Ten years ago we were all wondering who the next Michael Jordan would be. The sports world was drunk on their love and astonishment of the G.O.A.T after he’d taken the league by storm in the late 80′s and throughout most of the 90′s. He was so amazing, we could hardly wait for the next player to come along and establish dominance in the NBA like Mike was able to do.
The only problem with waiting for next Jordan is that there will never be another. There can only be one, but that’s not a bad thing. Jordan raised the bar so high that expectations for ‘the next Jordan’ could never be met, but the question persists today. That being said, there is one player who is on Jordan’s level.
It’s Kobe Bryant of course, but he’s not the next Jordan. What he is is the next best thing. He’s the first Kobe Bryant. He’s the motivational speaker for the successful for crying out loud.
Without a doubt, Kobe’s game was influenced by Jordan and he even got a few pointers, naturally, from the player who played the same position with the same body type and athleticism and the same mentality. Some people, like Scottie Pippen, go as far as to say that Kobe walks, talks, and plays like his former teammate. True as that may or may not be, it doesn’t hold the weight of MJ’s thoughts about Kobe.
Apparently, MJ’s seen enough from Kobe to acknowledge that he’s the only player who even deserves to be compared to the great one and it has everything to do with the championships, the will to win, the clutch factor, and most importantly the never-ending hard work that goes into being the best.
All those things contributed to their success and all those things are what it takes to be viewed as the next best thing, or the next Kobe Bryant. It’s only a matter of time before Kobe hangs up his Nike’s and the NBA is left with a void that he’s filled for so long.
So who’s going to carry the torch passed from Jordan to Bryant? Who’s going to fill that role.
Maybe it’s Dwyane Wade who already has some championship hardware on his resume and possibly a few more to come but then again, he just turned 30 so he won’t be around for too much longer.
Maybe it’s Wade’s Heat teammate LeBron James, but then again he’s known more for coming up short when things get tough.
It could be Kevin Durant because it seems like the league would embrace him as the new face of the NBA and this past summer showed us all how much he loves playing ball or it could be this guy…
Derrick Rose looks like the next best thing out right now. That’s the baller whose game Kobe admires and Rose’s MVP season last year is a sign of bigger and better things to come for the young Bulls guard. And he’s a confident closer at the young age of 22, just like Kobe was.
One thing for sure is the next Kobe needs to have that clutch ability, he needs to want to win at all costs, and he’s got to lead his team to the promised land a few times. Is there anyone out there who fits that description or better yet, is there anyone who fits it better than D.Rose? Let me know because no one else comes to mind.
But to answer the question, we can start to figure out who that next baller is just as soon as Kobe’s arm falls off because Kobe’s not ‘passing the torch’ to anyone. They’ve got to take it from him if they want it sooner than later.