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How a 19-year-old Kobe Bryant worshipped Michael Jordan, per former teammate

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan

It’s no secret that Kobe Bryant considered Michael Jordan to be one of his biggest idols. The Los Angeles Lakers legend followed in MJ’s footsteps throughout his career, and no matter how much he tried to hide it, it was clear that Kobe wanted to emulate the great Michael Jordan.

Jon Barry, one of Kobe’s teammates during his younger years with the Lakers, recently shared an endearing narrative of how a 19-year-old Kobe Bryant pretty much worshipped MJ. Bryant was just on his second year in the league at that time whereas Jordan was in his prime with the Chicago Bulls.

“He wanted to be him more than anything in the world,” Barry said in a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. “And be better. He got close. But that’s all he wanted.”

Barry then shared how Kobe just kept to himself outside practice and how he’d spend his time watching interviews of Michael Jordan. Bryant was still a raw talent at that time and he hadn’t established himself as a key player of the Lakers just yet. Nevertheless, a lot of people knew that he was bound for greatness. Naturally, the media began comparing Kobe to MJ — something that a young Bryant absolutely relished:

“He wasn’t afraid of that. He loved the comparison,” Barry added. “That’s all he wanted.”

While others may have shied away from being dubbed as the next Michael Jordan, it was quite the opposite for Kobe. He knew he had what it took to be the very best and Kobe put in the work to achieve his dream.