It’s an open secret that Kobe Bryant had idolized Michael Jordan all his life. Nothing is more fitting that MJ now inducting him to the Hall of Fame.
Kobe came into the league with the sole aim of passing MJ as the greatest player of all time. Whether he was able to or not, the Black Mamba gave us 110% effort in his attempts.
There are too many things about Kobe’s game that seem to be mirror images of MJ’s skillset. The gait, the hands on hips, the tongue out, his celebrations, Kobe’s fadeaway jumpers – you could just see where he got it all from.
Truth be told, as basketball fans, there are no 2 legends who were more similar than Kobe and Michael. And it’s therefore fitting that the big brother welcomes the younger one into the fold of basketball immortality.
Michael Jordan had broken down during the celebration of Kobe’s life last year
The passing of Kobe Bryant was, for many people across the globe, the most traumatic single event of 2020. With his example of perseverance, hard work and undying competitive fire, Kobe had fueled people even outside of the sporting sphere.
The collective mourning and disbelief that the whole world experienced at the time is something no one can forget. In some ways, Kobe represented basketball better than anyone we’ve ever known.
And as the guy who served as his mentor, Michael Jordan was deeply impacted by Kobe’s departure. He was one of those invited to Staples Center in order to speak during the celebration of Kobe’s life in February 2020.
Jordan knew that the occasion would get the better of him, but he felt it was important for him to be there for his friend. And so up the podium he went, and gave us yet another speech for the ages:
“When Kobe died, a part of me died too.”
MJ will be inducting Kobe Bryant into the Hall of Fame this week
In an interview with ESPN’s Jackie Macmullan, the GOAT revealed how exactly he came to be the one ushering the Black Mamba into the Hall of Fame:
“Vanessa asked me once he passed away. In all honesty, I knew he probably would. It was either me or Shaq, since they won three championships together.”
“I told her, ‘Look, I know this is a tough time. I’m always here if you need me. She answered back, ‘I would love it if you stood up for Kobe at the Hall of Fame.'”
“It’s going to be a great honor, to be honest. It’s like standing up for a family member. He paid me the highest respect by trying to emulate certain things I did. And I can only repay that by showing my support and admiration for a guy who I felt was one of the greatest to ever play the game.”