Won’t be a champ without him: Late Kobe Bryant savors relationship with Jordan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2020 03:32 PM

Won’t be a champ without him: Late Kobe Bryant savors relationship with Jordan 1
CAPTION According to Kobe Bryant, it was Michael Jordan who showed him the ropes as a young player struggling to find his footing in the NBA. “I don’t get five championships here (with the Lakers) without (Jordan), because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice,” Bryant said. Vincent Laforet, AFP/file

The stage? The 1998 NBA All-Star Game in New York. The backdrop? Michael Jordan hinting it would be his final season; Kobe Bryant being groomed as “His Airness’ ” successor. The roles? Jordan the mentor, and Kobe the student.

Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” on Netflix opened with a segment featuring Bryant detailing the impact Jordan had had in his career.

The following are Bryant’s quotes in full:

“It was a rough couple of years for me coming into the league. At the time, the league was much older, It’s not as young as it is today. So nobody was really thinking much of me. 

“I was the kid that shot a bunch of airballs, you know what I mean? And at that point, Michael provided a lot of guidance for me.

“I had a question about shooting his turnaround shot so I asked him about it, and he gave me great detailed answer, but on top of that he said if you ever need anything, give me a call. He’s like my big brother.

“I truly hate having discussions about who would win 1-on-1, and fans saying, ‘Hey Kobe, you’d beat Michael 1-on-1.’ I feel like, ‘Yo, what you get from me is from him.’ I don’t get five championships here (with the Lakers) without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.”

Finding out how Bryant truly felt about Jordan became all the more compelling to watch after Bryant died in January under tragic circumstances.

During a memorial for Bryant, Jordan was teary-eyed remembering his “younger brother” and sharing effusive praise of him.

“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan said.

“Maybe it surprised people that Kobe and I were very close friends, but we were very close friends,” he added. “He was like a little brother.”

“He used to call me, text me 11:30, 2:30, 3 in the morning talking about post-up moves, footwork, and sometimes the triangle. At first, it was an aggravation but then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know.”

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