Throughout the years, former Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant was often compared to his longtime mentor and idol Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. Bryant had many similarities in his game that mirrored what Jordan did, ranging from his mannerisms to shot selection on the court. The former Chicago Bulls great impact was quite evident from the get-go that only further brought forth a more substantial conversation about the two with Bryant developing into one of the greatest players to play the game. Despite all that, he never fed into the constant comparisons for one reason above all else.
Michael Jordan’s influence on Kobe Bryant
Bryant‘s quick rise to stardom in the NBA had quickly earned him many comparisons to his longtime idol.
There was a strong media push to put him in the picture as the next Jordan due to the similarities he shared with Jordan. That chatter grew louder as Bryant grew into his own skin in the league by developing into one of the best talents.
However, throughout the process, there were various moments and situations that saw him mirror the Hall of Famer on the court. Jordan’s impact and influence were quite apparent and grew louder when Bryant found championship success.
That dialogue never dwindled the further along he moved in his career, but it was one that he never let himself get too indulged by due to his mindset on the matter.
Why Kobe Bryant didn’t delve into Michael Jordan comparisons
The comparisons to Jordan were something that grew quite comfortable with over the years as he learned how to approach the discussion.
Following his retirement, he voiced in 2017 that he didn’t waste his time with that matter as only cared about things that he can definitively win. (H/T Essentially Sports)
“I don’t (think about it). One thing about me is I’m only going to care about something I know I can definitively win. If it’s not something I can definitively win, I’m not going to pay attention to it. If there’s an argument that’s happening, that argument is never going to go anywhere. Everybody’s going to argue till they’re blue in the face, so why would I think about it?
“If we’re playing ping pong, I know I can beat you in ping pong, I’m going to beat you in ping pong. I’m going to think about that. That’s a definitive thing. So I don’t think about that much.”
That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as Bryant never entertained the topic enough to place himself above or below Jordan. Instead, his focus laid elsewhere with things that he can tangibly win over his career.
Although Bryant remained firmly in the discussion with Jordan and even LeBron James over the years, there has never been any clear-cut choice in the conversation. Rather, there is an appreciation for being in the topic as it places him among the best to ever play in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant’s legacy
There will be those that side with Jordan and others that believe James is better than both former Bulls great and Bryant.
As the soon-to-be Hall of Famer pointed out, there will always be a heated debate over that prestige title. In turn, it should create a greater acknowledgment of the greatness of each of these players.
In Bryant’s case, he was a franchise-changing talent that was not only one of the greatest scorers in NBA history but a dominant defensive factor. Even more so after his tragic passing back in January as he left an everlasting impact on the game of basketball.