Let the debate continue – Kobe or MJ? There’s not too much debate about who the greatest coach in NBA history is. Phil Jackson gets the nod from most folks, though I’m sure some people in Boston might have a thing or two to say about that. With the 2008-2009 NBA season in the books, Phil getting his record setting 10th ring and Kobe finally winning one without Shaq, let’s hear from a man who is pretty familiar with characters at hand – Scottie Pippen. Pippen joined KLAC in Los Angeles to talk about former coach Phil Jackson, his charity work and to weigh in on the Kobe vs. MJ debate.
On if he recognized some of the things that Coach Phil Jackson was doing this playoffs from his days playing for him in Chicago:
“Yeah, I mean a lot of things they do the same way. Phil is just more of a laid back coach – he doesn’t get up and work the sidelines throughout the game. When he does get up, his presence is definitely felt by his players. But, Phil’s greatest coaching ability is being able to sit over there and relax and let the offense really take care of the game for him and he relies on his players to stay within that system. Take one play that I’m really familiar with is one they ran in Game 5 when they forced Orlando to bring their defense up to try to stop Kobe from coming up from scoring and obviously Kobe just made the simple pass up to Derek Fisher and he got a good look at the basket and gave them overtime. I think that was really the momentum booster to close the series out.”
“Well I think you’re looking at two great players and it’s hard to really compare them. They played in two different eras, they have very similar styles. I don’t know if Kobe has mimicked Michael’s style or if he has his own style. But there are a lot of similarities there – the way they play, the way they approach the game, the ability to close games at the end. It’s never going to be a situation where you can compare who’s better – Kobe or Michael. Kobe is the greatest player in his time and Michael was the greatest player in his time.
To say who’s the greatest player of all time – you may have to give that to Michael right now because of what he was able to accomplish in the game as an individual, from a team standpoint. He was at the top in every aspect of the game – offensively as well as defensively. Has Kobe met that yet? No. Will he? Maybe not. But does that make him less of a player than Michael was? No it does not. I think he’s the best player in the league right now in my eyes still. I know LeBron has shown great signs of being great and he’s definitely a better all around player than Kobe, but I think Kobe is definitely the greatest player in this generation.”