From the time he entered the NBA as a teenager, Kobe Bryant wanted to be Michael Jordan, with every fiber of his being. He made this very clear from a young age, not so much by saying the words "I would like to be Michael Jordan" but by seemingly mimicking every single Michael Jordan bodily move.
Every basketball move, every idiosyncrasy, hell, even the way he moved his lips in interviews, Kobe channeled Michael.
At age 18, when he did it while averaging around 8 points per game as a rookie, it was kind of cute. At age 20, when he did it while averaging like 15 points per game and not winning any titles, it was creepy. By age 24, when Kobe was knee-deep in his first run of consecutive titles (the Shaq-aided ones), it was kind of annoying.
Now, through the power of YouTube and the benefit of a nearly complete career arc for thirtysomething Kobe, there can be only one adjective to describe the Kobe-MJ similarities.
If you're a basketball fan, you have to see this video, the third in a trilogy posted by some dude on YouTube named "Youssef Hannoun," in which a slew of basketball plays (admittedly, mostly contested mid-range jumpers) are edited together, alternating back and forth between Jordan and their corresponding Kobe doppelgänger...
And with the added element of Jordan morphing into Kobe mid-play multiple times in the first several seconds of that video, it's easily the best of Youssef's three (although the first and the second ones are decent, too). Not coincidentally, it's also the shortest of the three, so it's tighter and less repetitive.
A few random thoughts on this gift from the viral, streaming video gods:
1. Who sits there and finds all these clips? Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for this person, so thankful that someone has this little time on their hands. Their seeming investment of thousands of hours to find identical twin sets of Jordan and Kobe plays has paid off in a glorious six minutes for the rest of us. I can't decide if the person who vetted all of these clips would be my best friend or if I'd kick him out of the car two minutes into a three-hour road trip, I just know it'd be one or the other.
2. We all impersonated our sports heroes as kids playing pickup games. If you were a kid playing playground sports, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. My brother channeled his inner John Jefferson when we played football, and wound up setting the school record in the 50-yard dash. My buddy Pete was Roger Staubach every time we played, and wound up playing QB at Army. I pretended to be big, plodding tight end Don Hasselbeck, and I wound up being an unathletic talk-show host. I mean, life imitating art, people! But those are nothing compared to Kobe channeling MJ. It's almost like Kobe is some sort of clone or cyborg, like (Star Wars nerd alert) Boba to MJ's Jango.
3. How soon until we get a Pete Chilcutt-Brian Scalabrine mashup? Scalabrine has to do a video series like this, right? It's the only logical followup to his outstanding satire of LeBron James's "I'm Coming Home" article that he dropped earlier this week to announce he was returning to Boston as part of the Celtics' broadcast team.
4. Even better, how soon until we get a Jerry Jones-Johnny Manziel mashup on Instagram?
What you didn't know is that Johnny Manziel was taking the pictures... pic.twitter.com/pEaSBPIfxH
— Cowboy's Confidence (@CowboysEgo) August 5, 2014
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— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) July 22, 2014
— Garrett Spangler (@Spangler18) August 3, 2014
I'm actually happy to invest the thousands of hours to assemble the Jerry-Johnny montage. You're welcome, Internet.