Jordan, Kobe and Representativeness Heuristic

Knickerblogger writes: “As a basketball fan of the 80s & 90s, it’s hard to deny Jordan’s greatness. At his peak he was the closest thing to perfection on the basketball court; it seemed that he was the only one capable of stopping himself from winning a championship. So when I see Kobe Bryant who closely resembles Michael’s game, my instinct is to put them on the same level. And I’m not the only one.”

Disclaimer: I am an eternal Michael Jordan fan, but i do acknowledge that Kobe Bryant does come close to how he plays, he talks, walks, and plays the game.

But Knickerblogger brings up the topic of “representativeness heuristic” where:

“People tend to judge the probability of an event by finding a ‘comparable known’ event and assuming that the probabilities will be similar. As a part of creating meaning from what we experience, we need to classify things. If something does not fit exactly into a known category, we will approximate with the nearest class available.

So, is Kobe in the same league as his Airness?

Knickerblogger doesnt think so.

In other words since Kobe plays like Jordan, and is similar enough to him, people attribute Jordan’s other attributes to Kobe. But in reality this is false. Bryant is a good player, but nowhere near Michael’s level. And without statistics that subtle but important difference may not be clear.

Although Kobe is good in many areas, Jordan was flat out dominant. If you count all the seasons where a player averaged 30 pts/36 with a true shooting percentage over 58.9% (Jordan’s averages at Kobe’s age) since the 3-point era, you’ll find only 4 such seasons. Three belong to Jordan, and the fourth is Kiki Vandeweghe. Do the same with Kobe’s averages (24.8 pts/36, 55.8 ts%), and you’ll find 113 seasons. Kobe only has 4 of those seasons, while Jordan appears on that list 10 times.

Personally, Michael wouldn’t let his Bulls lose like how the Lakers did a couple of days ago in Game 4 in Houston. Sure, he did get beat a couple of times, but he was right there in the thick of the action. Kobe might be considered the Mamba, but MJ will come out on that court and will rip your heart out.

Oh, Michael is wayy smarter than Kobe. Not to mention tougher. Nothing against Kobe. MJ just played in a tougher and less crybaby league.

Original article by Knickerblogger

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