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    Description

    1992 Kobe Bryant's Personal Subscription Copy of Sports Illustrated (6/22) with Michael Jordan on the Cover, CGC 4.5. For Kobe Bryant, it was always about Michael Jordan. He idolized The Black Cat as a child. He copied all his moves. He skipped college and went straight to the NBA because of Jordan -- because he wanted to play against his 'maker' before he retired. It seemed as if Michael Jordan was baked into the very fabric of Kobe Bryant's life plan and destiny. As Bryant's close friend Tracy McGraddy recalled shortly after The Mamba's passing:

    "This sounds crazy, but Kobe spoke this, he spoke this. He used to say all the time, 'I want to die young. I want to be immortalized and, you know, have my career be better than Michael Jordan's.'"

    The teenage Mamba would have been just thirteen-years-old when this issue of SI arrived in the mailbox of his childhood home in Wynnewood [winning on the hardwood?], PA in June of 1992. On the cover was his idol and the player he would model his game after. (On this subject, His Airness was once quoted as saying "He steals all my moves"). Jordan, pictured smoking a cigar, had just won his second title.

    This was exactly where the young Bryant wanted to be - the best player in the NBA, on the best team in the NBA. He was talented, focused and driven. And nothing would stop him. Take a moment to imagine the young Kobe reading this issue, from cover to cover on his bed in Wynnewood, and dreaming about, not "Being Like Mike" but "Being Better Than Mike." Then, fast forward four years later. Kobe is guarding Mike and Kobe is on the cover of SI. The championships and MVPs would come as well. Mission accomplished, Mamba out. Encapsulated by CGC, 4.5.


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    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
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