Recently guest on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All the Smoke podcast, Tracy McGrady talks about Kobe Bryant and his mentality when he arrived in the big league, without even going through college.
We all know that Kobe Bryant is the player who came closest to Michael Jordan. Same moves, same mentality. But for him, when he arrived in the NBA, he was already better than His Airness. T-Mac tells.
« Being around Kobe at 19, man, you could think he was already there and next to the best because his mentality was so different than I what I experienced, and I never saw in a 19-year-old guy. This guy really, truly thought he was better than Michael Jordan. »
Kobe dreamed of one day reaching the heights set by Jordan. He became a copy of him, almost identical, as if someone had put a layer on Jordan to create Kobe. The same moves, the same grace, the same champion mentality. The Mamba finally won 5 titles, one less than Jordan, but enough to be part of the very closed club of 26 players with 5 or more championship rings.
In the early 2000s, Tracy McGrady was one of the only backs who could compete with Kobe on the court, and the two could have quite a duel, like on November 27, 2002. In a matchup between the Magic and the Lakers, the two superstars both scored 38 points in an epic duel, won by T-Mac. We will never see a Finals showdown between the two, McGrady being too much of a lonely choke for the Magic.