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More video proof Kobe, Jordan had similar games

Aug 8, 2013, 2:53 PM EDT

We’ve shown you something similar before, but here is Part Deux of the Kobe Bryant/Michael Jordan game comparison videos.

What Jordan and Kobe do that is similar — especially in the second half of their careers — is use great footwork to get to their spots on the floor. And for both of them that is the elbow area, as you can see from the video (the both also have strong post games). When they get to their spots they can hit just about any kind of shot, even contested fadeaways. The best way to stop them is to not let them get there, but they are both so good on and off the ball that’s easier said than done.

This post will inevitably turn the comments into a ridiculous MJ vs. Kobe debate, even though the point is the similarity of style. It’s a ridiculous debate not because MJ is clearly better (he is, his highs were higher) but mainly because it demeans Kobe’s career. When he does decide to walk away Kobe will go down deservedly as one of the all-time greats. Kobe’s myriad of accomplishments (five rings, two gold medals, league MVP, two-time finals MVP, 15 All-Star Games) can stand on their own next to anyone. He is a legend, one similar in style to Jordan. We’ve been fortunate to get to watch him play over the years. Savor that, don’t get caught up in a moot debate about status.

By the way, here is part one of the series.

Hat tip to The Basketball Jones.

  1. GT - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Similar but not congruent.

  2. adamsjohn714 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    If, as a defender, the possession ends with Jordan or Kobe taking a fadeaway jumper, I’ve done my job. They were, and are, really good players despite their midrange jumpers. Thats not to say they aren’t good midrange players. It’s just because midrange shots are so inefficient in the first place. You’re a long way from the hoop and it still only counts as 2 points.

  3. asimonetti88 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    They both have such amazing midrange shots. One of the toughest shots in basketball if not the toughest. One of the reasons these guys were/are so great is their ability to master that shot.

  4. dezglobal - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Everyone grows up wanting to be like Mike… Kobe took it to heart.. Great video

    • spursareold - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      EXACTLY. Kobe damn near copied every move he has from MJ.

      • money2long - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        yes. but keep in mind kobe has been on record saying he took bits and pieces from A LOT of the game’s great players. it wasn’t exclusively to jordan. kobe is a sponge, with talent. he probably never loses in horse.

      • spthegr8 - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:02 PM

        If your gonna pattern your game after somebody. Who better than the best ever??

      • rtwoj - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        You make that sound like its a bad thing… Sure there can only be 1 Michael Jordan… but if there was anyone to come close… Kobe.

    • birdsofprey305 - Aug 9, 2013 at 5:54 AM

      @spthegr8 the problem is Kobe refuses to admit MJ was his favorite player…. last time I checked his game looks nothing like Magic’s.

  5. antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Kobe and Jordan had moves that looked similar in certain ways, and they approached the game in a similar manner, but they didn’t produce the same results. Kobe was never able to become as productive or as efficient as Michael Jordan.

    LeBron, on the other hand, doesn’t look anything like Mike, yet their net production and efficiency is nearly identical.

  6. hannsta - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    “The way they walk onto the court, its really scary”, camera zooms in on their shins….These kind of videos are reaching a bit. Yes they are similar players but you could clip together 5 shots over 7 years from Monta Ellis that makes him look exactly like MJ too.

    • dirtydavis - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      I highly doubt that…

      • hannsta - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        Breakaway 2 handed dunk, top of the key pull up jumper? Your right no one but MJ and Kobe could do that. The post moves might be a little harder to find but MJ made about 12K shots in his whole career. Show me any guard, or player for that matter, who has made more than 5K and I garuntee there will be a 2 min video worth of identical looking shots.

      • dirtydavis - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:36 PM


        “clip together 5 shots over 7 years from Monta Ellis that makes him look exactly like MJ too”

        Dude, I think you your dumb and a lil mija. I am not going to show you squat because your opinion means crap

    • rtwoj - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      Are you an idiot?

      It’s called a build up… I mean… did you NOT watch the entire video?

  7. 12444uggg - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    That opera music was a bit much.

  8. decimusprime - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    While Mike is the GOAT, Kobe is the closest thing to a MJ clone. That means his Will to Win, work ethic, killer instinct, play style, shot style, and just about any basketball related thing you could think of, Kobe is MJ. No one else has even come close and I doubt anyone will because he is already a generation removed. Kobe took his world-class talent, mirrored his game after the greatest and became one of the greatest in doing so. Just as there will never be another #23, there will never be another #24/#8 either.

  9. mckaymatt - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Yeah they do play similar. It’s pretty obvious Kobe grew up watching MJ play and modelled his game after him. Kobe picked up a lot of the things MJ did. Considering they play the same position and have similar builds adds to it.

  10. aboogy123456 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    What I love about Kobe is that he is a student of the game, so if you watch him you can see he not only modeled his game after Jordan, but he added bits and pieces of other all-time greats. Other examples are the dirk step back shot, duncan bank shot, kareem sky hook, oscar robertson post up game, and more. There are great players like lebron who are amazing athletes, but kobe and jordan have done a good job perfecting all the parts of their game. It was always exciting to see what kobe added to his game each summer.

  11. dirtydavis - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    This is old info. We all know Kobe mimics Jordan in every aspect. Phil even mentioned it on his book.

  12. steelers33 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    It is scary how similar they are. Both are all time greats with MJ obviously be the greatest. I would go as far to say that both are exactly equal in terms of drive, mental toughness/clutchness, and overall skill (Kobe might have a better jumper, but second there-peat MJ had a pretty lethal jumper.) The difference? Kobe simply doesn’t have the athletic ability MJ has. Don’t get my wrong, Kobe is a phenomenal athlete, yet in terms of pure athleticism there is never going to be another MJ. His leaping ability, strength, and burst are all a little bit better than Kobe’s. But what really separates him from Kobe and also Lebron is his first step quickness and lateral agility. Michael’s ability to explode in lateral directions to create space for his jumper or drive is only maybe rivaled by Allen Iverson. Go watch some highlights of MJ from 87′-88′ and you’ll see the quickest player to ever play the game of basketball. This lateral quickness/ability to change direction fluidly made him a much more efficient offensive scorer than Kobe and a more explosive scorer than Lebron. I don’t think anybody can ever match MJ”s combination of intense desire to win, technicals skills, and elite athleticism. If you are knowledgeable basketball fan you probably know this by now.

  13. rodyaugu - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    If Jordan could sue people that copy his game, kobe would be the 1st in the list. Kobe is the biggest copycat in the history of professional sports.

  14. bux1022 - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Mockery is the best form of flattery!!

    • spursareold - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      Actually, imitation is, and MJ is VERY flattered by Kobe.

  15. spursareold - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I also lol’ed at the comparisons at age 33. WTF? At 33, Kobe had played at LEAST 3 more seasons than MJ, who actually went to college.

    • aboogy123456 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      It’s not like MJ wasn’t playing basketball and improving his game when he was at college. And if you’re somehow talking about stats, then you should consider that Jordan played more minutes than Kobe has at the same age.

  16. arrondior - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    The League was positioning Kobe to be the second coming of “his Airness” but then Kobe had to get involved with that chick who accused him of rape. That absolutely destroyed the Kobe’s image. He would be 1,000x the star that he is today if he had used a bottle of lotion that night.

    As far as the comparison goes, Michael was a better shooter than Kobe is and I think Michael’s hand size allowed him to do a couple of things that Kobe can’t really do. But it’s a fair comparison. To me, Kobe is a phenomenal player, just not as exciting though to watch as a player who has his own style of play. That’s what really made MJ special. He basically took all the fundamentally great things about Magic, Dr. J, Elgin Baylor, etc and put them together to create this unstoppable, large, athletic guard, who had a fast first step, could beat you with his dribble, could shoot over you with his athleticism, fade away, post you up… etc. I still think though that Iverson is the one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen that didn’t achieve his potential (imagine if he had the work ethic of one of the greats like Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc.).

  17. bjerkrulez - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    What bothers me is that not many people actually noticed that all those plays ran from PJs offense. That’s why the placement are almost identical (Duh?!) That’s the reason why Kobe molded his game after MJ, he had to, given the offense the Zen master is running

    Noticed there were no vids of the teams that phil was not coaching?

    There is nothing wrong in imitating the best player ever, and Kobe’s accomplishments show it

    • kb2408 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      Kobe began molding his game after MJ’s way before Phil became his coach.

      • arrondior - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM


      • bjerkrulez - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        If anyone noticed..i was talking about the video post and not the timeline of kobe’s gamestyle …Kobe did not reached stardom that instant since he had to come off the bench (98-99 i think) for the early years…

      • dirtydavis - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:14 PM

        Agreed. Phil did mention that in his book

      • 6thsense79 - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:44 PM


        Bryant was an All Star in his second year ’98 even though he was coming off the bench. He was a star then.

  18. kb2408 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Awesome piece of writing, sir. I am sick of the Kobe v. MJ comparisons. Kobe’s critic say he’s not better than MJ as a way to minimize his accomplishments. As if even being mentioned in the same sentence with MJ is not already a testament to Kobe’s greatness. We never say Reggie Miller was great…but he wasn’t MJ. Or, Clyde was great…but he wasn’t MJ. The fact that Kobe patterned his game after MJ should in no way be held against him. I mean, should he have patterned his game after a lesser player? More players should take Kobe’s approach. But not only does he have the talent to pull it off, he also has the work ethic and an insane competitive drive.

    • dirtydavis - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      “More players should take Kobe’s approach”

      I don’t know about that. LBJ is doing just fine

  19. malvaren18 - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    I’m just glad Lebron is not being put at the same level as this 2 Icons.

  20. cavemanna - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    A one on one match with them both in there primes would be insane, and I think Kobe would win based on his speed. I think he’s quicker than MJ was is all

    • bjerkrulez - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      I would beg to disagree since kobe played in the era where defense is softer than what they had in the 80s and 90s. MJ is also stronger in the post and will eat kobe alive if he gets a chance (he beat a young nba rookie at age 50 for pete’s sake) and that speaks for itself on how his competitive fire is never extinguished

      I have watched MJ in his younger years as well as Kobe, and MJ is faster and quicker that Kobe
      He wouldn’t have been the bulls starting PG in 88 if he could not keep up with the elite guards in the league

      • urodaddy07 - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        Have you watched a young Kobe? People forget how athletic he was. Granted at that time he was not as complete a player as MJ was at his physical peak

      • aboogy123456 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:38 AM

        MJ is NOT Stronger in the post than Kobe. People keep referring to the 90’s as being tougher defense, but you forget that Kobe would also have been a better defender in the 90’s, it goes both ways. He’s slightly bigger than MJ and he is a very physical player. I agree that Jordan is probably faster and quicker than kobe, but I think that Kobe’s skills are better.

    • bjerkrulez - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      I would beg to disagree since kobe played in the era where defense is softer than what they had in the 80s and 90s. MJ is also stronger in the post and will eat kobe alive if he gets a chance (he beat a young nba rookie at age 50 for pete’s sake) and that speaks for itself on how his competitive fire is never extinguished

      I have watched MJ in his younger years as well as Kobe, and MJ is faster and quicker that Kobe
      He wouldn’t have been the bulls starting PG in 88 if he could not keep up with the elite guards in the league

      • aboogy123456 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:41 AM

        Kobe also played in an era where it is much easier to double and triple team players. Are you saying that a physical player like Kobe wouldn’t be a BETTER defender in the 90’s than he is now?

  21. 00maltliquor - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM


  22. camnellum12 - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    This is nonsense, Kobe isn’t an exact replica of Jordan, nor did he steal all of his moves. You no nuts are leaving out Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson etc. Just because Kobe and Jordan both had great footwork and are highly decorated 6’6 guards, doesn’t mean Kobe is the 2nd coming of Jordan. Jordan was a poor 3PT shooter who attacked the rim at will and his main swedes pots were at the elbow and baseline. Kobe is a much more erratic shooter and has recently made the elbow his sweet spot due to him slowing down. This here shows Kobe took from multiple legends, not just mightier than thou Jordan PS: if I had to pick a player that’s similar to Jordan, it’d be Dwyane Wade

  23. antistratfordian - Aug 8, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    “Kobe has patterned himself after Michael, and there are a lot of identical things there, but it’s one thing to hope to be like him, it’s another thing to be like him.”

    –Phil Jackson

    • arrondior - Aug 13, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      I think everyone is forgetting that Kobe and his 81 point performance came after hand checking became illegal. Its way easier to score in the NBA today.

  24. albie23 - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    WHO CARES!!! No matter what he’ll never be like Mike! Stop with all this non sense already!

  25. shockexchange - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Another sad comparison Horry Jr to MJ. A better comparison for Horry Jr would be Robert Horry.

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