Could Andrew Wiggins be the next Kobe Bryant?
In a 2015 interview with the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Kobe Bryant’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant told me that Wiggins was a mini-Kobe. “I think the kid in Minnesota has a chance to be special…Wiggins,” Bryant told me.
“You talk about the size frame and those kind of things. Wiggins has the chance to be special, because really I don’t see anyone else. I don’t think there will be another Kobe or another Michael.”
That’s high praise.
A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Joe Bryant was a standout at John Bartram High School in the Southwest section of the city. He was drafted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in 1975 draft out of LaSalle University. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers on a team that featured legends Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Doug Collins and George McGinnis.
Bryant, a 6’9 big man, had amazing footwork on the court. He played basketball abroad in Italy and he later played for the NBA’s San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets.
After his NBA basketball playing career, he coached the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and later coached abroad in Italy, Japan and in Thailand.
Despite putting up All Star numbers this season, Andrew Wiggins was snubbed in making an appearance in this month’s NBA All Star Game at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
For those keeping score at home: Andrew Wiggins is currently averaging 22.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Not surprising, Kobe Bryant said same similar things about Wiggins years ago. “I remember being Andrew Wiggins,” he said in 2014.
“I remember playing against Michael my first year. To be here tonight and to play against him, seeing the baby face and the little footwork or little technique things that he’s going to be much sharper at as time goes on — it was like looking at a reflection of myself 19 years ago. It was pretty cool.”
A 20-year NBA veteran, Kobe Bryant sits fourth on the NBA’s career scoring list with 33,643 points, he also has five NBA championships and his numbers 8 and 24, both retired by the Los Angeles Lakers organization at Staples Center.
Bryant died at the age of 41 on Sunday January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, while on his way to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. Bryant, his daughter, Gianna Bryant and seven other passengers perished in the helicopter crash.