One of the strongest qualities that Michael Jordan had throughout his illustrious career was his unwithering competitive drive. It’s what pushed his game to the next level and helped him find tremendous success in the NBA. Although it’s been nearly two decades since Jordan last played in the league, the conversation around him hasn’t dwindled a bit as he’s still firmly established as the measuring bar for greatness with the generations of players after him. With that in mind, Jordan singled out Kobe Bryant as the only player that he believes could beat him 1-on-1.
Michael Jordan’s scoring prowess
From the get-go to begin his career, Jordan proved to be one of the game’s best offensive talents that only continued to improve in that regard as he garnered more time in the league.
That part of his game generated tremendous confidence that he had in his ability that extended well into other parts of his skill set. Jordan firmed him established himself as one of the greatest scorers in NBA history behind an NBA-record scoring titles that pushed him to hold the all-time regular-season mark with 30.1 career points per game.
He also has the highest career playoff scoring average at 33.45 points per game. Jordan is fifth on the all-time scoring list that only further speaks to the offensive talent that he had. He was the complete package offensive player that made him a tremendously tricky cover for any defender.
With that conversation, comes the typical playground talk of who could challenge him 1-on-1 in his prime. The former Chicago Bulls great circled one player that could have had a chance to beat him.
Michael Jordan believes Kobe Bryant could beat him 1-on-1
One of the real markers when it comes to comparing individual greatness in NBA history is how the players match up in 1-on-1. The gold standard in that conversation has remained Jordan due to his reputation as being arguably the greatest player of all-time.
That led to an intriguing conversation over the years, which Jordan finally entertained the talk in an interview in 2013. He named several players ranging from all-time greats to current star talents that he would have loved to play 1-on-1 that included the likes of Jerry West, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Elgin Baylor. With that said, he voiced that he believes only Kobe Bryant could beat him simply because he stole all of his moves.
“That’s a good start. I don’t think I’ll lose. Other than Kobe Bryant because he steals all my moves.”
Over the years, Bryant garnered many of Jordan’s game into his own mirroring much of offensive moves, including his mannerisms. It was no secret that the former Los Angeles Lakers star guard had eyes on surpassing the fellow Hall of Famer as being recognized as the game’s greatest player.
Bryant finished his career third on the all-time scoring list while earning a pair of scoring titles. Throughout the years, Jordan has long voiced that the 18-time All-Star was the lone player that had the competitive drive that he had on the court, which only makes sense that the former Bulls great believes that he can only upend him 1-on-1.
Could Kobe Bryant beat Michael Jordan?
During the prime of these two Hall of Famer’s careers, they were both unstoppable offensive talents.
They each possessed tremendous athletic ability along with well-rounded games with their offensive skillset while each proved to be a stout defender. It would have made for a highly exciting 1-on-1 between the two trading baskets as both of their games were suited well for that setting.
It’s one of those “what if” scenarios that will never have a legitimate answer, but the fact that Jordan believes that about Bryant certainly says a lot about the tremendous respect he has for him.