published: Sunday, December 09, 2012
Bryant being youngest is misleading stat
Just some quick thoughts on Kobe Bryant's achievement of becoming just the fifth NBA player to score more than 30,000 career points.
Immediately, I was reminded of an exchange in the movie "Bad Teacher," where a school-aged kid was debating the whole LeBron James, Michael Jordan comparison with a teacher.
Shawn: LeBron is a better rebounder and passer.
Russell Gettis: LeBron will never beat Jordan. Call me when LeBron has six championships.
Shawn: That's your only argument?
Russell Gettis: It's the only argument I need Shawn!
Now, while I'd say that James actually being a better passer is debatable, there's no doubt he's a much more willing passer than Jordan normally was.
Which leads to two points.
One, that the younger generation will always look to those they currently watch as the standard, the best, while we old-timers - Russell Gettis and I - will look for reasons to exalt our own childhood greats.
Which is why, much of the younger crowd will look to the fact that Bryant is officially "the youngest" to have scored 30,000 points, and see that as meaning he was the best scorer.
But, for the second point, that wouldn't be the case.
Looking just beneath the initial numbers - points and age - you'll see why.
Remember, Bryant came to the NBA straight out of high school, giving him a few-year head start, age-wise.
And while Bryant was somewhat shackled in his early years, what with Shaquille O'Neal taking up the bulk of the Lakers scoring load, Jordan also missed virtually his entire second season in the league.
Yes, Bryant is as prolific a scorer as we've seen since Jordan, but that's not to say he was as efficient.
Bryant's career shooting percentage is right around 45-percent, with him never having shot over 50-percent in any season.
Jordan's career shooting wound up at just a shade under 50-percent, while he topped that mark six different times during his career.
I could go into more detail, wax nostalgic on different aspects of both their careers and scoring ability.
But that could go on for pages, and I'm limited in my amount of space here.
But to those saying that Bryant's the best scorer because he was the youngest to get to 30,000, all I can say is that, while older, Jordan reached the mark in 220 fewer games.
And that's the only argument I need.
Dan Hoehne is the Sports Editor of the News-Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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