Tierney On The Next MJ: "Kobe Came The Closest"

Michael Jordan and others paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center on Monday

Tiki and Tierney
February 24, 2020 - 6:23 pm

Kobe and Gianna Bryant were honored at the Staples Center on Monday, as numerous speakers, including Michael Jordan, paid tribute to the father and daughter, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.

Jordan, 57, spoke poignantly of Bryant as “a little brother,” and said, “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.” It was a fitting tribute by Jordan, the best player of his generation, to Bryant, arguably the best player of his.

“We were always trying to find the next MJ, and even with this cloak of sadness, I’m not going to stretch it and say that Kobe was comparable to MJ,” Brandon Tierney said on Tiki & Tierney. “He wasn’t. MJ is the greatest player of all time. . . . But boy, [of] all the players we thought might [be the next MJ] – Kobe came the closest.”

Tiki Barber agreed, offering his perspective as a former professional athlete.

“Does it matter if nobody became the next MJ?” Barber asked. “This generation – Kobe’s generation – of player strived to be Michael Jordan, and it’s what pushed them to great heights. It’s what made him who he is. A parallel and a symmetry to this, there is a host of these current NBA players . . . who felt that way about Kobe.”

Just as Jordan inspired a generation with incredible highlights, Bryant did the same.

“That drives you if you love the sport,” Barber said.  It’s no different from me watching Walter Payton and Walter Payton doing the stuff that he did. That emotion drives you to want to be great and to be like that. There’s a whole generation that wants to be like that because of Kobe.”