Kobe Bryant is definitely a shoo-in in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in four years’ time.
In a storied career that span 20 seasons, the five-time NBA champion has worked with and played against some of the biggest names in basketball.
But when it comes to the person he wants to present him come the historic day, “The Black Mamba” already has two people in mind.
“For me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson,” Bryant told Complex’s Liz Levy.
“They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help.”
Jackson, of course, steered the ship for Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship dynasty from 2000 to 2002, and again in 2009 and 2010.
Although they didn’t always see eye to eye on some matters, the duo formed one of the most celebrated player-coach relationships in all of sports.
Bryant, meanwhile, has also been referred to as the closest player to Jordan, and was considered his heir apparent during his career.
The two played the same position and displayed a seemingly frenzied drive and passion for the game.
Other big-name stars eligible for the loaded Hall of Fame Class of 2021 include Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Khristian Ibarrola /ra