Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant passed away on Sunday after being involved in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. The 41-year-old, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, were killed in the tragic accident. While the entire sports community mourns the death of the basketball legend, we look back at a time when Kobe Bryant shared what it was like facing Michael Jordan for the first time.
Back in 2016, Kobe Bryant spoke to a leading media publication in the US. He admitted that he was schooled by Michael Jordan the first time the duo faced each other. 18-year-old Kobe Bryant recalled his first game against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on December 17, 1996.
Kobe Bryant, who had played only 18 games in the NBA when he first faced Michael Jordan, revealed that he wanted to 'destroy' Jordan on the court. Despite it being his rookie season, Bryant admitted that it was important for him to prove himself in front of the NBA great. However, Kobe Bryant managed to last only 10 minutes in that game and scored 5 points. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan dropped 30 points in a 129-123 victory for Chicago.
Kobe Bryant further shared a story from the game where Michael Jordan embarrassed Bryant with his signature 'pirouette spin' at the baseline. Bryant admitted that getting schooled for a baseline dunk by Michael Jordan was the coolest thing from their first match-up.
Kobe passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list in Minnesota.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 28, 2020
Tonight, the Timberwolves honored him by placing the ball on the spot where he made history. pic.twitter.com/79Ozz00sXd
Michael Jordan, 56, is a six-time NBA Champion with Chicago Bulls. Jordan and Bryant have been repeatedly compared with fans debating the greatness of each other. The duo, however, shared the utmost respect off the court and Kobe's tragic death has been acknowledged by Michael Jordan in a heartfelt statement.
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/oI7w6e7HLI— Estee Portnoy (@esteep) January 26, 2020