Kobe Bryant doesn't dole out compliments lightly, so listen up, folks.
After passing Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list and propelling the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night, Bryant had some high praise for the 2014 draft's No. 1 overall pick.
Speaking to reporters following his historic 26-point outing, Bryant said it's like he's staring into the mirror when watching Timberwolves swingman Andrew Wiggins, according to The Associated Press' Jon Krawczynski:
As for Wiggins himself, he appeared to be humbled just to step on the hardwood simultaneously with the 36-year-old Bryant, according to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding:
In the loss—Minnesota's eighth in its last 10 games—Wiggins compiled 16 points (4-of-12 shooting), two rebounds, zero assists and two turnovers in 29 minutes.
Nineteen years ago, Bryant entered the league as a wide-eyed teenager fresh out of Lower Merion High School just outside Philadelphia, appearing in 71 games (six starts) while averaging 7.6 points on 41.7 percent shooting.
And while their roles as first-year players are significantly different, Wiggins is starting to acquit himself nicely, averaging 12.8 points on 39.6 percent shooting from the field and 37.5 percent from three.
As Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman recently opined, Wiggins is still starting his climb up the developmental curve, although his on-court mindset has undergone a positive transformation of late:
But he's been more aggressive with Kevin Martin out of the lineup, something that seemed like half the battle for him as a prospect at Kansas. And despite the ups and downs, nothing has changed with regard to his massive two-way ceiling.
However, Wiggins still has eons to travel before he gets anywhere close to joining the elite company Bryant shares. And with 32,016 points separating the two, Wiggins can start mounting his charge up the leaderboard Tuesday when the Timberwolves square off against the Washington Wizards.