#TeamMJ and #TeamKobe will always have an interesting discussion about who is the GOAT between the two as both had stellar NBA careers and possessed killer instincts on the court. A former player who played with Kobe and against Jordan reveals why he is picking the Chicago Bulls hero over the Lakers legend.
"He just opened the door for a lot of things"
Mitch Richmond played in the NBA for 14 seasons and was a 6-time All-Star, suiting up for Golden State, Sacramento, Washington, and Lakers. Mitch was the M in the legendary Run TMC of the Warriors, forming the trio with Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway. They played an exciting, fast, and high-scoring game that brought excitement to fans.
Mitch was a proven scorer in his career; he had ten seasons averaging at least 20 points per game. The shooting guard chose to chase a championship before retiring and ended up winning one with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in the 2001-02 season.
He also almost became teammates with Jordan in Washington but chose to join the Lakers instead. That year, MJ came back from his retirement to join the Wizards. Not many players could say they had the chance to play with Kobe and against MJ in their primes, and Richmond had that privilege. When asked if he thinks MJ is the GOAT in the "Getcha Popcorn Ready with T.O. & Hatch" podcast, Richmond agreed and explained why.
I went up against the bit*h and every night right, you know what I mean, and I played with Kobe and Kobe was, I mean, he's in that level no question about it. But Mike changed the game in so many other ways not only on the court but off the court, you know? Then guys all of a sudden started doing endorsements and getting checks from not just playing basketball. He just opened the door for a lot of things.
Mitch Richmond, Getcha Popcorn Ready with T.O. & Hatch
Should one's influence be a part of the argument?
Richmond was smart to point out the business side of things. Mike was not the first to do it in terms of commercial possibilities, appearing in TV ads, and making movies, but he was certainly the most successful. He leveraged his fame and appeal and got endorsements. "Space Jam" catapulted him into a movie star and paved the way for the likes of Space Jam 2, Uncle Drew, Kazaam, and other movies that NBA stars featured in.
Jordan also built a sneakers empire and transformed his brand into a billion-dollar business. It inspired other players to think outside the box and venture into business opportunities outside the NBA court. LeBron James and Kevin Durant now have their own production companies. We can't say if MJ inspired them, but Jordan walked so they could run. That should be a part of the GOAT argument, no doubt about it.