The bond between Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and the GOAT, Michael Jordan was as special as one between a mentor and a mentee could get.
It’s well-known how Kobe built his entire offensive arsenal around Mike. The Lakers guard obsessed over His Airness, copying his footwork, his handles, his shooting style and even his signature walk. There was such an eerie similarity between the two that you could conceivably superimpose one on the other and fool people on video.
In addition to being an inspiration to Kobe indirectly, MJ also grew to be a close friend. In fact, MJ said the following in his speech to commemmorate Kobe’s passing last year:
“Maybe it would surprise people that Kobe and I are very close friends. Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”
“Now, he’s got me and I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next…” he said, referencing the tears streaming down his face, before raucous laughter from the crowd took over.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had a great relationship – MJ’s son Marcus
On the Sports Uncovered podcast, host JA Adande spoke about the bond between the two greatest shooting guards of all time:
“Everyone else made that comparison all the time,” Adande said. “Kobe was reluctant to do so. And I think probably because he realized he couldn’t win that battle. Eventually it dawned on him, no matter what I do, 81 points, whatever, they’re not gonna put me ahead of Michael.”
According to Jordan’s son, Marcus, the two grew close in each of their post-playing days.
“From time to time, Kobe would just text him and my dad would kind of perk up, just to kind of reply to him to make sure because you know, there was always that competitive banter going back and forth,” Marcus said on the Sports Uncovered podcast.
During my time with @NBCSports last spring, I had the chance to assist with this podcast honoring Kobe Bryant
It was amazing hearing players and coaches talk about not only Kobe the player, but Kobe the father and husband. It’s a must-listen so click ⬇️https://t.co/xaqrHo8dJZ
— Bryan Murphy (@bryan_murphy10) January 21, 2021