Steve Kerr: Kobe, not LeBron, is the closest thing to MJ

All of the NBA’s greatest players from here on out will inevitably be compared to the man who’s widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time — Michael Jordan.

Any time Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James crosses another career accomplishment off the list, people debate whether it brings him closer to one day surpassing Jordan in the annals of basketball history. Despite the constant comparisons, Warriors coach Steve Kerr says that LeBron and Jordan are totally different players and that Kobe Bryant is actually the player who came closest to MJ on the court.

Kerr, who played with Jordan and against Bryant, offered his thoughts before the Warriors’ game against the Lakers on Monday, during which Kobe will have his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys retired.

“Kobe is the closest thing to Michael (Jordan),” Kerr said. “Everybody’s been compared to Michael. LeBron’s been compared to Michael — I don’t think LeBron is Michael at all. I think he’s a very different player, a very different mentality, and mindset. Kobe has the same mentality and mindset that MJ had. The assassin, the ‘I’m gonna rip your throat out with my scoring,’ low-post dominant fadeaway jumper, footwork.
“I thought Kobe’s footwork was one of the best parts of his game — probably the most underrated because everybody focused on his shooting and his athleticism, but his footwork got him open. That’s where he was so similar to Michael. He could just get any shot he wanted.”

When asked about a one-on-one game between Jordan and Kobe, Steve Kerr responds:

“It’d be fun to watch,” Kerr said. “Like I said, very similar games, right? Kobe shot a lot more 3s, but in Michael’s era 3s weren’t as big a part of things. I’m sure he would have worked a lot harder on his 3s if he played in the modern era. But so similar in terms of the footwork, the reverse pivot, the fadeaways. And I’m sure Kobe got a lot of that by watching Michael. Yeah, that would have been fun to watch.”

Wouldn’t this be a dream one-on-one?

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