Since Michael Jordan headed into retirement, his legacy has only grown stronger. Jordan‘s influence on the game remains heavily prevalent, as he’s fully engrained in the GOAT discussion. Fellow Hall of Famer Jerry West recently added to the allure around the former Chicago Bulls great by dishing out the ultimate compliment. However, he’s overlooking Kobe Bryant, who may hold that title over Jordan.
Jerry West believes Michael Jordan is the most skilled player he’s ever seen
Jerry West has spent the last five decades around the NBA in various capacities as a player, coach, and front office executive.
It’s provided him with numerous perspectives of the players who entered the league since he first stepped foot on an NBA hardwood floor. During a recent interview with FUBO Sports, the Hall of Famer voiced that no player has topped what Michael Jordan accomplished.
“I really like Michael Jordan and he and I are friendly and he never changes,” West said. “He just doesn’t change, he’s the same guy all the time. This guy has done more spectacular things than any basketball player I’ve ever seen.”
West added that his firm stance is fueled by Jordan’s versatility as a player, becoming one of the league’s best defenders and scorers. All that combined with the former Bulls great’s athleticism cemented his perspective.
Jordan played 15 NBA seasons, where he established himself as arguably the greatest player in league history.. He won six NBA titles and six Finals MVP awards, earned five regular-season MVP awards and a Defensive Player of the Year award, received 14 All-Star game selections and 10 All-NBA First Team nods, and garnered nine NBA All-Defensive First-Team selections.
Jordan holds the league record with 10 scoring titles and finished third on the all-time scoring list, only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. He excelled in the playoffs, averaging an NBA record of 33.4 points while pushing north of averaging 30 points 12 times.
Jordan was the complete package player who left West in awe like many of his peers and fans. Simply put, his dominance was undeniable, and it was clear as day to the former Lakers great.
“This guy had an extra gear, oh my God,” West said. “He’s the most skilled player that I have ever seen.”
Michael Jordan remains the most skilled player Jerry West has ever seen, but he’s overlooking another former Lakers great
West’s remarks hold tremendous weight given his reputation as a player and front office executive.
He’s earned well-deserved recognition for holding a keen eye for talent, especially through his time as a general manager. However, his recent comments overlook one player he went out of his way to acquire in the 1996 NBA draft: Kobe Bryant.
West’s admiration and respect toward Bryant are extremely evident as he routinely praised him. He’s called the five-time NBA champion the greatest Lakers player while stating his acquisition is the best move in franchise history.
Jordan certainly holds a firm grip over the GOAT discussion, but Bryant possesses a slight edge in his skill. The 18-time All-Star may not have won a Defensive Player of the Year award, but he earned 12 NBA All-Defensive team selections (nine first teams, three second teams).
Bryant also developed into a supremely talented player behind his footwork. It allowed him to be a highly effective factor in the paint and create space from defenders. His dominance in the mid-range mirrored his idol, but Bryant took it a step further with his footwork. It was a separating factor that allowed him to extend his prime well into his 30s.
West’s comments are not entirely wrong, but the player he drafted in 1996 may hold that prestigious title.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant forever changed the NBA
Beyond West’s comments, it further underlines the tremendous talent that Jordan and Bryant possessed.
Jordan served as Bryant’s greatest inspiration and mentor, but the two have had a significant impact on the game of basketball. Each serves as the gold standard of their respective generations. Many of the game’s greatest talents have drawn tremendous inspiration to reach their greatness.
Jordan and Bryant’s resumes speak for themselves, but their massive imprint on the game is indisputable.