NBA Players and Fans React to Kobe Bryant’s Appearance on ‘The Last Dance’

Robert Marvi
2 Min Read

On Sunday night, ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance” continued with episodes five and six, and episode five included footage from the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.

It was, of course, a midseason classic when Michael Jordan faced off against a brash, ascendant young star named Kobe Bryant.

Throughout Twitter, members of the NBA community reacted to seeing a 19-year-old Bryant go up against a fully formed and mature Jordan.

Just about everyone agrees than Bryant was the closest thing the game has seen to Jordan.

Most feel that although the Los Angeles Lakers legend and Philadelphia native didn’t quite match Jordan’s legacy, he came very close.

In doing so, he became a cultural icon in his own right, especially for millennials who either didn’t see Jordan or only caught the tail end of his time with the Chicago Bulls.

It also illustrates the beautiful process of evolution that has always been a constant in basketball.

In the 1960s, Elgin Baylor was the prototypical wing player who had creativity and “hang time.” He was succeeded by Julius Erving in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, who then was succeeded by Jordan in the late ’80s. Each built on what his predecessor had brought to the game.

Shortly after Jordan retired from the Bulls in 1999, Bryant took the torch from him, and he left the Lakers and their fans richer in many ways during his career.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s and fell in love with the Nick Van Exel-led Lakers teams. He truly cherishes the Kobe Bryant-era of Lakers basketball and the five world championships that came with it, and is looking forward to the team's next NBA title.