The basketball fates intertwined Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant for eternity. Kobe’s incessant pursuit of emulating, exceeding, and surpassing Jordan became conventional public knowledge over time. While Bryant’s chances of winning another NBA title to match Jordan’s six championships seems unlikely, after his 29 points in a loss to the Wizards on Wednesday Kobe is 99 points away from passing Michael Jordan to become third on the NBA all-time scoring list.
In a thorough and all-around awesome interview with Kobe via Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, there was only talk of his evolved relationship with Michael Jordan, which started on his feelings of approaching MJ on the all-time scoring list:
Nineteen years is a long time to be playing, and I’ve had a different career path than Michael. It has been a hell of a marathon. I’m really proudest of that.
On how his relationship came about with Jordan:
We hit it off very well. He was really like a big brother, and whether it’s because we see things in a similar way in terms of our competitive spirit or fire or whatever the case may be, there’s an understanding that we have—a connection that we have.
Jordan has said before that Kobe “stole his moves”, which to some degree can be proven with particular evidence, but Kobe hints at some of his other influences:
The thing that I always bristled at was the notion that I learned everything that I know from Michael. That’s just not true. Hakeem Olajuwon deserves a lot of credit; Jerry West deserves a lot of credit. Oscar Robertson deserves a lot of credit. I really was a student of the game and watched everybody.
I’ve always welcomed the comparison to Michael if it’s in competitive spirit or in terms of records that I may set. I’ve always been cool with that. To be in that kind of company is…is…is…crazy, for lack of a better term. Rare air.
Check out a lot more from Kevin Ding’s interview with Kobe Bryant in the link above.