Michael Jordan was everything to the game of basketball and the NBA when he was in his prime during the 90s. Even before he started winning championships, Jordan was an elite scorer and defender who dominated his opponents on the court. It's no surprise that every kid wanted to be like Mike and he inspired an entire generation to pick up a basketball.
However, no one emulated Jordan as much as a player that would come the closest to replicating his legacy. The late Kobe Bryant was a giant fan of MJ, and the Mamba wanted to surpass his idol. Dennis Rodman, who played with Jordan during the second three-peat for the Chicago Bulls and later with Kobe for a year in 1999, has since revealed how similar Kobe was to Mike (via EssentiallySports).
“Well, of course, when you heard Michael Jordan give that ceremony when Kobe died, what did he call him? His little brother, everyone knew Kobe emulated Michael, everyone in the world knew that he act like Michael, he talked like Michael; He spoke like Michael, but, uh, Kobe was, he was close to Michael as far as the basketball skill.
“Kobe was you know, He was the shit, man. I mean, you know, he just like Michael. He want that ball and he was 18 years old and he got that ball and that, and the final shot ever since then he became the Kobe that people love, man. That’s very famous man… He probably closer to Mike than anybody."
Rodman and Bryant famously didn't get along, with The Worm claiming that Kobe and Shaq were envious of the attention he received when he joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999. His take on Kobe being like Mike is more concrete, although it is safe to say that the Mamba created his legacy for himself in the NBA. While Michael Jordan is still widely considered the GOAT, no conversation ends without a mention of Kobe Bryant either.