I'm not shy about pointing out when I think Lakers fans -- Kobe Bryant fans, specifically -- get a little too reactionary in defense of their guy, turning every slight, real or perceived, into evidence of widespread anti-24 conspiracies. Today, the Kobe Nation's feathers are ruffled, and this time they have a point. Michael Jordan was asked about Kobe's place in history:
"I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who've played by the time he is finished," Jordan began. So far so good. "Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the top 10."
He's got to be in the top 10? Among guards? How generous. I understand one more ring takes Kobe from Jordan's neighborhood to his block, but is he really that insecure? Apparently so. (My favorite part of the quote is the "got to be" part. Like he's really sticking up for Kobe against anyone who might leave him out of the top 10. Among guards.)
Clearly Kobe has taken much of his game from M.J. The similarities are undeniable. And why not? M.J. is the best the game has ever seen. But perhaps something else he could learn from Jordan, something becoming more apparent in recent years, is how to exist as an iconic figure in the game, one already with a legendary spot in basketball history even as it continues to grow. For that, he can look at everything Jordan has done in that role ... and do the opposite.