Over the past decade and a half, no two players in the NBA have been compared more than Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Many believe Kobe is a mirror image to Jordan in terms of style of play and dominance on the basketball court. The Lakers superstar idolized Jordan growing up and perfected his craft while emulating the six-time NBA champion along the way.
In Roland Lazenby’s new book, Michael Jordan: The Life, Jordan spoke about Kobe during an NBA predraft camp in 2008. Jordan said the following about Kobe’s game that strongly resembles his own:
“But how many people lighted the path for me? That’s the evolution of basketball. There’s no way I could have played the way I played if I didn’t watch David Thompson and guys prior to me. There’s no way Kobe could have played the way he’s played without watching me play. So, you know, that’s the evolution of basketball. You cannot change that.”
Jordan went on to praise Kobe for putting in the work with the mental toughness to sustain a certain level of success in the NBA via Lazenby:
“So he’s not one that’s so different than me, but he is different than me. People just have to understand that, and realize that you may see a lot of similarities, but he’s definitely different.”
With five NBA titles, numerous milestones and the distinction as one of the best to have ever played the game, Kobe has cemented his legacy even if his career were to end today.
After signing a two-year contract extension worth $48.5 million, the Lakers superstar will have two more seasons to reach Jordan’s total of six NBA champions. Although many doubt the Lakers’ chances of contending for another title in the Kobe Bryant era, the perennial All-Star remains optimistic as long as the team makes the right moves this summer.
Along with Jordan chiming in on the Kobe comparison, Lazenby’s book also goes in-depth about Jordan’s experiences with Magic Johnson and former University of North Carolina teammate James Worthy over the years.
Roland Lazenby’s new book can be purchased at Amazon.com: Michael Jordan: The Life
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