Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are two of the most intense competitors in NBA history. Between the two players, they share an incredible resume, with 11 NBA championships, 8 Finals MVPs, and 6 regular-season MVPs.
Jordan and Kobe's game were mirror images of each other. Both players occupied the same position on the court and approached the game in the exact same way.
While both Jordan and Kobe were incredible talents, it was their mentality that set them apart from any other player in the league.
Former NBA player Mark Jackson spoke recently with Shannon Sharpe about Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. He noted that they are the only two players who were willing to do anything it took to win.
While Jackson acknowledged his own competitive spirit, even he couldn't hold a candle to how competitive Kobe and Jordan were about the game of basketball.
"The only guy that I would put in the discussion because both of these guys unfortunately late great Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. In my opinion, the two guys I ever played against that was willing to leave it all on the court and I mean it all. They were willing to if it meant drop dead on the floor those two guys I’m convinced would be willing to do that for the victory. Now I would say this, as great as a competitor I am, that ain’t my testimony. I want to win but not at… not at that expense I’m not willing to take my last breath and win.”
Jackson learned about Michael Jordan's competitive nature the hard way when he stuck his tongue out on his way to the hoop for a dunk, which was Jordan's signature move.
Regardless of the occasion, Jordan and Kobe wanted to win. And they would do anything and everything in their power to make sure that they would win the game for their team. Even if it meant going up against the entire opposition by themselves.
Even though their time together in the league was short, they did face each other on quite a few occasions. In fact, Kobe actually holds the head-to-head advantage over Jordan, but 3 of his 5 wins came against an older Jordan when he played for the Washington Wizards.
It was this mentality that allowed both Jordan and Kobe to be successful in the league. Second-best was never good enough for them, and they would work harder than every other player on the court to ensure that victory would be theirs. And in the end, no one can argue against the results their mentality yielded.