Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Kobe vs. Wilt: Which is more impressive?

After Kobe Bryant had his 81 point game the other night everyone immediately started comparing it to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game. This is something that happens all of the time in this day and age in sports. Something like Kobe's 81 points or Barry Bonds hitting 70 homeruns. People and the media try to blow things up by comparing it to a near mythical record set back when players played more for the love than for the money.

Kobe's 81 is insane, but comparing it to Wilt's 100 is legitimately silly and I'll tell you why. Because basketball is a team sport and watching Kobe dribbling around like a chicken with his head cut off before shooting an off-balance jumper isn't appealing to me and it means that all his team is doing is setting an occasional screen and getting out of the way.

Wilt Chamberlain was 7 feet 1 inch tall. Needless to say his 100 points required the help of his team because 7-footers don't generally bring the ball up the floor, especially in 1962.

Here's where Philly's Guy Rodgers comes into the play. He had 20 assists in that game. The Lakers as a team only had 18 assists in Kobe's game. The rest of the Philly team added what looks to be another 18 assists on top of Rodgers 20(the writing is a little fuzzy from the boxscore). Philly also had 4 other players in double-digit scoring compared to Kobe's 2 other teammates with double-figures. So at the end of the game the reporters could actually ask other teammates of Chamberlain a question other than "how did it feel to be out on the court away from Kobe and watch him score all of those points?"

Chamberlain went 28 of 32 from the foul line too. Not bad for a career 51 percent free throw shooter and he had 25 rebounds as if the 100 points wasn't enough. Then on top of that Chamberlain's game was just a more fun game to watch. New York 147-Philly-169 that's 316 points 90 more points than the Lakers/Raptors game. That's like free basketball folks.

Anyway, Wilt averaged 40 and 50 points for entire seasons and never once had the opportunity to shoot a 3-pointer, so let's not call Kobe the greatest just yet. What Kobe did was a great individual accomplishment in a very selfish era of basketball that no one saw because football was on. I'd rather watch the Pistons score 81 as a team than Kobe score it all alone.

Besides, Kobe will need a few more 80 point games before he'll be remembered as anything more than the guy who decided he was bigger than a dynasty of championships.


Piccu said...

Good points, but you hate Kobe so I had NO idea you would say Wilt's was more impressive. First off, no one has seen Wilt's game, but I imagine it was a whole lot of sky hooks and lay ins, most of his stuff would have been within two feet of the basket. Kobe had threes, mid range jumpers, lay ins and dunks, and free throws. Kobe had to do more to get his. Also Wilt was probably taller than all the guys that defended him, while in the NBA today, everyone is Kobe's height. By the by, Kobe had two of the team's 18 assists so he at least tried to do something for the team.

One more thing, if Kobe did not do what he did, the Lakers would not be where they are right now. He is the whole reason they win any games and he has to take over or nothing gets done.

I am not sure which one is most impressive, but I think you can make as good an argument for Kobe as you can for Wilt. Two different eras, two different styles, but only one game can you actually watch on Classics.

BRATCH said...

Why would you watch it on Classic? Just find the Laker game that is happening and Kobe recreates the experience every night. In fact, he takes it on the road too and it's on TV live.

What does it for me is that Wilt scored 100 points and the team finished with 169. If Kobe scores 150, the Lakers still won't get 169.

It was a different era. Today we have running and gunning, big time dunks, big time bombs from 3-point land and a super offensively minded style of ball.

Oh wait a minute, it was 1962 when they scored 169 points. My bad.

The only reason Kobe scored 81 was because he hit 60 percent of his shots that particular night. On any given night he's going to take 35-40 just like that night against Toronto.

And I also think that Chamberlain had a whole lot to do with his team's success as well. Even more that Kobe if I may be so bold. When Kobe scores 100 then talk to me then and we can decide how much the 3-pointer comes into play.

100 is more than 81. It's science.

Travis said...

And it's not a bad point to say that people hate Kobe. Of course they do. He came straight from high school (which people hate.) He's selfish (which people hate.) He broke up the Lakers (which Laker fans hate.) He probably raped a girl (which people hate.) Then he paid off his wife with a 418karat diamond ring (which people hate.)
So let's not dismiss this idea that people hate Kobe. They have good reason to hate Kobe, even if hate is a strong term.

That has little to do with the comparison with Wilt's 100, but I still like to say it.

Wilt's 100 is better for several reasons:
1. 100 > 81
2. Wilt hit more shots.
3. Wilt hit more FTs.
4. It's easier to stop a center than it is to stop a guard because you can pressure the passers, collapse down and rotate help. Against dribble, stop and pop Kobe, that's hard to do.

Piccu said...

I see the bile coming out in these comments. If this were Michael Jordan, the famous gambler, adulterer, then their would be a world wide celebration and there would be no argument. Because he is such a polarizing player it is hard to side with Kobe. I do not care for Kobe, but I realize that right now he is doing things on the court that we haven't seen in a long while.

I realize Wilt meant a lot to his team, but you take Kobe off the Lakers, and they would not win 20 games. It's also pretty easy to throw a ball into Wilt and watch him lay it in or hook it over the head of someone 3 to 5 inches shorter than he is.

I am not arguing who scored the most points in a game. The argument is which is more impressive. That is an argument, because of the different eras and different styles, that can be made. I know there is no use arguing that Kobe's is more impressive (because many people hate him and would never side with him) and I am not, but I think there is a legitimate argument to be made. For every reason you give for Wilt, someone can come up with one for Kobe, that is what makes it a good argument.

If personal feelings can be put to the side, I believe more would see that this is true.