This Day In Lakers History (3/28/03): Michael Jordan Passes Torch To Kobe Bryant In Final Matchup
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Robert Laberge-Getty Images

On March 28, 2003, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant scored 55 points in what was ultimately a passing of the torch game against Michael Jordan.

With a 39-year-old Jordan retiring and a 24-year-old Bryant looking to win his fourth championship, the student honored him the only way he knew how to.

In one of the best games to begin his career, Bryant was efficient, shooting 15-of-29 from the field, 9-of-13 from the three-point line, and 16-of-18 from the free-throw line en route to a 108-94 win over the Washington Wizards.

42 of Bryant’s 55 points also came in the first half.

Basketball Reference

While all of the attention was naturally on Bryant and Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal recorded 26 points and 13 rebounds while Derek Fisher added 11 points.

As for the Wizards, Jordan came to play as well as he recorded a team-high 23 points (10-of-20 from the field) while Jerry Stackhouse had 22 points.

With Bryant having a winning head-to-head record against Jordan (5-3) now, the former averaged 22.8 points while the latter averaged 24.5 points.

Although the media comparisons could have divided Bryant and Jordan, there was mutual respect and they even developed a brother-like relationship.

Lakers (42-30)

Wizards (34-48)

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