Kobe Bryant seemed to initially take offense to Michael Jordan asking him to ‘stay aggressive all the time’. But the Lakers legend later realized why.
JA Adande spoke about the bond between the two greatest shooting guards ever on the Sports Uncovered podcast recently. Adande writes for LA Times and is a regular feature on ESPN show Around the Horn. He got the kind access to Kobe that few other journalists could hope for.
Last night was the 15th anniversary of Kobe dropping 81 points on Jalen Rose and the Raptors. The single greatest scoring exhibition in the 3-point era was one for which everyone knew where they were.
Jordan and Bryant shared a great relationship as mentor and mentee. Early in Kobe’s career, Jordan tipped him to be the latter’s successor, and Bryant did not disappoint through his career.
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan at the 1998 All Star Game
Bryant and MJ were close right from the start of the former’s NBA career. Adande recounts the interaction between the two at the 1998 All Star Game:
“One thing that sticks with me is he (Kobe) talked about how Michael told him at that ‘98 All-Star Game, he said ‘don’t forget to stay aggressive.’ And Kobe said, initially he was like, ‘What do you mean stay aggressive? Of course I’m gonna stay aggressive.’”
“And then as the second half of the season went on, and you know, it’s your third game in five days in three cities and all of that stuff that comes with the NBA and you’re just dragging yourself to the arena. And Kobe realized this is what he’s talking about,” Adande explained. “That you have to find a way even in these situations to stay aggressive. He was like ‘now I get it.’”