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GAME 3 REPORT

View From The Other Side

May 23, 1999

What writers in Texas are saying about the series:

DWAIN PRICE, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

A year has passed since the comments surfaced, but Kobe Bryant occasionally still hears the comparisons to Michael Jordan.

The Laker guard handles the questions with aplomb. It's as if Bryant knows that one day he will live up to Jordan's majestic stature.

Some believe he will. Others believe he'll blaze his own trail.

Can he carry the Lakers as did the player he has modeled his game after, the guy who carried the Chicago Bulls to all those championships?

"I don't think those comparisons are ever really going to cease," Laker General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "But Kobe and Michael are very similar in their size, their athletic skills and, to a degree, their competitive nature.

"I know people will find that hard to believe, and say how do you say one guy is as competitive as Michael, when Michael is the most competitive person perhaps to ever play the game? But Kobe is really incredibly competitive."

Bryant, who came to the NBA three years ago out of high school, answers Jordan-related questions diligently.

"I don't mind the talk about Michael Jordan, but Michael is his own man and I'm my own man," Bryant said.

Most players speak of Jordan in God-like terms, including Bryant, who is 20. Mario Elie, a San Antonio guard who has matched up against Bryant, said the comparison is unfair and unfounded.

"There's nobody going to be like Michael Jordan," Elie said. "But [Kobe] can get to the basket any time he wants. If he learns how to get everybody else involved and let the game come to him, the sky's the limit for him."

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