Cover Image for “Andrew Wiggins to me was what I was to Michael Jordan”: When Kobe Bryant was enamored by how the future Warriors star reflected his own play as a Lakers rookie

“Andrew Wiggins to me was what I was to Michael Jordan”: When Kobe Bryant was enamored by how the future Warriors star reflected his own play as a Lakers rookie

Samir Mehdi
|Tue Jun 14 2022

Kobe Bryant once said that watching Andrew Wiggins play was like looking into a reflection of his own following a Timberwolves and Lakers game. 

Andrew Wiggins was lauded as being the next Kobe Bryant by the time the latter had retired from the NBA. However, a series of lackluster seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves resulted in him not exactly fulfilling the ‘prophecy’ that was laid out for him. 

Fast-forward to the 2020 season, with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry on the mend, the Golden State Warriors were near the bottom of the league in standing. The first step into getting back into contention came with the Timberwolves’ obsession of pairing Karl Anthony Towns with his best friend, D’Angelo Russell.

Also read: “I feel like being here, it’s just such a winning culture”: Andrew Wiggins can’t thank the Warriors enough for his growth after being labeled bust

A D’Angelo Russell trade that sent him to the Timberwolves and brought Wigs to the Bay along with the pick that turned into Jonathan Kuminga was what the former no. 1 overall pick needed to added new life into his career. 

Andrew Wiggins has gone on to prove that Bob Myers and crew won that mid-season trade by a landslide, with last night’s Game 5 being the confirmation for this.

Kobe Bryant on watching Andrew Wiggins play against him for the first time.

In a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers on December 15th, 2014, Kobe Bryant in his 19th season would face off against Andrew Wiggins, the number one overall pick from Kansas. Wiggins showed exemplary skill on the offensive end of the floor with his footwork and shot creation.

Comparisons to a young Kobe Bryant ran amuck and rightfully so. Facing off against one another was surreal for both of them that night as ‘Bean’ claimed it was like looking into a mirror.

“Yeah, it was a strange feeling, because I remember being Andrew Wiggins. I remember playing against Michael my first year. To be here tonight and to play against him, seeing the baby face and the little footwork or little technique things that he’s going to be much sharper at as time goes on -it was like looking at a reflection of myself 19 years ago. It was pretty cool.”

Last night’s Game 5 against the Celtics showed why people saw that type of potential in him. While he may have shot poorly from beyond the arc, he made up for it with efficient baskets from within, carrying the offense in the 4th quarter. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds on the night.

Also read: “Is it possible Andrew Wiggins is going to pull a 2015 Andre Iguodala?”: Skip Bayless hints at Mr. Fantastic whisking away FMVP under Stephen Curry

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About the author

Samir Mehdi

Covering everything from Wilt Chamberlain's offensive goaltending games in 1962 to Ja Morant's points in the paint absurdity in 2022.

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