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The "next Michael Jordan" debate/discussion will never stop raging. Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, though, thinks the case has been closed for a long time.

Speaking to the crowd at the Seattle Basketball Pro Am, the Emerald City native introduced Kobe Bryant as "this generation's Michael Jordan." Check it out, as captured by davidverts on Instagram:

Bryant certainly has something of a claim, using his prodigious shot-creating ability to win five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Others, though, believe LeBron James deserves the title, while many surely believe there will never be a "next Michael."

What do you think?


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In the June 26 issue of ESPN The Magazine, the discussion surrounded comebacks. How do the comebacks of some of the biggest names in sports stack up? Let's take a look.

Which comeback was greater, Jordan's first or his second?

1995-98
8.0 APG

Whatever your metric of choice, it's clear: Early Jordan (1984-93) trumped Middle Jordan (1995-98). Early MJ got to the line more (.385 FT rate vs. .346), was a more efficient scorer and had more steals and blocks. Counter to the notion that he came to trust his teammates as he aged, Early MJ even had more assists (a career-high 8.0/game came in 1988-89) than Middle MJ did. Which is all to say: MJ was slightly worse during his first comeback than the greatest player of all time. -- Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider

SportsNation

Which comeback was greater, Michael Jordan's first or his second?

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Discuss (Total votes: 45)

2001-03
+3.0

Jordan's second comeback, in 2001, was unprecedented. No perimeter player in NBA history has scored more points at ages 38 and 39 than MJ. (And not for nothing, only Kevin Durant played more minutes this season than the 39-year-old Jordan did in 2002-03.) The Wizards had just 19 wins in 2000-01, before His Airness arrived; they had 37 victories in each of his two seasons. But don't trust us -- trust metrics: The Wiz were three points better per 100 possessions with Jordan creaking and crawling down the floor. -- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Insider

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USA TODAY Sports

Kobe vs. Jordan one-on-one?

Shocking revelations from Phil Jackson: It turns out that Kobe Bryant is really confident. In an interview with Fox Sports Live, Jackson said that he asked Michael Jordan to talk to Kobe Bryant shortly after Jordan's second retirement in 1999. One might expect a young player to be a bit star-struck when meeting a legend like Jordan, but this is Kobe Bryant we're talking about here. Jackson said the first thing that Kobe said to MJ upon meeting him was ''I could kick your ass one-on-one.'' This is, of course, the perfect Kobe Bryant response -- we'd imagine Kobe says some version of that to most everyone he meets, whether or not they're even professional basketball players.

Who would win a game of one-on-one if both were in their primes?

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  • How many titles would Kobe Bryant have won with Michael Jordan's core team with the Bulls? (Jordan won six)

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      36%
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  • How many titles would Michael Jordan have won with Kobe Bryant's core team with the Lakers? (Bryant won five)

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      9%
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      8%
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      12%
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      51%

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video

Picking an all-time starting five for a pickup game is something of a habit for NBA fans and players alike, and some of the game's finest have recently gotten in on the fun. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon have all made their picks, and their teams have some interesting differences. Kobe chose two all-time great Celtics (Larry Bird and Bill Russell) in addition to Lakers stars Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Hakeem was the only of the three to put LeBron James on his team, in addition to John Stockton, Moses Malone and Shaquille O'Neal. MJ had teammate Scottie Pippen join Magic, James Worthy and Olajuwon. The only thing every team had in common? All of them picked Jordan.

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LeBron James has been compared to Michael Jordan many times in his career, but he still has a long way to go before he overtakes Jordan in the championships department -- or, if you believe Jordan, in a game of one-on-one. In an interview promoting the NBA 2K14 game, Jordan said that if he were in his prime, he wouldn't lose to LeBron in a solo matchup. LeBron (6-foot-8, 250 pounds) would have a significant size advantage over Jordan (6-6, 216), but MJ would have the edge in pure shooting. Honestly, given his legendary competitiveness, we're not sure we'd bet against Jordan, even if it were later on in his career.

Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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