Growing up, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant idolized Michael Jordan. Idolized may be too simple of a word to describe it because Bryant was absolutely infatuated with Jordan.
From his mannerisms to his fadeaway shot, Bryant studied Jordan's on-court moves and throughout his own career, and the Lakers star has been able to replicate them almost identically. Of course, Bryant adds his own Kobe-esque flair to his moves but they are quite similar to Jordan's.
Bryant acknowledged this similarity before his final game in Chicago against the Bulls on Sunday. From ESPN's Baxter Holmes:
Bryant said words couldn't do justice to the influence Jordan had on him.
"Because as a kid growing up in Italy, all I had was video, so I studied everything," Bryant said. "I studied every player. Then once I came back to the States, [and] I realized I wasn't going to be 6-9, I started studying Michael exclusively.
"And then when I came to the league and [was] matching up against him, what I found is that he was extremely open to having a mentor relationship and giving me a great amount of advice and an amazing amount of detail, strategies, workout regimen and things like that.
"Seriously, I don't think people really understand the amount of impact that he's had on me as a player and as a leader."
It is pretty cool to hear that Jordan mentored Bryant because that is exactly what Kobe is doing these days. He has been a teacher for the younger players on the Lakers like Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell, and Bryant is even planning on helping opponents like San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard develop.
And while Bryant is probably right, we won't know how deep of an impact Jordan had on him, on a surface level, it is quite clear to see how he was influenced by the former Bulls star.