The Lakers soap opera doesn’t end just because the season does. As Phil Jackson begins press for his new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.” excerpts are being released to the public. Phil Jackson weighs in on the age old debate about Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan. Phil compares them as teammates and said that Jordan had the edge in the locker room, in part because of Kobe being so young when he came to the Lakers. Because he was a teenager, he said Kobe often isolated himself. Phil said later, Kobe learned to see the value in connecting with his teammates off the court and put more effort into it.
That’s usually referred to as growth. But in today’s world to some it means, MJ is superior to Mamba.
“Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards, smoking cigars, and joking around,” Jackson said in the book, which was obtained in advance by The Times.
“Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn’t developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.”
Phil Also went on to explain when he began to see the evolution of Kobe. How that change manifested.
If Bryant talked to teammates in his earlier Lakers years, it was usually, “Give me the damn ball,” Jackson wrote. “But then Kobe started to shift. He embraced the team and his teammates, calling them up when we were on the road and inviting them out to dinner. It was as if the other players were now his partners, not his personal spear-carriers.”
Kobe responded to the chatter that Phil’s statement has caused via Twitter saying they played in two different situations and have two different paths.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 17, 2013
Listen friends of bball; don’t get hung up on words. I was most fortunate to have the chance to coach two of the greatest gds. EVER MJ/Kobe
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) May 17, 2013