Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

If MJ’s all right with it: Give Kobe a chance.

This appears on

If MJ’s all right with it: Give Kobe a chance.

by rick olivares (I took the photo from my copy of the book)

When the book “For the Love of the Game: My Story” came out in 1998, there were two NBA players given a page and Michael Jordan’s thoughts – Scottie Pippen, who His Airness affectionately called a “predator,” and Kobe Bryant. At that time, supposedly Jordan’s last year in the NBA, Bryant was in his third season. But the GOAT obviously thought well enough of him to earn a page.

In that page, Jordan asked, “Can Kobe Bryant become a great player?”

I think that even back then, MJ saw something special in Bryant that warranted that special mention.

Sixteen years after that Jordan “endorsement,” the Black Mamba has surged past him on the all-time scoring list to squarely sit in third. It was obvious that Bryant was going to pass Jordan in the all-time scoring list just as he past MJ for the most number of points scored in his All-Star Game history.

With the Jordan loyalists out in force (as are the Kobe loyalists and haters), maybe this should put things in perspective.

In the last page of the book, Jordan says, “There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe that there is only one greatest player either.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

“Everyone plays in different eras. I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent. I believe that greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves from era to era.”

“The evolution of greatness doesn’t stop with me just as it didn’t stop with (Elgin) Baylor, Dr. J (Julius Erving), Larry Bird, or Magic (Johnson). The nature of evolution is to continue.”

“Somewhere there is a little kid working to enhance what we have done. It may take a while, but someone will come along who approaches the game the way I did. He won’t skip steps.  He won’t be afraid. He will learn from my example just as I learned from others. Unless they change the height of the basket or otherwise alter the dimensions of the game, there will be a greater player than me.”

Sixteen years ago, Jordan wondered about how great Kobe Bryant is. Looking at how his career turned out, I sure as heck don’t think he took shortcuts. He certainly didn’t skip steps and wasn’t afraid. And without a doubt, Bryant will go down as one of the best. Possibly even cracking that list of Top 10 players to play the game.

Just as Reggie Miller (who played against Jordan and Bryant in their primes) said of the latter’s feat of moving past MJ in the all-time scoring list, “It’s a truly special career. That’s a heck of a lot of points and a heck of a lot of longevity.”

Miller forgot to mention that Bryant has been relatively injury-free for most of his career (save the past two seasons where he was knocked out for an extended time). His longevity (18 years and counting) and relative durability is a testament to his greatness as a player.

Just as Jordan was quoted as praising Bryant, we too want to see what Kobe will accomplish next. We should just all sit back and enjoy one of the NBA’s all-time greats pour it on in the twilight of his career.

With Jordan’s words, prophetic or not, about players surpassing him. Let’s take at look at where he has been surpassed.

At one time or another, Jordan owned some 200 records in NBA history (all of which he achieved during his time in Chicago). However, since his full time retirement from the game, there are quite a few that have been broken:

Games scoring 20 or more points: 926. Broken by Karl Malone.
Seasons scoring 2,000 or more points: 11. Broken by Karl Malone.
Free throws made in a quarter: 14. Broken by Vince Carter.
Free throw attempts in a quarter: 16. Broken by Ben Wallace.
Consecutive free throws made in a game: 19. Broken by Dominique Wilkins.
Seasons leading the league in steals: 3. Broken by Chris Paul.
Scoring 10 or more points in career playoffs: 179. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Consecutive points in a playoff game: 17. Broken by Ray Allen.
Playoff field goal attempts: 4,497 points. Broken by Kobe Bryant.
Three-point field goals made in a half of a playoff game: 6. Broken by Vince Carter.
Three-point field goals attempted in a half of a playoff game: 9. Broken by John Starks.
Free throws made in one post-season: 183 free throws. Broken by Dirk Nowitski.
Free throws made in one playoff game: 13. Tied by Dirk Nowitski.
Career post-season free throw attempts: 1,766. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Free throw attempts one post-season: 229. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Free throw attempts in a 4-game series, one post-season: 58. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Free throw attempts, regulation, one game, playoffs: 28. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Free throw attempts, half, post-season: 17. Broken by Magic Johnson.
Free throw attempts, quarter, post-season: 14. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Post-season steals, career: 376. Broken by Scottie Pippen.
Field goals made in a 5-game NBA Finals series: 63. Broken by Allen Iverson.
Three-point field goals made, career, post-season: 42. Broken by Robert Horry.
Three-point field goals made, one game, NBA Finals game: 6. Broken by Kenny Smith.
Three-point fields goals, made in half, one NBA Finals game: 6. Broken by Ray Allen.
Three-point field goal attempts, one NBA Finals game: 10. Broken by John Starks.
Three-point field goal attempts, one NBA Finals game: 10. Broken by John Starks.
Free throw attempts, one half, NBA Finals game: 15. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
Free throw attempts, one quarter, NBA Finals game: 12. Broken by Shaquille O’Neal.
All-Star Game points, career: 262. Broken by Kobe Bryant.
All-Star Game field goals, career: 110. Broken by Kobe Bryant.
All-star Game field goals made, game: 17. Broken by Blake Griffin.

1 comment:

  1. As you all will notice, those records were broken by different players. And some of those records doesn't justify how it was broken especially the no. of attempts. No disrespect to Kobe, yes he surpassed the total points but we also have to consider the no. of games played (and credit to Kobe because of that longevity). It just goes to show that MJ is indeed the best.