Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had a friendship that has not been extensively written about, but the fifth episode of the series ‘The Last Dance’ deals with how deep it was. The show that chronicles Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, reflects on the friendship between the two NBA superstars right from the start, when ‘In Loving memory of Kobe Bryant’ appears on screen.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, in January.
The episode features Bryant and Jordan at the 1998 All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden.
“I grew up watching Michael on TV and now you got a chance to go face-to-face with him, you get a chance to really see and like touch and feel – strength, speed, quickness and it was fun to be out there,” Bryant tells the interviewer.
Speaking about how their friendship began, Bryant said, “I had a question about shooting his turnaround shot so I asked him about it, and he gave me great detailed answer, but on top of that, he said, if you ever need anything, give me a call. Like my big brother.”
— Jumpman History (@HistoryJumpman) May 3, 2020
“I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one, and your fans saying, ‘Hey Kobe, you’d beat Michael one-on-one.’ I feel like, ‘Yo, what you get from me is from him.’ I don’t get five championships here (with the Lakers) without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice,” Bryant said in the episode.
After Bryant’s death, Jordan spoke at his tribute in February, where he said that he didn’t see the Lakers star as his rival for the mythical honour of being recognised as the best basketball player ever. Instead, the Bulls legend said he came to love Bryant as the little brother he never had, and as a student eager to learn from Jordan’s experiences and skills.
— Kobe Bryant Mural Locations (@kobemurals) May 5, 2020
Breaking into tears during the speech, Jordan said, “He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”
A camera crew followed Kobe Bryant in his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015-16, filming him and teammates in locker rooms on the road and at home, in the training room, at practice and on the team plane, according to ESPN. It has prompted speculation there could be a documentary series on the Lakers legend in the offing.