Kobe Bryant has left his mark on the league, on this world. We remember Kobe as one of the most determined and talented players to ever play the game. He was the heart and soul of the league and even though he has passed away, his legacy and his memory remain in some players who are still currently playing in the league today.
There were some key aspects to Kobe that made him one of the best to ever play: His mentality, his overall game, and his clutch genes. Let’s take a look at which active players most resemble Kobe Bryant based on these 3 categories.
Clutchness: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is one of the most clutch players of this generation and thrives with the game being played through him. Kobe Bryant always showed up in the big moments and similarily played at his best when the game flowed through him. Kobe and Dame are very similar in this sense always being the go-to guy for the team in the dying moments of a game.
The Portland Trailblazers superstar has knocked out two teams with buzzer-beater shots in the playoffs, finishing the round and allowing his team to advance. Kobe, in his long and illustrious career, has had many memorable moments where he had made the biggest shots in the most clutch scenarios of a game. Dame has the clutch gene ingrained in him and carries on Kobe’s memory as one of the most reliable and accomplished closers in the history of the game.
Overall Game: DeMar DeRozan
Kobe was his idol. DeMar, of the San Antonio Spurs who previously played for the Toronto Raptors, grew up in Compton, rooting for the Lakers and idolizing Kobe Bryant as he grew up. Every movement, from his footwork to his signature moves, DeRozan has nearly replicated Kobe’s overall game and is the closest to Kobe someone will see in the NBA. DeMar’s footwork, midrange, athletic ability and a plethora of unique offensive moves have him hold on to Kobe’s memory and not let his legacy die.
“Everything I learned came from Kobe, everything,” he said, per Sportsnet’s Tim & Sid. “Take Kobe away, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have the love, the passion, the drive.”
A near replicate of Kobe Bryant’s unique game, the Spurs guard, relishes every moment he had spent with Kobe and did his best when he was trying to emulate and improve his game to reach the Lakers legend’s level.
Mentality: Russell Westbrook
Nobody in the league right now has more drive and competitiveness than Russell Westbrook. He practices what many call the “Mamba Mentality” and lives his life through that thought process. Kobe Bryant never took a day off and used every day to improve his game so he could take it to the next level. Russell Westbrook shows a near-identical mentality, bringing his competitiveness and fiery attitude to the court and off it as well. Both are humorous in their own ways and always bring that dog mentality on the court. Both have the mindset of a winner and always treat each game like its the NBA Finals.
Everyone knows the fire and drive that Russell Westbrook brings to the table every night he plays a game. It goes unmatched. Kobe Bryant and the thing he preached most, the hardworking, always working mentality, lives inside Russ. Westbrook thrives off it and it is one of the reasons why he is one of the most feared and effective players in the game.
Kobe lives among many, in the memories of the fans and in the games of the players. His legacy will continue to live on forever as one of the best to ever play. No matter how long it will be since the tragic accident, he will be remembered.