Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan shared a very special relationship. Jordan and Kobe didn’t play in the league together for a long time. Bryant debuted in the NBA in 1996, and Bryant only got to share a total of 4 years in the NBA with Jordan between 1996 to 2002. But the two shared a very close bond together.
Their bond was forged at the 1998 NBA All-Star game. Playing at Madison Square Garden, Jordan was entering what many thought would be his final All-Star game, whereas Kobe Bryant was going to take part in his first-ever All-Star game. Bryant was part of the Western team, whereas Jordan repped the Eastern team.
Before the game, Michael Jordan was caught on camera talking about Kobe Bryant, in footage that was shown during ‘The Last Dance’ docuseries. In the video, Jordan was telling the Eastern Conference All-Star that Kobe wasn’t afraid of anyone, and would take the game over himself. But he did note that if he was his teammate, he would not pass the ball to him.
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“That little Laker boy’s gonna take everyone 1-on-1. He doesn’t let the game come to him; He goes and takes it. If I was his teammate, I wouldn’t pass him the f*cking ball. If you want the ball again, you better rebound.”
Kobe revealed in the docuseries that he asked Michael Jordan for tips while they were on the court together. Jordan, while he was very competitive, acquiesced and tried to help Kobe Bryant. From there, their relationship grew, as Jordan became a mentor for Kobe during his career.
Jordan was heartbroken when Kobe Bryant passed away, as he gave a touching speech at his memorial service. On top of that, he also spoke about the last text conversation he had with Kobe, and why he can’t bring himself to delete his phone number from his phone.