9. Kobe Bryant
Former ADIDAS sports marketing tycoon Sonny Vaccaro’s prophecy of Kobe Bryant becoming the next Michael Jordan proved to be eerily prescient. The son of Joe “Jellybean” Bryant was one of the two rocks on which the post-Showtime Los Angeles Lakers were built upon. A conscience-less competitor with a seemingly indomitable will, Bryant’s pathological work ethic drew comparisons to that of Jordan, whom Bryan absolutely modeled his game after.
By the time he retired after 21 seasons in the NBA, Bryant’s list of accomplishments is almost too long to state. The 2008 NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and 18-time All-Star selection is only surpassed by Jordan himself as the greatest shooting guard in NBA history.