When comparing players to the GOAT, Michael Jordan, perhaps nobody in league history came closer to emulating the former Bulls superstar than Kobe Bean Bryant.
Bryant may be behind Jordan on a lot of things, but their game, leadership styles, and work ethic is often what draws them in the same breath. The dudes are very similar and it’s no secret that they had a mentor/mentee relationship since Kobe entered the league.
The only thing more interesting than their similarities, however, may be their differences. While Kobe is often considered an MJ clone, there are a few glaring differences that make them different. Phil Jackson, who handled both over the course of his coaching career, highlighted these differences once, in a chat with the Philadelphia Eagles.
(via Tim McManus of ESPN)
Jackson dished on the series, gave insight into the differences between Michael Jordan’s and Kobe Bryant’s approaches (Jordan rode his teammates hard and cussed them out, while Bryant set the tone by never allowing himself to be outworked) and stressed the importance of everyone on the team taking pride in their roles, no matter how big or small.
Michael pushed his teammates through tough love. He cursed at them, criticized them, and called them out during practices. His goal was to toughen them up and bring out their best.
Kobe did a lot of that too but seemed to emphasize setting an example for his teammates to follow. He made sure his team saw him work every day and never let anyone be lazy — because he wasn’t lazy.
It’s hard to say their strategies didn’t work, considering how much success they saw over their careers. But even for as similar as Bryant and Mike are, it’s important to recognize what made them different and unique. Thanks to Phil for helping point that out.