With live sports currently on hold, the Michael Jordan documentary — ‘The Last Dance’ — is currently the hottest topic in the basketball world.
For former Los Angeles Lakers player and head coach Luke Walton, watching the documentary brings back memories of his former teammate, Kobe Bryant.
For Bryant’s entire career, he was compared to Jordan due to their eerily similar jump shot, play style, and off-the-court competitive mentality. This documentary has only exaggerated those similarities as even today people talk about the killer instinct that Jordan had. That sounds exactly like Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality,’ which defined the latter parts of his career.
Walton discussed his experience watching ‘The Last Dance’ and the similarities between the two basketball legends, according to Sam Amick and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
“It was wild, sitting there watching these episodes so far, because I feel like I am watching Kobe Bryant play in the ’80s and early ’90s with a different team,” Walton said. “(Sunday) night, you see that look in (Jordan’s) face and you hear him tell Horace Grant: ‘Don’t let them see you, don’t let them see you whine, don’t let them see that you’re in pain.’ I mean, playing with Kobe Bryant, those were (his) words.”
Bryant and Jordan were about as similar as two players can be and it’s that similarity that connected the two players historically. When discussing the greatest players of all time, Bryant usually gets a nod in the conversation due to how close he got to Jordan.
What Walton feels is likely what many Lakers fans feel while watching this documentary as watching Jordan be treated as a larger than life figure while pushing his teammates to the absolute limit is very reminiscent of Bryant and his 20 seasons with the Lakers.
This will be even further explored when Bryant eventually makes an appearance in the documentary, which ESPN has teased will happen on May 3.