Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant have a number of things in common. Woods turned professional in August of 1996 while Bryant was selected 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft; they both seemingly burst onto the scene at the same time.
There’s also the fact that Woods and Bryant completely dominated their professions since turning professional as well. The two also went through personal issues at the height of their careers with Kobe’s sexual assault case in 2003 and Woods’ infidelity scandal and fallout in 2009.
It’s tough to find two athletes that are so similar in so many different ways in the history of sports.
Woods, who was a friend of Bryant’s and a lifelong Laker fan, pointed out that they shared similarities, specifically when it comes to the preparation to reach the top of the mountain in their two professions.
“We really connected on the mental side of it,” Woods told Daniel Rapaport of Golf Digest. “The prep. How much it takes to be prepared … that’s where he and I really connected. We were very similar.”
As the news broke after 11:00 AM on the West Coast, Tiger Woods and the rest of the field at the Farmers Insurance Open had already teed off at Torrey Pines. It was unknown at the time whether or not Woods had heard of Bryant’s passing while on the course.
Following the round, video emerged of his caddie, Joe LaCava breaking the news to Woods as they walked off of the 18th green. Woods confirmed during his post-round interview with CBS that he heard fans shouting ‘do it for Mamba’ throughout the round, but didn’t understand why.
Woods also did an interview with Golf TV reacting to Bryant’s death explaining the emotions he was feeling just moments after hearing of his friend passing away.