Kobe Bryant had supreme confidence in himself even in high school, believing he could go toe-to-toe with Michael Jordan.
There are innumerable stories of how Kobe made it his mission to go down the path of MJ. He’d constantly tell his teammates as a rookie that he was trying to be the GOAT. When Horace Grant joined the Lakers, Kobe would constantly pick his brain about MJ’s routines, his styles of training and other stuff that he could copy.
Apparently, his fascination with MJ dates even further back – right to his high school days. David Lasman, one of Bryant’s former teammates at Lower Merion, a suburban high school outside Philadelphia, told this story:
“I remember Kobe saying, ‘Michael Jordan can’t stop me. I’m not saying I can stop him. But he can’t stop me.’”
Michael Jordan validated this opinion of Kobe Bryant
Not surprisingly, this Michael Jordan shared this opinion when he was asked if any player in any era could beat him 1-on-1. Jordan ticked off a long list of names. This list contained Jerry West, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, even Carmelo Anthony.
But at the end, he only gave one player a chance – the great Black Mamba: “I don’t think I’ll lose. Other than Kobe Bryant because he steals all my moves.”
While LeBron vs MJ may be a debate in terms of who’s greater in 5-on-5 settings, Jordan definitely takes the cake in 1-on-1 streetball. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are probably the only two players who can hold a candle to his skill level.
We all know how he retired in 1993, only to come back and 3-peat? Well, he did it by refocusing his offensive skill to score from the post. Jordan scored over 50% of his mid-range jumpers during his regular season campaigns in his second threepeat. This is just a mark of his ability as a pure scorer, primarily in isolation.