There has never been any question that Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant patterned much of his game on that of Michael Jordan.
The turnaround jumper, the swagger, the footwork, even some of Bryant’s mannerisms were all lifted from the player many consider to be the greatest of all time. While some thought that Bryant was determined to be better than Jordan to claim the throne for himself, we have only recently learned about how close the two really were.
Bryant admiring Jordan was nothing new, but it wasn’t Jordan speech at Bryant’s memorial that we found out about the 2 am text messages or all of the times that Bryant sought Jordan’s advice in order to take his game to the next level.
Jordan characterized the dynamic between the two as a big brother-little brother relationship, making it clear how much respect he had for Bryant’s fire and drive to become the best basketball player that he could be.
“The Last Dance”, which chronicles Jordan’s final season in the NBA, has shed more light on things as Bryant is seen in an interview crediting Jordan for the five championships that he won as a Laker.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne’s piece goes even further, spotlighting how Jordan’s advice was able to help guide Bryant during key points of his career, from his early days all the way to the struggle to transition to his post-NBA life.
While Bryant’s passing is never far from mind, it’s been a pleasant surprise to finally learn just how integral Jordan was in his life both on and off the court.