After Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna passed away, many NBA legends expressed their condolences for the unbearable loss. One of the players who have fond memories of Kobe is Scottie Pippen, who often competed against Kobe in the early stages of his career. Pippen hosted on the ABC News and said he immediately knew when Kobe was coming out of high school that he is seeing a charismatic kid ready to become one of the best players in the NBA.
“Looking back at Kobe in 1996, I was in the prime of my career and watched the young man’s career. We watched him come out of high school as a very raw, charismatic player, and he developed into in my eyes in one of the greatest players that I’ve ever watched on a basketball court.”
There were immediate comparisons between Kobe and Michael Jordan, and everyone was soon aware Kobe is in some way the second coming of Jordan and the future of the Lakers franchise. Bryant patterned his game by watching Jordan and emulating almost and absorbing everything he was able to learn from Jordan. Pippen said Bryant’s passion led him to polish his game to a level other players often said he had no weakness in his game.
“He was one of those players that idolized Michael Jordan, but he also mimicked Michael Jordan in a lot of ways. I watched him watch films of one of the greatest players ever to play the game, and he emulated his game, and to some degree, overcome his weaknesses and become one of the best players ever to play the game. I heard other players a few players even saying how he hasn’t had a weakness in his basketball game. He worked hard at everything and became great in every part of his game.”
After Bryant ended his career, there were numerous debates on who had a more successful career, and for Pippen, those debates are pointless. In his mind, both players were incredibly iconic, and their impact on the game was unmatched. Pippen said the main similarity between the two legends that they both wanted to prove they can be extremely efficient on both ends of the floor. Kobe specifically wanted to show everyone he can be in the same conversation as Jordan as the greatest player that ever played in the NBA.
“Two of the most charismatic players I’ve ever seen in the game, iconic. Those guys really set the bar in terms of two way playing on both ends of the court. Kobe wanted to be known as the greatest player ever to play the game. He wanted to become better than Michael Jordan. He wanted people to realize that he was right there and that he put in the work to let you know that he is one of the greats.”