Michael Jordan was forced to pick between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant – and he had the perfect answer

Michael Jordan versus LeBron James is one of the great modern sports debates.

But Kobe Bryant vs James might be even tougher to decide.

5Michael Jordan knew the answer when picking between Kobe Byrant and LeBron JamesCredit: Getty

James, 39, is still playing at a high level after 21 seasons and is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Bryant had a remarkable basketball career and even inspired tennis superstar Novak Djokovic.

But the Black Mamba, who retired after 20 seasons, trails James by more than 6,000 points.

Jordan got involved in the “Who’s better?” question in 2013, when James was in his prime leading the Miami Heat’s Big Three, while Bryant was approaching the end of his legendary run with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Kobe or LeBron?” veteran sports analyst Ahmad Rashadasked Jordan.

The question arrived for “Michael Jordan at 50,” a special looking back at his 50th birthday.

“I’d say, ‘Kevin Durant,’ ” Jordan said. “Naw, I’m just kidding.”

Then the 10-time scoring champion got real.

5Air Jordan praised James but had his eye on someone elseCredit: youtube@nba5Jordan helped introduce a young Bryant to the NBACredit: Getty5It’s hard to beat James when it comes to basketball longevityCredit: Getty

“In terms of dominance of the game of basketball, at this stage it’s LeBron,” Jordan said in 2013.

But the six-time NBA Finals winner had another final answer


“Championship-wise, it’s Kobe Bryant,” Jordan said. “He wants it so bad and he’s willing to go to the extreme. Guarding a point guard at the age of 34, playing 38 minutes, 40 minutes, that’s ludicrous.”

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Jordan then linked himself with Bryant, not James.

“He’s cursed as much as I am,” said Jordan, referring to Bryant.

When specifically picking between Bryant and James, Air Jordan acknowledged that it would be a “tough choice.”

Fans often side with Jordan because of his championship ring total, and he did the same in the Bryant vs. James debate.

“Five (rings) beats one,” Jordan said.

5Jordan played with some of the greatest of all time, including Magic JohnsonCredit: Getty

Bryant or James debate would tip toward The King in 2024, primarily because of James’ longevity.

But in terms of pure career dominance, many would flip the order.

Jordan would be No. 1, Bryant would take No. 2 and James would be last.

James, who joined the Lakers in 2018, now has four championship rings but is 4-6 all-time in the Finals.

Bryant, who died in 2020, was 5-2 in the Finals.

Jordan was a perfect 6-0 and led the Chicago Bulls to two three-peats.

“Interviewer: Kobe or LeBron? Jordan: Me, obviously,” a fan jokingly tweeted.

“Reporter is lucky that MJ didnt take it personal,” a second fan posted. “He would give him 60 (points).”

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