Former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant put together an illustrious 20-year NBA career that established him as an all-time talent. Throughout his playing days, he developed lasting connections with many of the game’s best players. One of which led Bryant to steal one of Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller‘s moves.
Reggie Miller accuses Kobe Bryant of stealing his signature move
Throughout their respective careers, Bryant and Miller shared strong mutual respect.
The foundation for the shared standing between the two grew after taking part in a segment for MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge in 1998. During that time, it saw Bryant and Miller decide to play each other in friendly 1-on-1 competition.
The two quickly began to share information on moves and other on-court habits. It then led to Miller teaching Bryant had to do his patent stepback jumper while the Lakers star showed him how to do his crossover move. All that came full circle for Miller in the 2001 NBA Finals as Bryant used the move to hit a critical shot in Game 3 of that series.
“Sure enough three years later in the NBA Finals that same move that I was showing him my stepback [jumper] he hit in Game 3 after Shaq fouled out,” Miller said during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show in December 2017. “As he’s running down the court, he pats me on the butt and says ‘You should have never shown me that stepback’ I was like ‘I am going to kill this young kid'”
Miller learned the hard way not to become so friendly with opposing players as it helped Bryant at that crucial moment. It also shows that early in his career, the Lakers star guard had a thirst for learning and improving his game in any manner.
Kobe Bryant admitted he stole 1 of Reggie Miller’s signature moves: ‘Of course I did’
It didn’t take long for Miller’s story to receive confirmation from the former Lakers great.
During an interview on The Dan Patrick Show in April 2018, the 18-time All-Star admitted he stole Miller’s stepback jumper move.
“Of course, I did,” Bryant said. “We were at the basketball court at UCLA and we were standing there wasting time, so I said ‘Hey let’s play 1-on-1.’ We played and I was able to look at that stepback up close. I said ‘Hmm I am stealing that. I like that.’ When I came into the league it was only two guys doing the stepback: Reggie Miller and Latrell Sprewell.
“So you got to learn from those around you. You got to see what they do well so if you can use that in your game.”
Bryant had no shame in sharing that he took moves from many of the game’s greatest players as he viewed himself as a true student of the game.
“I studied everyone, so I was a complete basketball geek,” Bryant said. “Parts of my game I really modeled after Michael [Jordan], but there were other parts that I took from Jerry West, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, George Gervin, Andrew Toney, and Sam Jones. The list goes on and on. Everybody does bits and pieces of the game. Like little strengths that they all have, so what I would try to do is study them and see why these moves work then go out in the backyard and try them.
“Then I would try them when I played other kids, and then see why it worked and why it didn’t work. I was a complete basketball nerd. Michael [Jordan] gets most of the credit, but I really really took from a lot from a lot of the greats, including James Worthy.”
Beyond his incredible work ethic and talent, Bryant ventured the extra mile to get the most out of his ability. In other words, his passion for the game pushed him to tremendous heights.
Kobe Bryant’s NBA legacy forever cemented
The story involving Miller is another shining example of Bryant‘s unwavering passion for the game of basketball.
It’s a critical element that drove him to get the most out of his talent throughout his 20-year career. It guided him to earn numerous accolades, such as five NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards, a regular-season MVP award, 15 All-NBA Team selections, 12 NBA All-Defensive Team nods, and his two jersey numbers retired with the Lakers.
Beyond all that, Bryant’s legacy is cemented as an all-time great that left an everlasting impact on the game.