It is no secret that Kobe Bryant, who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, molded his own game around Michael Jordan, perfecting his moves, taking on the same persona, studying every single aspect of his game, mirroring his killer mentality – Bryant obviously was more than just a copy of Jordan, but watching him on the court was truly reminiscent of the Bulls legend.
Among the many things the two had in common was trainer Tim Grover. Grover had the pleasure of coaching both legends, and help them become the dominant force both would end up becoming. Grover now revealed in an interview on The Jim Rome Show why the two became so close. One of the reasons is the fact that Bryant saw Jordan differently than most people.
“The reason Kobe was different in MJ’s eyes is because Kobe looked at Michael as a reference book, encyclopedia, whatever you want to call it. He didn’t look at him as a fan. He wasn’t interested in, ‘Mike can I have your shoes after the game? Can I get the signed jersey? Can you do this?’ He wanted to absorb the knowledge that MJ had, and MJ would test individuals. He would give them a little, and then he would see if they actually applied it, and if they actually learned it, and if they actually learned to use it.
Then if he did that, and you came back and asked for more, he would give you more, but most people never got past that first stage because they were more enamored by the MJ aura than about the actual learning process of becoming the best basketball player. This was his test to see how dedicated these individuals were for the game. You know Michael, the one big thing he’s always big about, ‘I don’t like individuals, I don’t like players, I don’t like players, I don’t like anybody that disrespects the game.’”