Kobe’s birthday, August 23, was this week. We take a look at the current players in the NBA who could be his successors.
The “Black Mamba’s” legacy lives on. He has inspired countless players around the world, including several of his peers in the NBA. Photo: IG-luka7doncic
LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño
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Leer en español: ¿Quién podría ser el próximo Kobe Bryant?
Kobe Bryant was undoubtedly a once-in-a-generation basketball player. Depending on who you ask, Kobe is either the best NBA player of all time or among the top 3. This week (August 23) he would have celebrated his 43rd birthday.
However, the “Black Mamba’s” legacy lives on. He has inspired countless players around the world, including several of his peers in the NBA. Many of them have based their playstyle and mentality around him. But who can take up his mantle? Here we discuss three possible successors
Luka Doncic may not have the killer athleticism that characterized Kobe, but he is known for his competitive mentality. In life, Kobe was often criticized for being a selfish player. However, this selfishness was nothing more than a burning desire to win, backed up by the talent to do so by himself.
Luka Doncic is perhaps the current player that most exhibits this side of Kobe. His drive to win, and his ability to carry a team on his back is almost unmatched in the NBA.
But don’t trust us, trust the stats. In the most recent playoffs against the Clippers, Luka averaged 36 points per game, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. This same year, he also led Slovenia to fourth place in the Olympics, pretty much all by himself.
If anyone has the competitive drive to replace Kobe, it's the Slovenian legend Luka Doncic.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have a player that may not have Kobe’s competitiveness or star power but has an almost identical skill set to Kobe.
Khris Middleton has risen to fame these last years in the NBA, as the second-best player of the Milwaukee Bucks after Giannis Antetoukoumpo. His mid-range jump shots that he can seemingly hit from anywhere in the court make him the perfect duo for Giannis, who scores closer to the basket.
With his speed and smooth handles, as well as his ability to hit shots in the big moments, Khris Middleton is almost a mirror image of Kobe in the court. He only lacks his assertiveness, and perhaps his ability to draw media attention.
"Khris Middleton, another clutch shot in these playoffs!"— NBA (@NBA) July 21, 2021
56.9 left in Game 6 on ABC pic.twitter.com/2zlZfQgNi7
Despite his lack of tangible accomplishments, Tatum is one of the young rising stars of the NBA. His playing style is similar to Kobe, with outstanding dribbling moves and being able to score through double teams with the hands-on face. He also shoots and scores in the big moments with ease.
Tatum was coached several times by Kobe when he was alive, and it shows in his constant drive to become better. He also is a natural leader, being the most respected teammate in the Boston Celtics. With a couple of 50-point games in his career, Tatum could certainly one day become the scoring monster that Kobe was.