Before we go blowing these quotes out of proportion, it’s important to remember that Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant won a lot of championships together. Without Kobe, Phil wouldn’t have more championship rings than he has fingers. Just as he wouldn’t trade Michael Jordan for any player in NBA history, I’m sure Jackson feels the same way about Kobe. All disclaimers aside, it is interesting to hear the former Lakers coach talk about how there are certain things he wishes Kobe did more like LeBron James.
“Oh, they’re– they’re using LeBron every possible way they can,” Jackson said during an HBO “Real Sports” special that aired on Tuesday night. “He’s such a great player. I still think his game is gonna grow. I still think it’s gonna grow. But he was like Scottie Pippen was to the Bulls. He’s maybe a pass first and shoot second player. Whereas, you know, Michael or Kobe are like, “I’m gonna shoot this ball.” Every time they get the ball, they’re looking to score.
“LeBron’s not like that. And I love that about him. But he also, when he goes after scoring, he’s also terrific. You want a player that can do both. I tried to get Kobe to do both for numbers of years, and he could. But his first instinct is to beat the guy that’s in front of him.”
While the comments seem harmless — and they are — Kobe is cocky enough as a player where hearing his former coach talk about how he wanted him to be a little more like LeBron will probably annoy him a tad. Then again, perhaps it is the lack of a score-first mentality that has prevented LeBron from winning a championship. As Brian Cardinal reminded us, there are certain situations where the Lakers could benefit from Kobe passing it more. There are also plenty where LeBron’s teams could have benefited from him attacking more. The Zen Master was just being honest.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
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