Update: Due to Brandon Jennings deleting his Twitter and Instagram accounts, the links to his social-media posts that were included in this article no longer exist.
“I’ve been ballin’ so damn hard I swear I think that I’m Kobe/Young boy love this rap sh*t, but I think that I’m Kobe/I swear I’m dunking on these h*es; on these n*ggas, I’m free throwing/These boys they don’t like me ‘cause I think that I’m Kobe/”
–Chief Keef, “Kobe”
What if it were possible to watch a NBA player play a one-on-one game of basketball against himself? Imagine how exciting it would be to witness one player from two different periods of his playing career go head to head on the hardwood. Who would you want to see?
Ask Brandon Jennings.
As a basketball fan and player growing up in California, it is no surprise that NBA point guard Brandon Jennings is quite fond of the Los Angeles Lakers. Historically, the Lakers are one of the most successful franchises in the NBA. Furthermore, they are, without question, the most successful NBA franchise in the state of California by a long shot. More specifically though, Jennings idolizes and looks up to Kobe Bryant.
Back in August, Jennings made headlines when he stirred up a debate about Kobe Bryant on Twitter. Basically, Jennings wanted to, once and for all, put to rest the age-old debate about who is the better overall player: Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. Jennings, as you might have guessed, chose Kobe.
In September, Jennings continued to display his fondness for Kobe on social media. He proudly took to Twitter to tweet about an early birthday gift he was getting from his personal tattoo artist. What was the gift, you ask? It was a professional painting of none other than Kobe Bryant playing a one-on-one game against himself. The painting depicts an older Kobe playing against his younger self. So, if there was any uncertainty before as to how B. Jennings would answer the above question, there certainly isn’t any now. To see his tweet (and the unfinished painting), click here.
No. 8 vs. No. 24: Kobe Bryant vs. Kobe Bryant (aka the “Black Mamba”)
In the finished painting, the older Kobe on the left is clearly seen with the basketball in his possession trying to keep it out of reach of his defender (the younger Kobe on the right). The older Kobe is wearing a No. 24 Lakers uniform while the younger one is wearing a No. 8 Lakers uniform. The younger Kobe has his trademark afro while the older one has a low cut.
During Kobe’s No. 8-jersey years, he was Shaquille O’Neal’s fellow All-Star teammate who played a major role in the Lakers winning three-straight NBA championships.
During Kobe’s No. 24-jersey years, he has gone to three-straight NBA Finals, winning two of them. No. 24, also known as the “Black Mamba,” was a back-to-back NBA Finals MVP. No. 24 has also been the NBA MVP.
Beyond the credentials just mentioned, No. 8 and No. 24 each have other impressive stats and accomplishments on their resumes. To see the Instagram post of the completed painting, click here.
Who would win?
Who do you think would win this colossal matchup between the two Kobes? As for Brandon Jennings, well, he didn’t quite give his answer to this question. He does, however, give credit to the Black Mamba for having one big advantage. What is that advantage, you ask? Well, the same day Jennings tweeted about the painting, he was asked by one of his followers which of Kobe’s numbers should be retired after Kobe is done playing. Jennings responded with “both,” then added that the Black Mamba’s basketball IQ is “crazy.” To read the tweet, click here.
These are some additional fantasy matchups to consider. Which one is your favorite? Leave comments below to express your opinion.
Michael Jordan (first Bulls three-peat) vs. Michael Jordan (second Bulls three-peat)
Shaquille O’Neal (Orlando Magic) vs. Shaquille O’Neal (Los Angeles Lakers)
Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls) vs. Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards)
Shaquille O’Neal (Los Angeles Lakers) vs. Shaquille O’Neal (Miami Heat)
Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) vs. Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)
Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) vs. Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) vs. LeBron James (Miami Heat)
Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors) vs. Chris Bosh (Miami Heat)
Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic) vs. Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets)
James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder) vs. James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets) vs. Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
Shawn Kemp (Seattle Supersonics) vs. Shawn Kemp (Cleveland Cavaliers)