Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose praised Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant on Thursday prior to his final matchup with the legend at the Staples Center. Rose compared Bryant, who is in his 20th and final year in the NBA, to a Chicago legend, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com:
Kobe, he's someone that I've looked up to ever since I came into the league. Someone that I did commercials with. Someone that always gave me advice about my game, just coming into the league. He's seen how hard I worked and for him and all his accolades and his résumé ... I think that he's leaving the game in some good hands.
You've got [Stephen Curry] playing well, you've got a whole bunch of guys that's right behind him giving their all to the game. And just for Kobe himself, he's going to be a legend no matter what. He's our [generation's] Michael Jordan.
Anytime someone is compared to Jordan it's an obvious compliment, but especially when it comes from someone who plays in Chicago and even won a regular-season MVP award while with the Bulls.
However, the Jordan-Bryant comparison is nothing new. Bryant has heard it since his early years in the league, and it only grew once he began winning championships in Los Angeles. He even admitted to stealing moves from Jordan.
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Of course Rose isn't saying he's better than Jordan, but that the current Bulls guard and others in the NBA consider Bryant the best player of their generation. But the older generation can appreciate what Bryant, who has averaged 25.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game in his career, brings to the court night in and night out.
Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle didn't compare Bryant to Jordan but still threw some high praise his way, per SportsCenter:
Most likely every player in the NBA knows how good Bryant was during his career, and his numbers speak for themselves. In addition to the above stats, Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, five-time NBA champion and a two-time NBA Finals MVP. He also won the regular-season MVP award in 2008.
Although the six-time NBA champion Jordan always will be considered one of the game's greatest, it's hard to argue with Rose that Bryant has been one of the best players the NBA has seen the past 20 years.