Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” gave us a look at the public image of Michael Jordan. The highlight of his marketability, in the public eye, was without a doubt his “Like Mike” Gatorade commercial.
The importance of this ad is the way it lifts Jordan on the highest pedestal for athletes. Reaching this pedestal is a seemingly unmatchable goal, but one kid born in Philly did everything in his power to be like Mike.
In the short amount of screen time we saw Kobe last night, we witnessed the basketball connection he had with Michael Jordan. We saw a young Kobe picking Jordan’s brain during the 1998 All-Star game and the reaction the latter had to a young player with a “Killer instinct” much like his own.
The importance of those small moments of recognition were the building blocks of a relationship that helped build up the next player to inspire a generation of hoopers to pick the ball up and start playing.
Kobe’s game emulated Jordan in ways we may never see again.
The main similarity on offense is the fadeaway jumper. On defense, a calculating mind, tenacity, and pride in defending the basket linked MJ and Kobe.
The biggest takeaway for me from the limited screen time in episode 5 for Kobe is the instant recognition of the dedication to the game MJ recognized in him.