Monday Morning Beef - Mamba Mentality
Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Once in a Generation: Mamba Mentality


After ESPN’s airing of Michael Jordan’sThe Last Dance” it has without a doubt, made MJ the talk of the town the past few weeks.


Monday Morning Beef
Courtesy: LA Times

Jordan’s mentality is one rarely seen among today’s professional athletes. From his killer mentality on the court to his drive to become the greatest ever to grace it, his mindset was probably his most significant trait. When you think about that killer mentality, there is only one player other than MJ who immediately comes to mind, the late Kobe Bryant.

Kobe showed those eerily similar traits from his early years in the league with Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers until the final season of his career in 2016. Even in his last game, he displayed the “Mamba Mentality.”

Which then raises the question again, who is the greatest player of all time? The consensus has included  Michael Jordan as well as LeBron James, and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Mt Rushmore of Basketball. However, there are always the odds that Kobe Bryant will get snubbed from that conversation.

Respectfully, you have to add Kobe’s name into that category when debating about the greatest.


This leads to the question, how could so many consider Michael Jordan the number one basketball player ever, but yet still so many leave Bryant out of their top five, or even top ten when Kobe is supposed to be a carbon copy of Jordan?


Photo Credit: NBA

The debate is never-ending, which is what makes sports such the great luxury we as fans have to watch. Bryant, as he always did, set a goal for himself and did everything he could to achieve it. He wanted to be the next Jordan, so he went to icon himself for advice on how to do that.

There is nobody that has resembled anything close to Jordan other than Bryant. Jordan also recognized that and not only taught Bryant the finer points of his game, but also became a big brother and mentor to him.

The Last Dance aired from April 17th through May 17th amid a nationwide Stay at home order. Hence, a lot of the younger generation got the opportunity to experience the Michael Jordan era. With that being said, many of those same fans were the ones who grew up watching Kobe Bryant, which was the Michael Jordan of their generation.

Shaq is one who can testify to the similarities between Kobe and Jordan due to him having the opportunity to play with Kobe, as well as compete against MJ in his prime. Shaq himself said that Kobe and Jordan’s mentality on the court, due to their demeanor and drive to not only win but dominate their opponents, are similar. So much so that Shaq believes that Jordan and Kobe are equal.


The GOAT debate between LeBron and Jordan has been even more intense after “The Last Dance” docuseries ended.


Mamba Day 2020
Courtesy: Entertainment Tonight

However, O’Neal wants basketball fans to appreciate the greatness of the players mentioned in the debate. He also wants those debating to include The Black Mamba in the GOAT talks, even if he ultimately thinks Jordan deserves the title.

Bryant and Shaq won three titles together on the Lakers. Also, Kobe went on to win two more with Pau Gasol in 2009 and 2010. At the end of Kobe’s career, he was widely recognized as the 2nd greatest shooting guard of all time.

Some might even consider him the greatest shooting guard of all time, putting him ahead of Michael Jordan.

Not to mention, both Bryant and Jordan won their combined 11 championships with the same team, the Lakers and  Chicago Bulls, respectively. When put in perspective in comparison with LeBron James, a lot of fans tend to look at his record in the NBA Finals, as well as the number of teams that for which he has played.

Many will use the argument that those reasons alone are why LeBron James does not possess that same mentality as Bryant and Jordan had.


Bryant finished his legendary Lakers career with averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. He was a two-time Finals MVP, and gave the world the Mamba Mentality.


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Terence Smith

Twitter: TerenceSmithFSM


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