‘The Last Dance’ gave us a small peek into the relationship that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan had. While brief, it was exactly the kind of Kobe Bryant cameo that Los Angeles Lakers fans wanted to see while also tugging at the heartstrings.
Throughout his career, Kobe Bryant has been compared to Michael Jordan. Not only were they both the best players of their era, but they had similar skillsets and both had that killer mentality.
Kobe was the closest thing to MJ that we have had since MJ and that raises the question: who is the closet thing to Kobe Bryant that we have in the league today?
Los Angeles Lakers: Players that remind us of Kobe Bryant the most.
We took to Twitter to ask our readers which players remind them of Kobe Bryant the most. You guys gave us the names, we will break down the reasoning.
The first comparison to Kobe comes in someone that Kobe worked out with over the offseason, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Now, on paper, Giannis and Kobe are not even close to being similar. Giannis is a big, bruising forward that is still working on his shot and does most of his damage at the rim.
However, in terms of being the alpha on the court, it definitely is Giannis. Even with LeBron James still in the league, Giannis has blossomed into that alpha male in the league who is also a tireless worker, like Kobe.
Damian Lillard has something that not many people have had in the league since Kobe Bryant called it a career: ice water in his veins. Out of everyone in the league, Lillard has to be the best player in putting the team on his back when it matters most and does so by shooting the basketball.
Lillard is a bit more involved in facilitating than Kobe was, simply because he plays the point guard position, but his killer mentality, especially when it matters most, makes him comparable to Kobe.
There is a select group of people online who think Kawhi Leonard is the closest thing to Michael Jordan right now and while I do think Leonard has not done nearly enough to be compared to Jordan, I understand the comparisons to Jordan and Kobe.
Leonard is a lethal scorer but does not utilize the three-point shot as his main form of offense. He has it in his arsenal, but he is not an elite three-point shooter and turns to it when it is needed.
Out of everything Leonard does, aside from the defense that made Jordan and Kobe so great, we can get shades of Kobe and MJ when he hits that turnaround jumper. Kawhi has perfected that 18-foot turnaround jumper as his signature move and it is something we rarely see in today’s NBA.
That is fair. Russell Westbrook is probably the most intense player in the league and while he can be frustrating to watch at times, his intensity is off the charts, although Kobe channeled it in a less-reckless way.
I thought this would be more popular because of Kobe’s influence on Tatum and the fact that he worked out with Kobe as well, but it was not a popular response. Early-career Tatum looked a lot more like Kobe with his shot selection and the way he fit into the Boston Celtics’ offense.
You definitely could see the influence that Kobe has had in his game with Tatum sprinkling in a bit of his own style as a modern-day NBA wing.
He is bigger than Kobe and is slightly slower and less athletic (not to say that he is not athletic) than Kobe was at such a young age.
Interestingly, it is surprising that there are no Los Angeles Lakers players that compare to Kobe. LeBron James has the star power and alpha mentality, but that is about it.