5 Moves Kobe Bryant Stole from Michael Jordan

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5 Moves Kobe Bryant Stole from Michael Jordan

Jordan
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with CBS, Michael Jordan said in his prime he would’ve beaten LeBron James one-on-one but he would've lost to Kobe Bryant. Why? Because Bryant stole all his moves.

As a Los Angeles Lakers fan I’d like to thank Bryant for stealing those moves. Who better to imitate than "His Airness", probably the best basketball player in the history of the NBA.

Bryant shares the same athleticism, size and build as Jordan in his NBA career. So for Bryant to adopt Jordan’s style and techniques was not only natural but smart since this type of game complemented Bryant’s own natural talents. This is one reason why Bryant proved so effective in mimicking Jordan. After all, Bryant won five rings thanks to it.

James, on the other hand, although perhaps more impressive with respect to his versatility and his own talents, is a far different kind of player than both Jordan and Bryant. James is taller, bulkier and stronger. He can play power forward, point guard and even center. He can defend big men in the paint. He wears a headband.

In other words, stealing Jordan’s moves benefits Bryant more than James. That’s not to say that James didn't steal some of Jordan’s moves—and some of Bryant’s moves too, for that matter. But it made sense for Bryant to try and play like Jordan. For James to mimic Jordan would be for James to limit his own abilities. Sure, James can try and play like Jordan, but he can also post-up in the paint like Wilt Chamberlain and control the offense like Chris Paul (sort of).

But just because James may be a more versatile player than Bryant or Jordan doesn't mean he’s a better one. With two NBA Championships, James still has more to prove.

Bryant’s proved a lot already, and he never could've done it without Jordan.

But I wonder—what moves, exactly, did Bryant steal?

Although Bryant certainly got some defensive moves from Jordan, the similarities are most obvious on offense.

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5. 'Competitive Zeal'

Kobe
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

This “competitive zeal” that Phil Jackson talked about both Jordan and Bryant having can’t really be learned or stolen—but it can be nurtured. Like Jordan, Bryant had to be born with a certain competitiveness and will to win or have adopted such a mentality during his childhood. It was Jordan who set the standards for winning in the NBA. In his own quest for greatness, Bryant was fueled by his ambition to exceed Jordan's standards, like a baby wolf is fueled by the milk it suckles from the teet of its mother.

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4. Crossover

Kobe
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant’s and Jordan’s crossover isn't the fastest or most deceptive in the NBA, but it remains the best. That’s mostly because their opponents had no defense against what would follow—the jump shot, a drive to the basket or an assist.

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3. The Tongue

Kobe
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Only Jordan and Bryant can make a wagging tongue look both savage and radical at once.

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2. Post-Up Outside the Key

Kobe
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant and Jordan both favored a move in which they could post-up outside the key and then spin off the defender at their back.

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1. Fadeaway

Kobe
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

I first saw the fadeaway jump shot while watching Jordan play for the Chicago Bulls. Bryant clearly watched the same games.

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