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Kobe Bryant calls his and Michael Jordan's competitiveness 'second to none'

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Kobe got nostalgic before his final game in Chicago.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant will play in his final game in Chicago's United Center on Sunday night, but it surely won't be the last time he is compared to the greatest player to ever suit up for the Bulls, Michael Jordan. The comparisons between the two's playing style have been evident for Bryant's entire career, and during his pregame media availability Kobe confirmed Jordan's influence on him.

"No words can really do it justice," Bryant said of the impact Jordan had on him, as captured by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. "I studied Michael exclusively. He was extremely open to (mentoring me)." From Kobe's impeccable footwork to his trademark fadeaways, there is more than a little of MJ in his game. But according to Bryant, this technical precision was not the only common trait he shared with Jordan. Kobe also told reporters that he would put both Jordan's competitiveness and his own on a level above other players in the NBA's history:

There have been few, if any players, quite as maniacally competitive as Jordan and Bryant were in their primes, so it's hard to argue with Kobe on that point. He believes that same quality would have allowed him to play for the Bulls in Jordan's shadow had his 2007 trade demand been met, something that sounds like it was closer than most have thought:

Things obviously turned out very different, with Bryant staying in Los Angeles and winning two more rings with Pau Gasol, whom he says he tried to convince to stay in free agency two years ago:

Kobe and the very prideful Pau will share a basketball court for the final time tonight, and this video of some of the two's best moments via YouTube user MambaDontFear will leave all Lakers fans suitably nostalgic about it:

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.