Chicago Bulls Hall of Fame writer Sam Smith did an AMA on Reddit recently and shared an awesome story involving Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Bulls icon Michael Jordan.
As we all know, Jordan and Bryant were two of the fiercest competitors in NBA history. Kobe was basically Jordan 2.0.
Smith recalls a time when Bryant once challenged a retired Jordan to a game. The story, as you might imagine, is pretty legendary:
One of my favorite stories ever, which was more about Kobe, which was MJ and Kobe weren’t close, and Phil Jackson (coaching the Lakers) invited Michael to meet Kobe and talk to him a little bit. They arranged for a suite at the arena. Michael was there with Phil and Jerry West – this was after he retired from the Wizards so it’d be about 2005, maybe. Kobe walks in and challenges Michael to a game and tells him to put on a uniform and go down to the court and that he would kick his ass. Michael of course was out of shape and not at his playing weight, sitting smoking a cigar despite the no-smoking rule in the arena. And of course, Michael was ready to go. They didn’t wind up playing, but the fire flared up.
They shared a competitiveness that’s been unseen by anybody else in the last 15 years.
Michael Jordan won six championships with the Bulls, going 6-0 and winning all six Finals MVPs along the way.
Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, won five titles with the Lakers and two Finals MVPs. He won three in a row with Shaquille O’Neal and then two later in his career after the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Kobe finished his Lakers career with averages of 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists. The late Lakers legend is set to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer later this year.