"The comparisons didn’t work" - Kobe Bryant explains why he knew he'd never be like Michael Jordan

In an interview with ESPN in 2013, Kobe Bryant addressed the constant comparisons between himself and Michael Jordan throughout his career. He acknowledged that he had emulated Jordan's game and learned a lot from him but emphasized that their situations and careers were different. Coming straight out of high school and playing alongside dominant big man Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant believed that his circumstances were distinct from Jordan's time with the Chicago Bulls.

Although there were undeniable similarities in their competitiveness and overall skill sets, Bryant felt that he had established his own identity over time. He became focused on winning rather than trying to be the next MJ. Bryant's competitiveness grew as he matured, but he dismissed the comparisons with Jordan, recognizing that their competitive drives stemmed from different motivations. While Jordan would compete in anything and everything, Bryant stated that he would only compete in things he was good at.

People who worked closely with both Bryant and Jordan also noticed differences between them. Former head coach Phil Jackson remarked that Jordan was more coachable than Bryant, although he acknowledged Bryant's strong drive and ability to reflect on his mistakes. Jordan's former personal trainer, Tim Grover, highlighted that both players were highly dedicated, but the biggest difference was that Jordan knew when to stop working, while Bryant always wanted more. Grover had to teach Bryant how to stop and find balance to ensure the longevity of his career.

Despite their differences, both Bryant and Jordan shared an unwavering desire to be the best and achieved greatness in their respective careers. The constant comparisons between them may have persisted among fans, but Bryant understood that he could never truly be like Jordan and chose to focus on building his own legacy.