Skip to main content

Kerry Kittles breaks down why Kobe Bryant was harder to guard than Michael Jordan

Kerry Kittles lays out why Kobe Bryant was harder to guard than Michael Jordan
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Kobe Bryant mirrored the way Michael Jordan played the game, but for Kerry Kittles there is one crucial difference between the two legend

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are the most similar players in NBA history, as the two greats mirrored each other in numerous aspects.

Kobe mirrored Jordan in every way

Kobe wasn't shy about modeling his game after his idol. Two 6'6" shooting guards with a similar body type, great footwork in the post, and an all-around great game capped off with an immeasurable hunger for winning and getting better. In all those things, they were the best and practically identical in every possible way. So how do you differentiate the two and say one is better than the other? 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Most of the NBA fandom will agree Jordan was better than Kobe, but a small portion of die-hard Kobe fans try to make a case for Kobe being a superior player. Kobe grew up wanting to be like Mike and copied his style, moves, and demeanor, making him as close to MJ as we've seen since the GOAT retired. But that doesn't mean Kobe was a more manageable task on defense for his opponents. Apparently, it was quite the contrary, as some former players would say Kobe was the more challenging assignment.

Kobe was more difficult to guard than Jordan

Former NBA player Kerry Kittles played against both Kobe and Jordan in his career. Kittles shared his views on the two greats and revealed who was harder to guard and why.

"Playing against Kobe in the 2002 NBA Finals, he and Shaq that year were No. 1 and No. 2 in the whole league. We had the best player in the league and the second-best player in the league coming at us, taking all of the shots. Occasionally, they'd pass the ball to Rick Fox or Robert Horry or Derek Fisher every now and then, but those two guys were just as dominant as could be. And Kobe, to me, was just so hard to guard because he didn't have any weakness. With most players back then, you could key in on certain tendencies, but he didn't have tendencies! He had countermoves and then he had more countermoves! Kobe was more skilled than Jordan, but Jordan was more effective than Kobe. Jordan would hit you with pump fakes and drive by you; he was a little bit more predictable. With Kobe, you didn't know what he was going to do because he didn't know what he was going to do. That's the most dangerous player, when you think about it. As far as trying to guard him one-on-one, you didn't know what he was going to do. At least with Mike, you had a little bit of an idea what he wanted to do. Kobe was the toughest match-up for me and the hardest to guard."

Kerry Kittles, BasketballNews

Basically, Jordan was a bit easier because of his predictability, helping you get ready to try to stop his signature moves, but with Kobe, you had no idea what the hell he is going to pull off this time. Jordan may have been more effective, but when it came to pure 1-on-1 defense, Kobe was the biggest challenge for most NBA players. Well, that is why they have 11 championships amongst each other to go along with numerous other accolades. 

LeBron James

LeBron James believes the demand for youth basketball is “too much” and is becoming problematic for various reasons

LeBron James recently said that youth basketball in the U.S. has too many games and not enough time for the players to recover

Aaron Gordon

How Aaron Gordon’s improvements as a scorer have been highlighted by his recent historic stretch of efficient scoring for the Denver Nuggets

Gordon has hit over 60% percent of his shots in ten straight games for gthe Nuggets, which is tied for the second-longest streak on that type over the past 40 years

Mark Cuban & Kemba Walker

Mark Cuban explains the Dallas Mavericks' decision to sign Kemba Walker - “We wanted to add some flexibility to our offense”

Cuban said that he hopes that Walker will help provide more offensive versatility to a Mavericks offense that is struggling to get much production from anyone other than star guard Luka Doncic

Los Angeles Lakers forward A.C. Green

“You only missed 3 games in 15 years?!” — Byron Scott sits down with ironman A.C. Green

It's been two decades but Byron Scott still can't fathom former teammate A.C. Green's iron man streak.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach George Karl and Anthony Mason

“The huddles were the worst” — Ray Allen on chaotic Milwaukee Bucks with George Karl and Anthony Mason

It didn't take long for Ray Allen to realize bringing in Anthony Mason was a terrible idea

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“I can tell you the truth and it won't sound like false modesty” — Michael Jordan on what made him a special basketball player

Tony Robbins asked MJ what made him the greatest player of all time, and he loved Jordan's answer.