Originally Posted by Collie
Does this mean I get 23 year old Bird as a rookie, and his career plays out roughly the same, and 17-year old Kobe as well, etc?
If yes, I take Kobe for longevity. Bird only had roughly 10 elite years(79-90 minus 88-89), though his peak was definitely better.
If I get something like a fully healthy Bird as a 21 year old rookie, I'd take him.
His peak better by what measure?
His PER (which compares his statistical production to the rest of the league that season) was never as high as Kobe's highest PER.
His stats were inflated during that time by the faster paced game.
His defense was never as good as Kobe's was.
I would choose Kobe because he's a proven winner. Even if he wasn't the primary option on the first championship teams, he was still a HUGE part of it.
Also, Kobe has won with two completely different teams. Not only won titles, but REPEATED, which is a rare thing in of itself. I don't know how much more of a proven winner you want.
On paper, in theory, Bird might be the better option. He produces nice stats. Seems to get along with his teammates. But Kobe is goddamn determined. I would put more faith in Kobe winning a championship than Bird.