“Kobe Bryant, you can put my shoes on, but never fill them”: How Michael Jordan’s trash talk inspired the Black Mamba’s 55 point performance over His Airness (video)

A throwback tale of when Michael Jordan trash-talked Kobe Bryant so hard that Kobe went silent for two weeks, only to drop 55 on Jordan


Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of the greatest basketball players in the game’s history. Even though they shared a good relationship off the court, on the court, they were fierce competitors. We all have heard stories about how fierce competitors these two were, and how they prioritized winning over everything else.

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The competitive nature was always the same for the two of them. Ever since Kobe Bryant was drafted into the NBA in 1996, he always looked up to Michael Jordan. Kobe tried to mirror MJ, and learn his moves. He used to pick Jordan’s brain during games when others were afraid to even face His Airness. The two developed a great relationship and became close friends off the court.

Kobe Bryant did not speak to his teammates for two weeks after losing to Michael Jordan
Despite being friends off the court, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan never went easy on each other on the court. They both kept their level of gameplay at the highest against each other, and the same can be said about their trash-talking.

Once when Jordan was playing for the Wizards, the Lakers lost to the Wizards by 1 point. Jordan then went up to Kobe and said, “you can put my shoes on all you want, but you would never fill them.” Kobe Bryant was wearing Jordan 8s at that time, and had also modeled his game after His Airness. However, this did not sit right with the Black Mamba, who went silent for the next two weeks and just kept training. Two weeks later, when he met Jordan and the Wizards again, Kobe dropped 42 points in the first half. He finished the game with 55 points and a win.

That just perfectly describes the kind of relationship the two had. Always competitive, always pushing each other to their limit. However, in the end, the Mamba Mentality trumped and beat His Airness.


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