The moment Kobe Bryant entered the NBA at 18, the Michael Jordan comparisons were there. From the look-alike dunks to the sound-alike interviews, Kobe couldn’t escape the copycat tag.
So, as the Lakers superstar prepares for his exit, why not imitate one more part of MJ’s legacy—the retirement announcement.
After announcing this would be his last season, Bryant wrote a poem for The Players’ Tribune that began, “Dear Basketball.”
From the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube socks And shooting imaginary Game-winning shots In the Great Western Forum I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you.
When he retired from the Wizards in 2003, Jordan penned a love letter that started, “Dear Basketball.”
From Jordan’s letter:
It’s been 28 years since I saw you in the back of our garage. 28 years since our parents introduced us. … I love you, Basketball. I love everything about you and I always will. My playing days in the NBA are definitely over, but our relationship will never end.
Bryant, in his 20 seasons, will retire with more points (currently 32,683) than Jordan, who finished with 32,292 in 15 seasons. Jordan won six NBA titles to Bryant’s five. Jordan had better per-game averages than Bryant in points (30.1 to 25.3), rebounds (6.2 to 5.3), assists (5.3 to 4.8) and steals (2.3 to 1.5).