Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have been compared to each other for a very long time. After holding the third all-time scoring record for many years, Jordan’s incredible accomplishment will likely be surpassed by Bryant sometime in the next few weeks.
In a recent interview with The Bleacher Report, Bryant was asked to define Jordan’s key attribute.
“Aggression. It’s not one game or one play, in particular; it’s just his aggressiveness. It takes a lot of work, a lot of conditioning, skill and thought to be that aggressive and that assertive. He was relentless, man. He just kept coming after you.
“He just kept attacking, attacking, attacking—and attacking in different ways, from different spots on the floor, with different forms of footwork. Posting, perimeter, versatility…”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 5, 2014
It’s no secret that Bryant did take some of his moves from Jordan. In fact, there’s a YouTube compilation of Kobe mimicking Jordan’s mannerisms on the court.
Being aggressive on the court means taking risks. And both players took risks by taking shot after shot. Earlier this year, Bryant broke the record for most missed field goals. In 1997, Jordan made a famous “failure” Nike ad that highlighted this aspect of his — and Bryant’s — game.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over, and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Bryant has nothing but admiration for his idol and said their friendship runs deep.
“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.”
Kobe Bryant is 99 points away from passing Michael Jordan and moving into 3rd place on NBA’s all-time scoring list. pic.twitter.com/6WFuLCjIUS
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 4, 2014
“I don’t know if he opened up with me more than he did with other players, I’m not sure. I don’t know if other players had the balls even to ask. But we have a really, really good relationship,” said Bryant.