Back in a 2015 interview, Kobe Bryant revealed how close he was on signing with the Washington Wizards in order to team up with his role model Michael Jordan.
Off the many all-time greats to grace the league, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are unarguably two of the greatest players. Both these Hall-Of-Famers are considered to be basketball gods who have completely revolutionised how the game of basketball is perceived.
Both, the Mamba and His Airness, have had successful careers and pretty stacked resumes. Between the two incredible guards, they had 32 All-Star appearances, 26 All-NBA selections, 12 scoring titles, 7 All-Star MVPs, 11 NBA championships, 8 Finals MVPs, 6 MVPs and scored 65,935 points.
We saw MJ ball out from 1984-2003, and even got to look at the wizardry of Bean from 1996-2016. While their careers overlapped for 4 seasons, we got to witness Kobe and Jordan battle it out in 8 different instances. Even though Air Jordan was playing at the twilight of his career, he managed to outscore Bryant 24.5-22.8, however, lost 5 of their duels.
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are two of the deadliest players. No doubt, these two shooting guards were a nightmare for the defenders to match up against. And, back in 2004, these two legends were very close to becoming teammates.
“Michael Jordan and I would’ve put together a great team and won championships”: Kobe Bryant
Yes, you did read that correctly. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were pretty close at being teammates. Coming off the 2004 Finals loss against the Detroit Pistons, Bean had decided to leave LA as he wanted to prove it to everyone that he could’ve won a chip without Shaq’s help.
“The challenge had been thrown down upon me, of not being able to win without Shaq. A public challenge never really bothered me too much, but he made a couple of comments as well. I think he called me Penny Hardaway Part 2 or something like that. So that’s what [ticked] me off.”
Back in a 2015 interview with “The Washington Post”, the Lakers megastar disclosed how he wanted to sign with the Wizards during the 2004 free agency.
“That’s true. A long time ago? Yeah.”
“I’ve always been very big on having mentors, on having muses. And I’ve been really, really big on that, being around guys who have done it before and done it at a high level. And always tried to pick their brains and always tried to absorb knowledge. Obviously, being in that situation [with the Wizards], it would’ve helped having to be around him every day and so on.”
Just like all of us, Kobe too believed that the Bryant-Jordan duo would be pretty successful, winning a few championships.
“We would’ve put together a great team and we would’ve won championships. Listen, man. There are not a lot of players in this league that say, ‘Come hell or high water, we’re going to get this [expletive] done.’ People can look around and joke around about winning, saying they want to win. For me, it’s a matter of life or death. It was that important to me. And if it’s that important to me, I’m going to get there.”
Unfortunately for them, and luckily for the rest of the league, the two couldn’t team-up. Jordan went on to become the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets. While Kobe ended up staying with the Lakers, signing a massive 7-year, $136.4 million contract. Even though we couldn’t see the two most iconic players of all-time be on the same team, just thinking about it gives us chills.