Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s Strong Bond

The similarities between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were endless. Both basketball legends had similar playing styles and mindsets, they wanted to win at all costs, on and off the court.

Jordan and Kobe were good friends, Bryant’s unexpected death in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 impacted the Bulls legend. The tragedy made Jordan reveal the true meaning of their relationship.

Jordan loved Bryant – he was like a little brother to him. At one point, Jordan said that when Bryant died a piece of him died.

Time built a true brotherhood between master and apprentice, and Jordan acknowledged Bryant’s talent.

Former Bulls head coach Phil Jackson once saw Jordan in attendance for a game when he coached the Lakers and asked him to meet in the Chairman’s room after it ended and talk to Bryant. However, when Jordan came after the game, Bryant immediately just said one thing, ‘I could kick your a** 1-on-1.’ To Jackson’s surprise, Jordan said ‘I’ve been out of the game a couple of years, you just might.’

Lakers legend Magic Johnson explained what Jordan meant to Kobe and vice versa.

“You could see the beginning of this special relationship that was going to take place and start forming then,” Johnson told the LA Times. “Kobe respected guys but it was different [with Jordan]. He idolized Michael in a way that was different from anybody else.

“It was like, ‘Man, I’m trying to be like you but I also want to show you what I got in this All-Star game too.’ I loved the fact that I was there and I could witness it just like Larry [Bird] and I witnessed during the [1992] Olympics, how we were passing the torch to Michael. Some things you never forget and that was a moment I’ll never forget — the torch being passed.”

Kobe credited Jordan with helping him win five NBA Championships.

“It was a rough couple of years for me, coming to the league, ’cause 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 a kid that… shot a bunch of air-balls, 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 a 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 one-on-one, and fans saying ‘Kobe you’d beat Michaell one-on-one.’ And I feel like, ‘Yo! What you get from me is from him.’ I don’t get five championships here without him, cause he guided me so much and he gave me so much great advice,” Bryant explained.

Eduardo Solano