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9 Years Before Stinging Michael Jordan Snub, 5x All-Star Confessed Not Facing Kobe Bryant to Be His Biggest Blessing

Published 09/25/2023, 3:30 PM EDT

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Many fans have drawn comparisons between Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant. The similarities in their playing styles are truly uncanny. However, one would assume that NBA players would choose MJ over Kobe as the more difficult player to guard. Considering that Jordan has more individual player achievements than Kobe, the argument makes sense. However, that is not the case, as NBA players who have played against both the NBA legends stand divided on who is a tougher player to guard.

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In an interview with a top sports media firm, a 5x All-Star picks Kobe Bryant over Michael Jordan as the tougher player to defend against.

5x All-Star on guarding the late Kobe Bryant


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5x All-Star and NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill played against a prime MJ and a prime Kobe Bryant. In an interview with ‘Bleacher Report’ from 2013, Grant Hill acknowledges the skills of Jordan but crowns late Kobe Bryant as the toughest player that he had to defend.

He said in the 2013 interview, “Now that I’m retired, I can probably say now that I don’t have to see him anymore is Kobe. I felt like I played him well, and I felt like I made him work. But I’d do out there and he’d still hit some crazy shots on me…even in the recent years, he was tough.”.


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Grant Hill further explained, “It was hard to really have a game plan for him because he really didn’t have a whole lot of weaknesses. He could go either way, he could go over each shoulder in the post. He could catch and shoot, he could go off the dribble. A lot of guys have a game plan to try and stick to, and certain guys have tendencies… but with Kobe, it was hard to figure him out.”.

The Black Mamba was a true student of the game, who tirelessly polished his game over the years. His dedication to the game and his work ethic was second to no one. Not even Michael Jordan.

Kobe Bryant’s dedication towards his game

Kobe Bryant joined the NBA in 1996. He had come into the league right after the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls completed their second three-peat. As a fan of Jordan’s, Kobe Bryant crafted his basketball moves and most definitely took inspiration from the 6x NBA champion’s game.

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Many NBA fans criticised him for copying the Chicago Bulls legend but Kobe Bryant was on another wavelength altogether. He took inspiration from the player who’s considered as arguably the best player to have ever played the game of basketball. But he didn’t stop there. With his incredible work ethic and the heart of a champion, he worked tirelessly to become more skilled.


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He finally reached a point where he had almost no weaknesses offensively. He took Michael Jordan’s skills and incorporated them into his own. In his prime, Kobe Bryant’s offensive ability was virtually unstoppable. He always had options, even when he was double-teamed by the opposite team. Therefore, it makes sense why an NBA veteran like Grant Hill believes that the late great Kobe Bryant was the toughest player to guard.

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What are your thoughts on NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill’s opinion? Let us know in the comments below!


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Written by:

Akhil Chakravarthy


One take at a time

Akhil is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for more than a decade and represented his state at the National level. To hone his understanding of the inner workings of the game, he closely follows the analysis of popular NBA insiders and reporters like Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph