They were almost the same but yet so different
While making an appearance on the B High Atl podcast, Kwame Brown talked about his time playing for the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers. That gave him an opportunity to play alongside two of the greatest players in NBA history, see how they carry themselves and what they are all about both on and off the court.
According to Kwame, they were extremely similar on the court; watching Kobe was like watching a younger version of Jordan but off the court is where you could see they had completely different personalities. Kwame pointed out that it seemed like Kobe was studying MJ a lot, mostly to emulate his moves and get the best out of his opponents, but privately they led completely different lifestyles.
"On the court, they are the exact same personality, and in the locker room, Kobe couldn't do what MJ did. I don't know how MJ was able to move around without security. You could see MJ in the local casino, a local bar with this little short guy. Kobe, on the other hand, not so much, and I didn't get to see him on a personal side like that. It's almost like Kobe studied MJ cause they were so similar in practices and when we went for dinners, but that is about that. MJ is just a regular dude; he is a regular guy that can hoop."
The media painted the wrong picture of Kwame
Kwame also reflected on his time with the Wizards, where he was drafted as the first pick and was humiliated by the media for not playing on the level expected from the first pick. He shared something relatively unknown to the public, and that is how the Wizards only drafted him to try and trade him for Elton Brand. Brand was coming off an impressive season, and they thought they could pair him up with Jordan in hopes of creating a legitimate playoff team.
"That was just the media game because I was supposed to get traded for Elton Brand. MJ and Doug Collins don't play young guys, and so the media knew that. It was the business thing, and that is why I never said anything; there was no point in saying nothing. Elton Brand that year was averaging 22 & 12 or something like that, so from a business standpoint that made sense. You move the young guy, get a couple of draft picks, Elton Brand, and now you got MJ, and you have a chance of winning it. That is what they were thinking. They didn't draft me to play me; they drafted me to trade me."
Coming into a team with Jordan being your teammate, Kwame used the opportunity to challenge him one-on-one in practice, but there was one rule in place that limited Kwame from the get-go. He couldn't back down Jordan and had to play him straight up, which meant any advantage he could've used to beat him was pretty much gone.
"We ended up playing basketball one-on-one, and it was a fun game, a good game. I jumped down on him quickly, but soon as he started doing the MJ thing, the fadeaways and everything. He wouldn't let you back him down because of stipulation, so there was no backdown."