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Kobe Bryant’s Jersey Retirement Ceremony Is Tonight, So Some Former Players Talked About What He Was Like On The Court

Both #8 and #24 will be retired.

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It seems like just the other day that Kobe played in his final game and had a performance so incredible, it felt like a scripted movie.

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Ahead of the Monday night ceremony, BuzzFeed caught up with six former NBA players who either played or coached against Kobe, to have them describe what he was like as a competitor.

Shaquille O’Neal, who played with, and against Kobe:

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“What really made him special was his determination. I remember having a conversation with Kobe when he said, ‘I want to be as big as Michael Jordan, bigger than Michael,’ and me, I’m looking at this 18-year-old kid, like, ‘Okay, buddy, slow down.’ But as the years went on, you saw his game progress, his work ethic progress, you saw him start to act like a leader and like a champion, and I think it helped us get three [championships] in a row.”

Grant Hill, who played against Kobe:

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“Kobe was a tough player to guard whether it was one-on-one or in a game setting. As a player, he was relentless, focused, and he never got rattled. He didn’t have many weaknesses — he was the ultimate challenge.”

Greg Anthony, who played against Kobe:

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“In every facet of his game, he was the closest player we have seen to Michael Jordan — in terms of how competitive, how mentally tough, and how driven he was as a player. Then, you factor in his overall skill set — Kobe Bryant was off the charts.”

Kevin McHale, a Hall of Fame player, who coached against Kobe Bryant.

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“Watching Kobe was a lot like watching Michael [Jordan]. A lot of his mannerisms… [he was] the closest thing to Michael that I’ve seen in our league.”

Steve Smith, who played against Kobe Bryant.

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“Kobe was the most fundamentally sound player that I’ve seen play. You then add his fundamentals to his elite athleticism, skill set, passion, and IQ.”

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