Kobe Bryant’s legacy lives on through current NBA stars
By Shaquille Morgan
Kobe Bryant’s desire, thirst for knowledge and drive for greatness forms a huge part of his legacy. However, it was his willingness to share his wisdom of the game that allows him to live on forever. Bryant famously sought out top players for advice, such as Michael Jordan, where there are striking similarities between the two. Former NBA Champion and defensive player of the year, Gary Payton, has told a story about a young Kobe seeking tips to become an elite defender during an All-Star game. Kobe also sought out advice from Hakeem Olajuwon where they studied the post-game for hours during the off-season. While there is no one in the league who is an exact replica of Kobe, there are some stars who have pieces of Kobe’s game in theirs. They are the ones who carry on the legacy of Kobe, who retired in 2016 and tragically died in 2020.
"Kobe Bryant Greeting the Runners" by Neon Tommy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
So, here is a look at some NBA stars today whose game is most reminiscent to the legendary Kobe Bryant:
One of the biggest emerging talents in the NBA today, Jayson Tatum has been a revelation for the Boston Celtics since he was drafted in the 2017-2018 season. His scoring average and shooting percentages continue to get better each season. This steady progress highlights Tatum’s willingness to improve every facet of his game which was a key part of Kobe’s path to greatness. Tatum’s footwork and fadeaways are eerily reminiscent to Kobe Bryant. It has been revealed that Tatum worked out with Kobe Bryant in the summer of 2018, he received some really valuable tips that have clearly improved his mid-range shooting and footwork when in the post.
The Brooklyn Nets point guard has not just embraced the mamba mentality; he has been a proponent of some of Kobe Bryant's best moves ever since he first came into the league in the 2011-12 season. Irving arguably has got the greatest handles in NBA history according to the great Allen Iverson himself, and he's been a 3-level scorer since his rookie year.
Irving's major resemblances to Kobe Bryant lie, like the other players on the list, in his able to make fadeaway jumpers in the same manner. Irving is also a capable post player, although as a point guard he gets few post-ups these days.