Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s unexpected phone call from Michael Jackson back in 1998
It has been two seasons since the illustrious career of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant came to a dramatic close. Before the 60-point finale and the five championships, or all the other immaculate feats he accomplished, he was just a wiry teenager from Philadelphia with a massive chip on his shoulder.
Despite his youthfulness, the future Hall of Famer displayed early on that he was mature beyond his years. As a budding star for perhaps the most storied franchise in history, he had a bright future ahead of him. One that music icon Michael Jackson wanted to make sure a young Bryant saw through.
While speaking at Summit LA17, the former Lakers guard recalled the first conversation he had with Jackson on the phone. The legendary musician urged him not to fall victim to peer pressure along with a few things other things Bryant may have already picked up on:
“Stay the course … don’t fall victim to peer pressure.” Jackson said. “There is strength in isolation, there’s strength in being obsessive about something.”
Jackson’s words indeed carried weight considering he managed to overcome the challenges transforming from a child celebrity to the highest-grossing musician of all time. The ‘King of Pop’ was also well-known for being a perfectionist with his music and live performances.
Safe to say his words struck a chord with Bryant, who displayed that same obsessive mentality throughout his career. Little did he know, Jackson’s advice would also serve him well for life after basketball as well.