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John Starks recalls facing a young Kobe Bryant and what made him the closest thing to Michael Jordan -"You could tell he was a student of the game"

When  hit his stride,  was already approaching the twilight years of his NBA career. Having rivaled the greatest shooting guards of his generation, Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan, Starks could outright tell that the young Kobe belonged in the same category.

"" Starks told in 2021.

Kobe chose to mimic the best

Every NBA fan doesn't have to dig deep into why Bryant chose to emulate . Of course, everybody wanted to be like Mike. But based on what Starks saw in Kobe, the youngster didn't copy Jordan because he fancied being his successor. Instead, Starks was confident Bryant always yearned to be the best, and it just happened that Jordan was, without a doubt, the greatest player on the face of the planet.

"," Starks assessed.

MJ was just different

We can all agree that with the turnaround jump shots, the pump fakes, the acrobatic layups, and that distinct on-court swag, Bryant was indeed the closest thing to Jordan. Starks gives Kobe props for it. But as much as he admires how "Black Mamba" unbelievably found success in channeling Jordan's game, Starks reckoned that at the end of the day, nobody could ever replace Jordan.

"," Starks concluded.

Truth be told, Starks was right when he said there will always be only one Jordan. And as it turned out, he was also right about his perception of Kobe's urge to be the best since Day 1, a mindset that would later be known as "Mamba Mentality."

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