Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another Perspective on Jordan v. Kobe v. LeBron

Perhaps the greatest challenge in comparing Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron rests in controlling for their supporting casts. LeBron and Jordan never played with a player of Shaq's caliber (in his prime), like Kobe. But, one way to compare the three is to look at the number of All-Stars that played with them.

Since excluding this season LeBron has played in 7 full seasons, I compared the first 7 seasons for each player. In the first 7 seasons, Jordan won 1 title, Kobe 3, and LeBron 0. Jordan was selected an all-star each of his first 7 seasons (for his second he was on the player IR), LeBron was selected for 6 of his first 7 (all except his rookie year), and Kobe was selected for 5 (like James he was selected to all but his rookie year; during his third season the lockout eliminated the All-Star game.)

With respect to All-Star teammates, Kobe also played with the most. He played alongside an All-Star 8 times (Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, and Shaq, who was selected for all non-lockout seasons). LeBron followed playing with an All-Star twice in his first 7 years (Moe Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas). Jordan, however, only played with an All-Star once (Scottie Pippen). In fact in 1990-91 when Jordan won his first title he was the only All-Star on the Bulls.

Of course, this information fails to definitively show who had superior teammates, but in the first 7 seasons--according to coaches and fans, at least--Kobe played on better teams.


  1. how in fart's living name did eddie house ever make the all-star team?

  2. Luc Longley is forever an allstar in my heart.

  3. the comparison should heavily factor their peers -- when jordan played, he was 6'6 and played against lots of 6'2 / 190 lbs guards...the parity of the game is so much greater right now (look at the mediocrity of the Heat)

  4. PFFFFFT. LBJ is a broke ass Dominique Wilkins!

  5. To address JB's concern. See ( The average height of an NBA player decreased slightly from the mid-80s to the mid-2000s. Weight however, increased by 10 lbs.