Done,” G said, staring at me with unwavering confidence. “When I came to Chicago, it was explained to me: ‘Jordan is God. Kobe is Jesus.’”
He laughed. “A man at the barbershop actually said that to me. Said, ‘You’re never going to tell us Jordan was anything less than number one. We were there. We saw it all. But Kobe’s the best since. He’s the son. Mike is God. Kobe is Jesus.
“I said, ‘Boom, I got you, you don’t need to say anything further.’ I understood. It’s why I say, ‘Jordan over Kobe but Kobe over Pippen.’ That’s it right there.”
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