If he scores 31 points against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, Kobe Bryant will pass Michael Jordan to take sole possession of third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. If he doesn't do it Friday, he'll almost certainly do it Sunday against the Sacramento Kings.
It's a hell of an achievement by Bryant and a testament to two of the most competitive players to ever pull on an NBA uniform. Bryant is well known for patterning his game off Jordan's, but —wait a minute! — their moves aren't just similar. Sometimes they're downright uncannily identical, as the three videos included herein prove beyond any doubt.
This has been laid bare in the starkest terms thanks to YouTube mashups made by a young NBA fan named Youssef Hannoun in Cairo, Egypt — proving both the global appeal of basketball icons like Jordan and Bryant, as well as the digitally flattened world of sports fandom we now live in.
Hannoun's first comparison video, embedded atop this post, became a viral sensation in August 2012. We covered it then, as well as similarly jaw-dropping sequels Hannoun made in 2013 and 2014. But with Jordan and Bryant set to meet while traveling opposite ways on the NBA scoring list, it's worth gathering all three testaments to their greatness — and similarities here in one place.
For years, Hannoun would stay up until 5:30 a.m. in Cairo to catch Bryant's games happening back in the U.S. By 2012, he told Mashable at the time, he'd "literally seen every single Kobe bucket since the 07-08 season, as well as highlights from his entire career, so I have his game more or less memorized."
Here's Hannoun's second offering, released in August 2013:
A robust level of Kobe fandom and a near-encyclopedic memory helped Hannoun make the eerie videos, which have been picked up by sites all around the web, including NBA.com itself.
"I just had to watch Jordan clips, and I'd recognize the moves that Kobe has done and I'd know when Kobe pulled off the same play against which team and what year, so finding Kobe's clips were very easy; the whole thing was relatively easy for me," Hannoun told Mashable after his first project became a massive hit.
Released just this past August, Hannoun's third installment completes the trilogy:
Something tells us that, half a world away, Hannoun will smile broadly when his idol Bryant passes his own idol Jordan on the NBA scoring list soon.
Here's the NBA's all-time scoring list as it stands before Friday night's
Kobe Lakers game.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 38,387 points
- Karl Malone: 36,928 points
- Michael Jordan: 32,292 points
- Kobe Bryant: 32,262 points
- Wilt Chamberlain: 31,419 points
- Shaquille O'Neal: 28,596 points
- Moses Malone: 27,409 points
- Elvin Hayes: 27,313 points
- Dirk Nowitzki: 27,200 points
- Hakeem Olajuwon: 26,946 points
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, NBA, SPORTS