‘People Hated Him For It’: Former NFL Star Compares Late NBA Analyst to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan

Published 04/08/2021, 6:14 AM EDT


Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were cut from the same cloth. The two players were almost identical across their combined 40 years in the NBA. Both Jordan and Kobe were shooting guards, who were mercurial talents. But perhaps the thing most common between the two icons was their mentality. Neither player would ever give up and would do everything to lead their team to victory.

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Kobe Bryant was the closest to Michael Jordan

Former NFL player and current analyst Ryan Clarke spoke recently on his podcast. When discussing former colleague Stuart Scott, he talked about the relationship between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant“Kobe, who I think was the closest thing we’ve seen. Everybody wanted to be him. But Kobe was the only one that was so close that people hated him for it.”

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“Stu was Michael was Michael Jordan to me”. It’s been a strange toward to Explain your tweets, Power Rankings, black culture references and rap lyrics on air, but we are here now. It ain’t MJ or Kobe, but the fade away is on point. R.I.Paradise 👑 #StuartScott #MambaForever pic.twitter.com/C8OhwEGXsv

— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) April 8, 2021

Kobe Bryant was considered the natural successor to Michael Jordan. Like Jordan, Kobe Bryant was a shooting guard and a gifted scorer. Jordan and Kobe faced off a few times during Kobe’s final years, most notably during the 1998 All-Star game, where Bryant and Jordan went head to head with each other throughout. Jordan was seen talking to and mentoring Kobe throughout the game.

Kobe and Michael – Two Sides of the same coin

Kobe had the opportunity to play under Phil Jackson, the coach who helped lead Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships. Jackson used Bryant in the triangle offense the exact same way he did with Jordan. The two players had incredibly similar profiles, and Jackson used that to his advantage. Bryant was the closest thing to Jordan that the league has seen.

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Even Kobe’s resume is incredibly similar to Jordan’s. Kobe has won five NBA championships, to Jordan’s six. Like Jordan, Bryant has been an MVP, multiple-time All-Star, and successfully completed a three-peat. The two played under Phil Jackson for most of their career and found all of their championship success under him.

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Will we ever see another player like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan? The two stars redefined what it meant to be a shooting guard. We haven’t seen a shooting guard close to their caliber since Dwyane Wade in Miami. But the league has seen amazing new players in the form of Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, and Anthony Edwards, who are showing high promise.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1036 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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