NBA Player Props: Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 6/2/2010
It might seem like sacrilege but the debate is officially on: Will Kobe Bryant retire as a greater basketball player than Michael Jordan?
“If Kobe Bryant wins his fifth title in the next two weeks and wins two more championships before he retires to give him seven rings, he has to be given the nod as the greatest individual talent ever to play in the NBA,” wrote The Washington Post recently.
"He's the only guy you can legitimately say is right there with Michael," Phoenix general manager Steve Kerr said. "Kobe actually has better shooting range than Michael. Now, Michael was more physical. The rules when he played allowed the Knicks to maul him. But in the end, they're both killers and the most incredible players of their eras."
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Since there’s nothing we like more than a good sports argument at Bodog’s online sportsbook, we’ve decided to wade into the debate ourselves. The prop is simple: “Will Kobe Bryant win more NBA Championships than Michael Jordan?” The options: “Yes (More than 6) +400; No (Less Than 6) -350; Tied (6 exactly) +190.”
Obviously the oddsmakers aren’t ready to hand over the crown to Kobe just yet. The Lakers still have to get past the Celtics for Kobe to win his fifth ring, which would give him one fewer than Jordan retired with. (By the way, Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP six times while Kobe has just one of those awards. Just a little something to add to the debate.)
So let’s assume the Lakers beat the Celtics and Kobe gets his fifth ring. He’s 31 now and he’d need two more to surpass Jordan’s six. The Lakers have Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest under contract for a few more years and that gives them a great shot to get back to the Finals while Kobe is still in his prime. Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to watch it play out.
While we’re still on the subject of Kobe, we’ve posted his total points per game average for the Finals. The ‘over/under’ has been set at 29, with most of the early action coming on the ‘under’.
Kobe is averaging 29.4 points per game so far in these playoffs, but the Celtics are probably going to be tougher defensively than Phoenix, which he lit up for 33.7 per game.
For the record, Kobe’s points per game average in the regular season was 27.0.
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