Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest: The NBA's Biggest "Wannabes" of All-Time

Mike B.Correspondent IDecember 14, 2009

First off, I just want to say that I'm not a Kobe Bryant or Ron Artest hater. In fact, I strongly believe Kobe is one of the NBA 's greatest players and Artest is one of the top defenders in recent memory.    

Okay, I'm glad I got that out of the way.

The current Los Angeles Lakers teammates aren't only two of the league's top players, they're also two of the biggest copycats. Kobe is the ultimate "fake Michael Jordan," while Artest has done a great job in trying to become the next Dennis Rodman.

Let's start with Kobe first and then we'll get to Artest a little later.

You can't blame Kobe for wanting to be like Mike. Who else would be better to imitate than the greatest basketball player of all time? 

Anyone can easily tell that he has spent hours upon hours watching tape of Jordan's every move. His fadeaway jumper is nearly identical to MJ's, and he also talks like Jordan during interviews.      

That's pretty scary.

In addition, Kobe has won multiple NBA championships on a team coached by Phil Jackson. Just like Jordan. 

Yeah, I know Kobe didn't hire Phil, but I'm sure he begged management to bring him in so he could have another thing in common with Jordan.

And when it come to shoes, Kobe wears Nike—just like Jordan.

It's really surprising that there's never been a Kobe shoe brand. Who knows, maybe that will come to pass in a few years. Stay tuned.

Also, you can't forget about Kobe's jersey numbers. His No. 8 probably represented that he wasn't as good as Jordan yet. (Jordan wore No. 9 on the Dream Team).

And he likely switched to No. 24 because he thought he was finally better than Jordan. (Jordan wore No. 23 for the Chicago Bulls).

Okay enough about Mr. Bryant, let's move on to how Artest has been mimicking Rodman for years.

Just like Rodman, Artest switches his jersey number every time he changes teams. And most of the time, those numbers have been very weird like 93 or 96.

He even wore No. 91, which is the exact number that Rodman wore when he played for the Bulls. Man, he could have been a little more original than that.

In addition, Artest has played the "copycat role" when it comes to hairstyles. No, he's never changed his hair color like Rodman, but he's had a number of off-the-wall hair cuts.

That Jimmy Kimmel cut was simply out of control.

Artest also has a passion for being controversial like Rodman. He never married himself or kicked a camera man like Rodman, however he did destroy a television camera and run into the stands to punch a fan.    

Yes, that's pretty controversial.

Oh well, both Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest may be wannabes, but they're definitely entertaining.

Without those two, the NBA just wouldn't be the same.