For basketball enthusiasts and internet heads alike, this past week was fruitful thanks to the work of Youssef Hannoun. Uploading his comparative video of Kobe and MJ pulling off seemingly identical plays throughout their career, the 18 year old’s video quickly became a viral sensation. Clearing nearly two million views in a little over a week, the piece has been picked up by major media outlets from Mashable to Hypebeast and has continued to spread across the internet. We tracked down Youssef to chat about the creation of the video, his love of basketball and his favorite plays from two of basketball’s greatest.
Your video has been making its rounds across the blogosphere this week. Are you aware of all the love it’s getting?
Yes I’m aware. I’m always in tune with everything basketball related that’s going on and once I saw article after article praising my video I was extremely excited to say the least.
Have you done any basketball related videos before or was this your first?
I made a different Kobe vs. MJ video about 8 months ago also showing their similarities, however the plays weren’t as identical or edited as well as in my newest video.
What compelled you to make a video of the two player’s similarities?
I’m a huge Kobe fan. I know that he’s learned a lot from MJ, and I’ve never seen a video that really showcased their similarities so I thought I would give it a try myself.
How did you manage to complete the editing process? It seems like just finding enough similar footage would be a task in itself?
It wasn’t very difficult for me. It took me about three and a half to four days to complete it. I have so much of Kobe’s moves memorized, I’ve seen nearly every basket he’s made since the 07-08 season. All I really had to do was watch footage of Jordan, and I’d recall when Kobe pulled off the same move and against which team.
That’s wild. So you pretty much have a visual archive of all of Kobe’s plays from the past five years?
Yeah pretty much.
What was it during the 07-08 season that compelled you to start watching every Laker game?
I wasn’t too into basketball before that, it just so happened that I became a Laker nut at the start of that season. The games start really late here though, sometimes even at 5:30 am.
Where exactly are you located?
I’m Jordanian but I live in Cairo, Egypt.
Oh wow Cairo… How big is basketball in Cairo compared to other sports?
Not very big, soccer is the most popular here, but basketball is growing and hopefully everybody here will realize how much fun it is.
Nice. So for the past five years you’ve been staying up past midnight to catch Laker games in real time to watch Kobe play?
Yup, but mostly to learn from him and know what it takes to be great. I’ve been playing myself for a long time and I’m trying to model my game after his and work as hard. That’s my personal goal.
What about his game fascinates you most?
His footwork, drive, intensity, attitude, will and his out of this world skill level. I forgot to mention earlier I’m 18 years old.
Wow, only 18. What do you make of Kobe’s criticism that he doesn’t pass the ball enough?
I think it’s fair but it’s his nature to score, he can shoot a lot, score a lot and get praised, or he can shoot a lot and struggle and get criticized, that’s how it is, but at the end of the day he’s one of the best winners to ever play.
And what about Jordan? Are you as big of a fan of his as well?
Not really, I was too young to have watched him play, but I’ve seen plenty of highlights and he earned the title as the greatest player of all time…for now.
What are Kobe and Jordan’s most memorable plays in your mind?
MJ’s switching hand layup in Game 2 of the 1991 Finals. Kobe’s 40 point Game 1 performance against the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals. Jordan’s six three pointers in one half against the Blazers in the Finals and Kobe’s Game 4 takeover against the Pacers in the 2000 Finals.
All good moments. What about Kobe’s back to back buzzer beaters in Portland to close out the season in ’03?
Incredible shots, one of his best clutch games.
Who would win in a game of one on one?
Kobe, he’s more skilled in my opinion and one on one is only about scoring points.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Kobe (or MJ) see your video within the next couple weeks if they haven’t already. What do you think they would have to say about it?
I know Kobe doesn’t like the MJ comparisons so hopefully he would forgive me for that, but hopefully they’ll both enjoy it and others will appreciate the two greatest players to ever play (in my opinion).
Catch up with all Youssef’s NBA videos on his Youtube channel.