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Kobe Bryant’s former high school coach has revealed one of the biggest, if not the biggest motivations for the Black Mamba. It’s well known that Kobe made the jump to the league out of high school and this man, Gregg Downer, must know a thing or two about the 5x time NBA champion.

Downer wrote a piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer in which he discussed how inspired Kobe was by Michael Jordan, with the former trying to emulate the Chicago Bulls legend during his time in the association.

Even though MJ and Kobe didn’t have as many duels as we would want, there is no doubt these two enjoyed going against each other on the court, having big respect and appreciation from one another.

Jordan showed that the day he spoke about Kobe and Gigi at their memorial service held at Staples Center last month and Downer believes that must have been something huge for KB24.

“I knew before many that Kobe’s real dream was to be the next Michael Jordan. We talked about it often as he developed from age 13 to 17, and you could clearly see it in his mannerisms, his imitations. Michael was a huge part of his identity.

“Jordan’s speech was iconic, just like the man himself. With tears pouring down his face, the ever-so-stoic and prideful Jordan — he of the six championship rings Kobe so relentlessly chased — acknowledged that Kobe was his little brother and that Kobe was an amazing player. Kobe had to have been smiling ear to ear from the heavens as his hero validated his greatness and gave him his due. I hope Kobe and Gianna shared that incredible moment.

“Most have no idea the work that went into Kobe’s chase of Michael’s acceptance and full respect. And I’m sure Kobe still wants M.J. one-on-one when he eventually joins him in heaven. Michael had better remember to bring his sneakers.”

There is no doubt these two men were the best of the best of the league and will be remembered as two of the top 3 players in history, at least. MJ won six NBA championships, while Bryant was only one title short to tie his record.

When you talk about basketball, it’s mandatory to mention Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Perhaps Kobe didn’t surpass Michael, but he was close to reaching his level.

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