Not so ‘Like Mike’? Why Kobe Bryant may have negatively impacted the potential in which he is remembered

Not so ‘Like Mike’?  Why Kobe Bryant may have negatively impacted the potential in which he is remembered


Everyone wants to be like Mike, right? Well yes, Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever walk planet earth and all NBA players should aspire to reach a level close to his Airness, but in the case of Kobe Bryant, things may have, and perhaps should have, transpired a little differently in my opinion.

In a recent interview, due to growing up in Italy, Kobe Bryant stated that when he was younger, he had actually never heard of Michael Jordan. He went on to say that his initial recognizable NBA figure that he could remember was the Great Magic Johnson. This made me wonder about the initial stages of Bryant’s career and how it has transformed over time.

As Bryant leaves the game of basketball, we will only then get an indication of how he will be remembered when talking about the All-time greats that’s ever played, especially at the Shooting Guard position, as time passes. Kobe has without a doubt left a lasting impression on the game and its fans, but even with all the talent and accolades, for me, its somewhat anticlimactic, as we’ve seen this all before, right?

It is no secret that Kobe molded his own game around Michael Jordan, perfecting his moves, taking on the same persona, studying every single aspect of his game, mirroring his killer mentality etc, and these are all brilliant things, however, these things may be the reason he is hurt in the he way he is remembered as the years go on. I know what you’re thinking, who wouldn’t want to be like Mike? And you’re right, however in Bryant’s case, I believe it could also be a downfall when judging his place in history as well as his claim for the games ultimate label, the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

The problem is, as incredible as Kobe Bryant’s illustrious career has been, he will always live in the shadow of Michael Jordan. Bryant took us on an unbelievable ride, but it is a ride we have unfortunately already rode on. In fact, it was a less established, glorified and successful one. In terms of pure talent, Jordan and Kobe are very similar, however, in terms of Resume, Kobe has come up short. Bryant came up 1 ring short of matching MJ and multiple MVPs of coming close to the great one, this isn’t and shouldn’t be the way we judge players, but unfortunately for NBA fans and personalities, it is. I believe that this definitely may hinder Kobe’s place in history as he had everything MJ had, however his resume doesn’t stack up or even surpass Jordan’s. So in saying that, it’s now impossible for Kobe to ever surpass him or even stand next to him in some fans eyes.

Kobe could do it all offensively, he had everything Jordan did, and he perhaps even had a little more. Kobe shot the 3 significantly better than Jordan ever did, his fade aways were just as beautiful or perhaps even better, and purely putting up points, he was second to none. Jordan was more efficient in his scoring and was perhaps the better facilitator, but even then, we are pulling at straws to separate them offensively. Additionally, Kobe had to play against zone defenses his whole career which Jordan didn’t have to ever really deal with until he was ready to call it a day but these things will never be taken into account when trying to ever put Kobe ahead, or even next to Jordan in the everyday NBA fans mind.


For me, it’s a shame, because I believe if Kobe slightly changed his game, he could be in the conversation to be superior to Jordan. Due to the skillset, his fundamentals and the era he played in, if Kobe slightly changed his game and added different aspects to his game (facilitating, sacrificing more as he aged), he could have definitely had a chance to go down as perhaps the greatest player we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, he didn’t. He was consumed and obsessed with copying Jordan, and in this, he may have in some ways tarnished his legacy and ability to be remembered as a potential GOAT, or at least be in the conversation.

You see, NBA fans, players, coaches and analysts say “He’s the closest thing to Michael Jordan”, “He’s our generation of Jordan”, but if you really think about it, these statements are just as negative as they are positive. People claim he’s the closest thing to Jordan, and rightly so, but this statement is purely in terms of playing style and all around persona and heart. If you wanted an exact replica of Jordan, you have Kobe, and that’s all well and good, but Kobe never became his own image, his own player. He was the “second coming” of Jordan, or Jordan 2.0 instead of the first ever Kobe Bryant. Kobe had all the tools to do it, but instead of becoming an original, he became a lesser duplication.

Nowadays, players like LeBron James and Steph Curry will be compared and stacked up against Jordan because they are both very different than he was. They bring different things to the table and they both possess attributes he didn’t have. They are different bodies, with different aspects to their game. Not so much Steph yet, he still needs sustained Greatness to be in the conversation, but LeBron is able to already stack up against Jordan in terms of talent and ability because of what he brings to the table and the approach he takes. LeBron’s resume is still building but in terms of an individual talent, he is right there, and due to his diversity in comparison to Jordan, people are able to choose sides and debate which one could be better or more valuable to a team and franchise than the other. The same cannot be said about Kobe, because he and Jordan are basically identical. They will never debate who is superior because principally, it goes without saying. They do not differ, so Kobe being in conversation becomes increasingly more difficult. It’s very hard to be above someone when you are an exact replica but lesser version of that exact player.

I truly believe this could well and truly impact the way people remember Kobe, maybe not by much, but by enough. Unfortunately, the sequel wasn’t better than the original.


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