Statistics: Where do you rank Kobe, Jordan and LeBron all-time?


Michael Jordan vs LeBron James. Or it is maybe Kobe Bryant vs either of those two (or both). As different generations of basketball fans consume the sport, the GOAT debate rages, usually involving all three men. There’s even more context to the story.


When you’re 35-years-old in the world of sports, you’re considered old, tired, and on the brink of retirement. Especially in basketball, most 35-year-old’s spend their final playing days on the bench either because they’re bruised up from all the injuries or they’ve become too old to be effective. But at 35-years-old, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant — each considered the best players of their generation — were still at the height of their powers.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were still considered the franchise players of their squad. LeBron James, meanwhile, was still tagged as the best player in the world at 35. Comparisons have always been futile. But for the sake of appreciating what they’ve done in the world of athletics, let’s take a look at the careers of Michael Jordan vs LeBron James vs Kobe Bryant at age 35.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan was in his 13th season in the NBA. He turned 35-years-old in February 1998 — right in the middle of the 1997-98 season. By then, he already had five title rings in the bag and was gunning for his sixth championship and second three-peat. He was already considered the greatest athlete in his field at that point.

At age 35, Jordan was still dropping close to 30 points per night and shooting just a few percentage points below 50 percent. As the Chicago Bulls’ best player, Phil Jackson fielded him 38.8 minutes per contest in the regular season. What’s more impressive was that Jordan played all 82 games of the 1997-98 season — a rarity in today’s game. While his numbers understandably dipped during this time (by his extremely-high standards), he was still, by any means, the most lethal offensive juggernaut even at 35-years-old.

Come playoff time, Jordan’s usage beefed up to 41.5 minutes per game. Under Jordan’s guidance, the Bulls cruised their way to the Eastern Conference Finals and came out alive in a tough seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers. The finals featured a rematch between the Bulls and the Jazz. And just like their finals duel the previous year, all the Bulls needed was six games. But this time, Jordan made sure that he cemented his legacy as the Greatest of All Time. At 35-years-old, Jordan — with all eyes on him — hit the game-winning shot to claim his sixth title.

LeBron James

LeBron James was entering in his 17th year in the league at 35. As a high school prodigy, James entered the league at a tender age of 18. Since then, analysts have continuously pointed out James’ athletic gifts, particularly his speed and brute strength. Throughout the course of his career, he used these God-given abilities to his advantage. However, as he got older, analysts put him under the microscope and raised the question: how will age affect James’ superhuman-like talents?

At 35-years-old, James was still in peak form. Take note that he has played over 1,000 regular-season games and 239 playoff games — which ranks fourth overall. And we’re not just talking about quantity here. The fact that James went to eight straight NBA Finals where he logged in over 40 minutes per contest is a major testament to his exceptional endurance and conditioning. Everyone knows that playoff games are vastly different from regular-season ones. Especially when you’re the team’s superstar, opposing squads will throw literally everything at you. But even after all these tough battles, there’s not a single sign of James slowing down.

In fact, prior to the 2019-20 season’s postponement, James showcased the most unappreciated part of his game: his passing. Apart from muscling his way to the ring in front of Los Angeles Lakers fans, LeBron James led the league with 10.6 assists per game. At 35-years-old, James was still making statements.

Kobe Bryant

At 35-years-old, the late, great Kobe Bryant was nursing his Achilles tear from the 2012-13 season. In that particular season, the Los Angeles Lakers were fighting for a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference. And so, Bryant was logging in close to 40 minutes per night to aid his team. In the 80th game of the season, one of the most heartbreaking injury in basketball occurred when Bryant went down and immediately held his Achilles. It was considered the final blow to the Black Mamba’s historic career. But then again, at 35-years-old, Bryant had already achieved so much. Even before he turned 35, he was already seen as one of the greatest to ever touch the basketball.

By then, he already had five titles in the bag having claimed the first three in his early 20s and last two in his early 30s. Along the way, Bryant notched tons of scoring records including the historic 81-point game in 2006. These were the memories that fans recalled during that tough period. They didn’t want to see their hero hurt and inactive.

Little did they know that a few years after tearing his Achilles, Bryant would log in the greatest final game in all of sports. In his final game, Bryant — in front of a packed Staples Center crowd and the whole world watching — dropped 60 points. It was the greatest ending that anyone could ever hope for. You can say that at age 35, even when he was down, Bryant was brewing up something good for the basketball world.

Michael Jordan vs LeBron James vs Kobe Bryant?

Nevertheless, maybe it’s less about Michael Jordan vs LeBron James vs Kobe Bryant. Maybe — just maybe — we should just appreciate them all.

By clutchpoints


Related Posts

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *