Michael Jordan says Kobe Bryant benefited from watching him play

Credit: Yahoo Sports
Credit: Yahoo Sports /

Kobe Bryant has been compared to Michael Jordan from the days he entered the league as a prolific scorer out of Lower Merion high school in Ardmore, Penn and as he developed his craft in the NBA the similarities became more and more common.

From the high-flying dunks early in their careers to the turnaround fadeaway jumpers to the uber-competitive nature they had to the same speech pattern in interviews, Bryant seemed like a player modeling (copying) his game after “Air Jordan.” and the former Chicago Bulls guard thinks he’s the reason why the Los Angeles Lakers guard plays the way he plays.

In his new biography Michael Jordan: The Life, Roland Lazenby relayed Jordan’s words of how Bryant modeled his game after that of the player widely-regarded as the greatest of all-time. (via Lakers Nation’s Ryan Ward):

"“But how many people lighted the path for me? That’s the evolution of basketball. There’s no way I could have played the way I played if I didn’t watch David Thompson and guys prior to me. There’s no way Kobe could have played the way he’s played without watching me play. So, you know, that’s the evolution of basketball. You cannot change that.”"

Now this is a normal to pick up traits from your predecessors, we see in in all sports, music and other ventures, including from Jordan as he referenced David Thompson and he has previously mentioned Julius Erving as a player he tried to emulate early in his career. Although Jordan does like to remind us that Kobe steals all his moves and Bryant hasn’t been shy about denying that.

But can you blame him?

How many of us growing up wanted to be like Mike? Heck there were commercials and a number of advertisements about that very subject. We all wanted to be Michael Jordan, so let’s not come down hard on Kobe for doing what any of us would have done if we had 1/10 the talent that the future Hall of Famer has.

A decade from now we’ll have Kobe writing a book about how Kevin Durant and others in this generation were influenced by what he accomplished during his NBA career and in 25 years we’ll see the same thing with LeBron James.

We all pick up from our predecessors and see what they did that made them successful, so my hope is the great players of the future remember their predecessors and have an appreciation for the players who came before them.