The never-ending debate on who was a better player between Michael Jordan or the late great Kobe Bryant is a topic for discussion many NBA fans engage nowadays across different social media platforms. These arguments are often based on personal preferences fans have for specific players. There is often not enough valid argument from both sides to support particular claims each group of fans is supporting.
Something that adds value to these types of debates is the opinion of other players who played against both players and have seen them perform live on a nightly basis. One of these players is Isaiah Rider, who played against Jordan in the mid-’90s and was briefly a teammate of Kobe Bryant during their championship run in the 2000/01 season. In an interview for GoRadioMN, Rider briefly explained what made Kobe stand out from other players in the NBA at a very early age.
“I give Kobe props. I think he came in young, and he and Eddie Jones were on the Lakers together. They were playing together for 3-4 years, and they wouldn’t want to see me. Kobe grew up, took over the league. I give him props. From the age of 18 until the age of 22, he was learning his way; he was raw. That is the nicest 18-year-old I ever played against, and I was 24,25 at that time.”Isaiah Rider, via GoRadioMN
When asked about Mike, Rider was pretty straight forward and called Mike the best to ever do it because every time you were matched up against him, you had to bring your best game.
Mike is a whole different thing. I had to guard them both. For Mike, you had to prepare to guard him while with Kobe, there wasn’t the fear factor involved. With Mike, you had to bring your A-game on. He never backed down; he was strong. Mike is the best player in the world ever.Isaiah Rider, via GoRadioMN