It’s crazy to think that it’s been over a year since Kobe Bryant passed away. He inspired so many people not only on basketball but outside of sports thanks to his mentality, his determination, and the way he faced every single aspect of his life.
Kobe touched the hearts, souls, and minds of countless NBA players, including Jamal Crawford; who was always in awe with him and his approach to the game.
Crawford grew to become pretty good friend’s with Kobe and knew a couple of his secrets, including the fact that Michael Jackson – yes, the King of Pop, not Michael Jordan – was one of his mentors when it came to being great:
“He was the best player by far. It’s not even close because it’s his mentality, his skill level, his work ethic, the fearlessness of him, right? He was fearless. (…) He was just unbelievable, had no weakness, and was always trying to get better. Like he would tell me about the conversations he would have with Michael Jackson. Just picking his brain about being great and being the greatest. And how meticulous he was with different things like. (…) He was a special, special, special person,” Crawford said on the Legends of Sports Podcast.
Jamal went on to discuss how similar Kobe was to Michael Jordan. He would know, as he had the honor to play against both of them throughout his career:
“It was eerie, how similar they were. From their size to the way they approached things, their mentality, skill level, work ethic to their not always wanting to beat you but demoralize you (…) “People who didn’t get to play against Michael, they played against Michael through Kobe,” he concluded.
I think I speak for many fans when I say that Kobe was, indeed, the closest thing we ever got to Michael Jordan. It wasn’t just the moves, the position, and the skills. It was their killer instinct and how they wanted to prove that they were better than everybody else in the world.