Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | May 7, 2008

Most hardworking MVP ever? Gimme a break

Finally, the former teen hoop wunderkind is a legitimate MVP.

I’m sure Kobe Bryant worshippers are happy their guy was finally declared the NBA’s best.

And Kobe bashers? Well, people like me have to just shrug our shoulders and hope that the Lakers reach the NBA Finals. And that the Boston Celtics will be there to kick their butts.

Hah. Kidding aside. You have to give it to the guy, though. He deserved it.

What he doesn’t deserve is the praise heaped at his feet by Phil Jackson.

In an interview with journalists covering the NBA beat right after the official announcement that Bryant had won the MVP trophy, Jackson said “I don’t know anybody who’s ever deserved this trophy more. I don’t know anybody who’s ever worked as hard to accomplish what he’s accomplished.”

Unless Jackson meant easing Shaquille O’Neal out of the Lakers lineup to try and prove that he could win a title for the Lakers on his own, then The Zen-quoting coach must be suffering from extreme memory loss.

Really now. Has Phil Jackson forgotten Michael Jordan? Let’s refresh Jackson’s memory with a handful of fast facts.

Number of championship titles won: Jordan 6; Kobe 3
Number of championship titles he could’ve won regardless of who his teammates were: Jordan 6; Kobe 0
Number of championship titles he could’ve won regardless of who his coach was: Jordan 6, Kobe 0
Number of MVP titles: Jordan 5, Kobe 1
Number of inclusions to NBA all-defensive first team: Jordan 9, Kobe 5
Number of times he won the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season: Jordan 1, Kobe 0
Okay, so career-high: Jordan 69, Kobe 81 but
Number of times he led the league in scoring: Jordan 10, Kobe 2
Number of Olympic gold medals: Jordan 2, Kobe 0
Most serious allegation he has had to fight off: Jordan gambling, Kobe rape

I think I made my point. Okay, so maybe those fast facts mean nothing  when taking Phil Jackson’s quote into context. But one key area in those fast facts stands out: That Michael Jordan was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

Now nothing defines a hardworking basketball player more than defense. And, by the way, that year that Jordan was both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year (1988)? He was also the league’s scoring leader. Now who could anyone be more of a hard worker than the person who leads his team on both ends of the floor?

The tragedy about Jackson’s careless quote is that people whose basketball history dates back only to the year of the Shaq might end up taking his word as gospel truth. After all, Jackson is a rare coach in that he has had the blessing and the curse of handling both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant—winning championships with the two players regarded as the best of their generation (although Jordan has staked his claim as the best all-time).

A blessing because he has moved up to No. 2 in the list of coaches with the most NBA titles (Red Auerbach 10, Phil Jackson 9). A curse because in all Jackson’s champion teams, you could’ve inflated a dummy and put him as head coach and those teams would still have won championships (In other words, number of tiles Phil Jackson has: 9; Number of titles Phil Jackson could’ve won without Jordan or Kobe/Shaq: 0)

If there was one person who could judge and draw comparisons on the greatness of both players, it should have been Jackson. And Phil Knight, maybe, since both players are Nike pitchmen. (Speaking of which, number of lines in Nikeworld: Jordan 1, Kobe 0).

But instead of telling it as it is; instead of calling a spade a spade, Jackson opted to let his inner motivator reach out and stroke Kobe’s ego. It is, after all, the playoffs and Phil needs Kobe to be on top of his game to get to title No. 10.

PS: To all Kobe fans who think that this is the year No. 24 changes the entry on “Number of titles he could have won regardless of who his teammates were,” I have two words for you: Pau Gasol.

PS 2: To all those who say that Jordan could not have won all those titles without Scottie Pippen, remember that it was Jordan who made Scottie Pippen. If Kobe, as Jackson asserts, is more than Jordan-esque, he should’ve won a title using Lamar Odom as his Scottie Pippen. And the big knock: Kobe failed to win a title when he had Shaq, Karl Malone and Gary Payton around him. If Jordan had the same cast, the NBA would’ve surrendered the title before the season even started.



  1. Kobe-Kobe. Wala yang Kobe na yan. Kung nagkasabay lang sila ni Jordan sa NBA, we’ll be going “Kobe? Who’s Kobe?”

  2. Heard this on the radio recently. This is good news, yes?

    @closing my blog….lolz. Unlike some people, writing isn’t one of my core competencies. I wouldn’t say it’s buried. Maybe…on extended vacation leave. hehe.

    Take it easy Kiko.

  3. dama ang pait! dama ang galit! hahahha.

  4. You sound like every other stat whore out there without applying any critical thinking to your claim.

    Let’s break it down your comparison:

    Titles Won: Inconclusive since Kobe’s career can easily go on another 10 years.

    Titles Won Regardless of Teammates: That’s an insult to Scottie Pippen–one of the top 100 NBA players of All-Time and Hall of Famer. I won’t even start with Kerr, Armstrong, Paxson, Harper, Rodman, Hodges, Kukoc, Grant, etc…

    Titles Regardless of Coach: Jordan at one time vouched he’ll never play for another coach other than Jackson. (Later changed when he played for the Wizards) Last I checked Jordan hadn’t even been to the Finals with another coach.

    MVP Titles: This has a lot to do with the press. One thing Jordan was a master of was controlling his public image despite gambling issues, murder of his father, affairs with women, and his trash talking to even his own teammates. Thus making Jordan a more likeable character.

    Without all the Kobe drama, which he was dumb to bring on to himself–he woud have 3 MVPs by now.

    NBA All-D team: Like I said, Kobe’s career ain’t done yet.

    NBA D-player of the year: ditto.

    Led the league in scoring. Funny, how ppl are praising Kobe this year for being more of a team player, thus preventing him from leadng the league in scoring, but you try to bring it up as a negative by saying Jordan has won it 10 times.

    Olympic Gold: Different times. Its all about the opportunities. Jordan played once as a college player when no pros were allowed and once as part of the first Dream Team.

    If Kobe wins it this year. It’ll be against a much tougher world competition where gold is not guaranteed for team USA.

    Most serious allegation: Neither resulted in a guilty conviction in a court of law. Even if it were so, you would still want either player to the last shot of the game.

    You need to take a Junior College class in critical thinking before spouting this junk on the internet.

  5. Dingdong! Round 1! Boxing match na ito, haha!

    Anyway, ako eh hindi naman sports or even basketball fanatic kaya ayoko makisawsaw sa derby na ganito (I leave this up to you, guys).

    Ang sa akin lang, wala sa stats ‘yan. For me, Jordan brings another dimension to the game.

    He turns basketball into an artform. He elevates it from a mere numbers game into something poetic.

    It’s like comparing Muhammad Ali with Floyd Mayweather. Floyd won’t simply measure up against Ali even if he retires undefeated.

    Kobe’s damn good, no question. But he’s all numbers. Jordan is simply poetry in motion.

    I think apart from player stats, why don’t we compare the NBA’s following during Jordan’s time and today? (Not in terms of numbers, for obvious reasons, but in terms of TV viewing share).

    I’m not so sure but I think (again, I think) I read somewhere that more people were watching the NBA during the rein of the Chicago Bulls.

    I, for one, stopped watching the NBA after Jordan’s retirement.

    Then again, I’m not a sports fanatic. I can’t spew out numbers much less analyze these stuff.

    Regardless of stats, in my heart I believe Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. I also believe I am but one of the millions who feel the same way.

    And no matter how many times Kobe Bryant wins the MVP award, I think he will never win the hearts of millions in the same manner that Jordan has.

  6. Bravo, Gerry! Bravo!

    That’s also what I think. Even if Jordan had never won an MVP award, I would still love him to death. :)

  7. Kate: Ako? Galit? But why? :D

    Nie: Could be both great and bad, depending on which end of the NBA spectrum you stand. Hehehehe.

    Ger, if this were a boxing match I would’ve done a Roberto Duran by now.

    No mas. How can you argue with such a brilliant critical thinker? Especially when you’re a mere stat whore?

    Anyway, Heffer person, just to make things clear:

    I guess it was stupid for me to say Kobe deserved the MVP.

    I’ve kicked myself hard in the nuts, too, for not writing the post well enough so that anyone who actually reads it will understand that the thing I totally disagree with is Phil Jackson’s claim that Kobe Bryant is the only person he knows who worked that hard to get to being MVP.

    Yeah, Kobe Bryant may eventually deserve Jackson’s praise–as it was worded–five, 10 years from now. “Kobe’s career can easily go on another 10 years” and he may end up winning 10 NBA titles, 10 scoring titles, 10 inductions into the NBA first team and defensive team and he may even be voted the best player ever to play hoops in the entire universe. He may wind up winning more Olympic gold medals than Michael Jordan.

    Heck, Kobe may one day develop his own Scottie Pippen (who I think wouldn’t have flourished outside of Jordan’s wings) and no, don’t rush to mention Pau Gasol’s name because Pau was already made when he got to the Lakers. Kobe may soon learn to be a “master of controlling his public image” and he may even become the next player to win the MVP and defensive player of the year trophy in the same season.

    It’s just that UNTIL THEN he doesn’t deserve Jackson’s comment. Seriously, I am banging my head right now for not making that clear enough.

    And what the fuck was I doing fooling around with the “serious allegation” part? I guess I should’ve written

    “maybe those fast facts mean nothing when taking Phil Jackson’s quote into context. But one key area in those fast facts stands out: That Michael Jordan was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Now nothing defines a hardworking basketball player more than defense.”

    twice so that people would understand what I really meant.

    I’d really love to expound on my apologies further but my class in critical thinking is coming up and I don’t want to be late for it. Yeah, I took your advice and enrolled in a great school. Which by the way has a kindergarten class just two floors down from my room and has reading comprehension as one of its subjects. You might want to check it out.

    And oh, by the way: I would really want to stop spouting junk and foisting ridiculously stupid ideas on internet readers.

    But I’d really, really hate to have to censor my comments section.

  8. Sad that this Heifer (oops, did I misspell your name? my bad. don’t have a cow.) creature didn’t even leave a link.

    You can dish it out but can’t take it huh? Tsk.

  9. May idadagdag lang ako. Basketball is Michael Jordan’s SECOND LOVE (baseball’s his first, right?) Imagine if basketball is Jordan’s first love. Lalong wala na si Kobe :p

  10. Nie: Hahahaha. I guess the dude couldn’t round up his friends again so they could pound up another comment. Or, no one else pitched in for pizza the first time around so he figured shelling out more cash to come up with a reply wasn’t worth it. :D

    Ger: Now why didn’t I think of that. Hehehe. Besides, Kobe is naturally talented. Jordan was cut from his high school team. It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out who worked harder to get to where he reached.

  11. […] Most hardworking MVP ever? Gimme a break […]

  12. “Besides, Kobe is naturally talented. Jordan was cut from his high school team. It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out who worked harder to get to where he reached.”

    Lol, what an idiotic comment.

    Einstein failed the entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute, it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out he just wasn’t smart enough, or had any “natural talent”.

    When you fail at something, it makes you work that much harder, which is exactly what Jordan did. The fact that he was cut from his high school team does not mean he didn’t have any “natural talent” nor does it correlate with him not working harder for his entire basketball career.

    That’s a blanket statement with weak logic and a true failure to grasp what Jordan accomplished, but it’s very typical of the “prisoner of the moment” type mentality which so many people exhibit today.

    The day Lebron scores 81, wins an MVP and a title, people will be saying Kobe who? They forget the past and are prisoners of the moment.

    Stats aside, Jordan’s intangibles (leadership, making teammates better, will to win, not choking 24 point leads in the finals) are greater than Kobe’s.

    Jordan was once described as “That Rarest of All–the supremely talented over achiever”. Some guys have talent but don’t work the hardest, other guys work the hardest but simply don’t have the talent. Jordan had both, yet Kobe’s the hardest worker?

    Jordan was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning for game 5 of the 97 NBA finals, with flu-like symptoms, scores 38 points and the Bulls won, in what was called a heroic performance.

    John Paxson said “between every possession when there was a dead ball, you could see how drained he was, but then when the play would start, he would summon something from within”.

    Get that? “Something from WITHIN” No stat whores here, no number crunching, the intangibles is where Jordan’s greatness was magnified.

    School’s in session boys, do your homework and try to realize the truth, your ignorance is showing, and even though Kobe may be the closest thing to Michael, he still isn’t even close, from the “INTANGBILES” standpoint.

    Now we can talk numbers, but it gets even worse then.

  13. Lol, oops, you were being sarcastic. My bad, but it’s all good, I direct my earlier post to Heffer and all other basketball noobs who can only go as far back as their selective memory allows them.

    BTW, the hand check rule was taken out of the NBA after 2006, imagine what Jordan could’ve done with the new rules.

    Kobe 81?

    How bout Jordan 93.

  14. Exactly. That phone booth defense that the Pistons smothered Jordan with in the late 80’s and early 90’s? I don’t think Kobe could even breathe through that, much less score. Jordan played in an era where the NBA didn’t coddle its superstars. Where Larry Bird would bang his head hard on the floor and still return to play and where Isaiah Thomas would play through a badly sprained ankle. And Kobe’s making a big deal about a strained pinkie finger? Nowadays, the NBA allows the defense only so much so as not to hamper the creativity of offensive players. That’s why I disagree with Jackson’s comment that Kobe is the hardworking MVP ever.

    It’s an unfair indictment of the stars that came before him. Not just Jordan. Bird, Magic, Kareem. Those guys were MVPs in the real sense of the word. Give them a 24-point lead in the most crucial game of the Finals and they’ll ram it down straight the opponent’s throat.

    Those were the hard workers, the guys who thrived in an era where the defense made sure superstars weren’t wusses.

    Hey I can do sarcasm! Not bad for a guy who flunks at critical thinking, eh? :D

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