Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should be a familiar name to diehard NBA fans. Hollis-Jefferson was a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American who spent two years with the Arizona Wildcats in college before becoming the No. 23 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft to the Brooklyn Nets. He spent four years with the Nets before signing with the Toronto Raptors as a free agent, then had a brief stint with the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2020-2021 season.
Hollis-Jefferson is playing for Jordan in the 2023 men’s FIBA World Cup. He’s probably the last player you’d expect to go viral in this tournament, but that’s exactly what happened during Jordan’s opening game against Greece. The official World Cup account sent out a tweet of Hollis-Jefferson highlights with the caption “Kobe must be watching this, smiling.”
Honestly, they’re not wrong. Hollis-Jefferson really does look like Bryant at first glance in this video.
It’s not just that Hollis-Jefferson is wearing Bryant’s old No. 24. He’s also listed at 6’6, 217 pounds, which is basically the exact same size as Kobe during his prime. Hollis-Jefferson has always been considered a tremendous athlete since first emerging a top recruit, and the way he moved around the court and attacked off the dribble was similar to Bryant if you squint hard enough.
This is kind of a weird tweet? Yes it is, but you can’t argue with the engagement on it. At time of publish, FIBA’s tweet has 40,000 likes and nearly 8,000 retweets.
Greece beat Jordan, 92-71, to open group play in the World Cup. Giannis Antetokounmpo is out for Greece throughout the tournament as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, but his older brother Thanasis is a starter who scored nine points for Greece in the win.
Hollis-Jefferson had 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists in the loss for Jordan.
A Kobe clone playing for Jordan? This really is as good as the NBA gets in Aug.