Kobe Bryant is probably the closest player to Michael Jordan the world has ever seen. With a similar grit, body, and playstyle, Bryant even copied some of Jordan's moves and patented them as his own.
And while it's easy to take for granted the impact Jordan had on Kobe's early career, Warriors coach Steve Kerr reminded everyone on Sunday just how eager Bryant was to learn from "his Airness."
“I just remember him asking Michael Jordan all these questions on the court the whole time. They were guarding each other. I could see that he was trying to get pointers. It was pretty interesting.”
“He was obviously nowhere close to the player he became. But clearly, had the audacity to think that he was going to beat Michael Jordan because he was asking him for pointers. And Michael was giving it to him, he knew something himself.”
Kobe never did end up surpassing Jordan's legacy, but he is -- undoubtedly -- one of the NBA's All-Time greats, thanks to his audacious curiosity as a youngin'.
“He had the confidence you need to succeed. He had a ton of athleticism and skill. But I think ultimately what made him who he was: that audacity to ask Michael Jordan for pointers in his very first game against him. Think about most 18-year-olds, they would be scared to death to go against Michael. And he was just inquisitive. It was remarkable."
More than anything, Kobe was a student of the game and a guy who dedicated himself to his craft. By studying and learning from those that came before him (especially Jordan), Bryant was able to open up many doors for himself as a ballplayer.
He didn't back down from a challenge, just like he never missed an opportunity to learn from the best...