Andrew Wiggins Calls Kobe Bryant the 'Closest Thing' to Michael Jordan

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2013

Andrew Wiggins, widely heralded as the next franchise-changing talent, is set to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Despite not having played a single game for the Kansas Jayhawks, he already wants to compete against the best the NBA has to offer. 

At least in his mind. 

When asked which player he'd like to face in a one-on-one clash, Wiggins went with Kobe Bryant over LeBron James and Kevin Durant, citing a historical comparison as his rationale:

The Canadian small forward is only 18 years old, so he's grown up watching Kobe torture defender after defender. In fact, he was born just a year before the Mamba was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets and immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. 

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Wiggins would want to take on Bryant, the best non-big man of the generation he grew up watching. 

As for the comparison, the young man who is already inspiring tanking discussions is completely correct. Kobe, a shooting guard who has spent his entire career trying to emulate Michael Jordan's moves and match his number of championships, is the closest thing we've seen to the greatest player of all time. 

That doesn't mean that he's No. 2 in the history of the sport, but rather another top-10 player who has that same competitive fire and never-say-die attitude Jordan possessed during his 15-year career. They play similar styles of basketball as well, so for Wiggins, playing Kobe would be the closest he could get to a head-to-head matchup with Jordan.

Kudos to Wiggins for already wanting to play against the best. You have to feel sorry for the rest of college basketball if this 18-year-old is already prepared to go toe-to-toe with the Lakers superstar. 

I just hope he knows that these early compliments aren't going to make Kobe go easy on him the first time they match up against each other in the Association.