When it comes to NBA basketball, Michael Jordan is king. His reign in the 90s cemented him as the greatest player ever, and even decades later people talk about his skill, talent, and dominance.
But according to basketball legend Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant is better in a lot of ways. In fact, in an appearance on First Take, McGrady admitted that Bryant is the most skilled basketball player he's ever seen:
“Kobe Bean Bryant. He’s the greatest one-on-one player I’ve ever competed against, and not just because of his skillset. It’s because of his mentality. He was just a certified killer,” McGrady said. “I see MJ & Kobe, but Kobe enhanced those skillsets that he took from Michael Jordan. The ball-handling skills. The fadeaways. I think Kobe is the most skilled basketball player that I’ve ever seen over Michael Jordan.”
Kobe was the face of the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years and retired as one of the best to ever do it. Besides his tenacious and highly competitive mentality, he was almost impossible to guard and somehow also held his own on the defensive end.
Back in January, McGrady explained how Kobe gave him the confidence to succeed at the highest level:
"I think competing against Kobe around that time and holding my own because Kobe was in his 5th year, and he was that dude. That is that number 8 with the fro. He is the bar, and if I am competing against him every night I belong there, this is what it is. It’s just staying focused, sacrificing, and understanding these folks really counted on me."
Kobe was a 18x All-Star, 2x scoring champ, 15x All-NBA player, and 5x champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021.
While his place in the history books is still widely debated, nobody can call Bryant's career a failure. Besides his talent and natural skills, it was his mentality and approach to the game itself that really made him s special.
He outworked everyone on the court, and it showed every time he went toe-to-toe with the greats.