Rockets Legend Made a Bold Claim About Kobe Bryant’s Comparison to Michael Jordan at Age 19

Published 09/20/2021, 5:30 PM EDT


Michael Jordan is a player who transcends generations of basketball. He is the one constant in any discussion about the GOATs of NBA. And of course, there are some other players who also transcend generations like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Kobe Bryant.

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While this discussion has no concrete answer, broadcasters and analysts always indulge themselves in this conversation. Rockets legend Clyde ‘The Glide’ Drexler was on the broadcasting bench during a regular-season game between the Bulls and Lakers in 1998. Subsequently, he made a bold assertion about Michael Jordan’s comparison to Kobe Bryant.

A broadcaster asked him about his reasoning to say that Kobe Bryant was better than Michael Jordan at age 19, and he justified himself with a bold claim.

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Drexler explains why Bryant was better than Michael Jordan at 19

Someone quoted Drexler saying Kobe Bryant was better than Michael Jordan at the age of 19. When he was asked to explain his comments, he said, “I think Kobe has a better understanding about the whole entertainment package propping than any of us had at age 19.

“And I think that goes back to his dad. Because his dad understands the NBA and it prepared him well for the ups and downs of NBA life.

“And then he has Jerry West here also as a mentor to talk to him about winning basketball, championship basketball. Not just coming into this league and settling for just being a player in this league, Kobe wants to win championships.”

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Clyde was indeed correct to say that Kobe wanted to win championships, as he went on to win 5. But to explain why he felt this way about Kobe, he had to further justify himself.

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He said, “You can see it all around Kobe. He has a support system for teaching him how to handle Los Angeles, you know. A lot of guys can come out to Los Angeles and get their mind blown at 19. But he’s been able to sustain it because he’s got the support system of his father and also Eddie jones.”

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What does this mean for the G.O.A.T debate?

This comparison is slightly flawed since Jordan did not even enter the league at 19. However, Kobe making it that early does say something about him. Drexler was right to say that Kobe had a support system, and he was handling it pretty well. But just because Jordan did not reach the league as early as Kobe, does that make him a better player?

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

236 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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