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Ball Don't Lie

Once again, Kobe Bryant plays a lot like Michael Jordan. We have video proof.

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Michael Jordan (left) and Kobe Bryant (right) (Getty Images)

Last summer we gave a long explanation as to why there is significant video evidence that would serve as suitable fodder for a highlight package pointing out the similarities between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s game. Not just their game, really, but their facial expressions, between-play maneuvering, and overall oeuvre.

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A year later, a second clip has surfaced. Take a look:

Last year’s comments list was not kind to Kobe, which is frustrating. Because Kobe Bryant is supposed to be patterning his game after Michael Jordan. That’s sort of what you should be doing, as a 6-6 shooting guard. People of a certain age tend to emulate Michael Jordan. The difference between Kobe Bryant and the rest of us, though, is that he’s nearly as good as Michael Jordan, so he got to do it on basketball’s biggest stage.

From the gum chomping to the arched eyebrows to the actual inflection of his voice, you can tell that Bryant clearly watched tape after tape of Jordan while growing up in Italy. That aspect is legitimate, and just fine. It’s a habit that’s hard to break. I still inadvertently give off the MJ-styled inner-cheek chew and squinted-eye look while attempting to concentrate on what someone is saying. I’m not trying to be Michael Jordan, it’s just something I picked up after watching hours and hours of SportsChannel as a kid.

The on court aspects, though, don’t have to be just because Kobe Bryant watched a ton of Michael Jordan while growing up. Again, Kobe is supposed to be doing this.

Both players are around the NBA’s average height and weight – 6-6 and 220 pounds – and both have similar skill sets. And when you pair those two factors with the athleticism and smarts that both boast, you get a similar game. And for that size, with those skills, jab-step jumpers and turnaround daggers off of a post-up are the most efficient way to go. For Bryant, our only longtime complaint is that he relies too heavily on that jab-step from 19 or 20 feet out, when Jordan would usually attempt to get to 15 feet.

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The shooting guard position is the NBA’s least influential, and it speaks to Jordan and Bryant’s smarts and competitiveness that they’ve managed to dominate eras while playing a position that really doesn’t matter all that much in comparison to the other four spots. And this sort of play – again, those jab-steps, and those turnarounds and fadeaways – is how you get things down at the shooting guard position. Provided you have the skill, because we’d rather you focus on your other strengths, Tony Allen, instead of trying to cop Kobe.

In case you missed it last August, here is the first video in the series:

(Video via The Basketball Jones and Reddit.)

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