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)

You May Also Like

Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis & More On Top 10 Lakers Game Winners Of All Time

With 2.1 seconds in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo inbounds the ball…

This Day In Lakers History: Byron Scott’s 32 Points, Magic Johnson Triple-Double Navigate Blowout Over Jazz

On Dec. 2, 1988, the 10-3 Los Angeles Lakers prepared for a clash against the Utah Jazz. Coming off of back-to-back…

This Day In Lakers History: Longest Winning Streak In Professional Sports Falls

The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers are widely believed to be one of the greatest teams of all-time. Even with Elgin Baylor…

This Day In Lakers History: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol Deliver Franchise’s 16th Championship With Game 7 Win Over Celtics In 2010 NBA Finals

The 2010 NBA playoffs were one of multiple years where the NBA world was ready to see Kobe Bryant face LeBron James…