Michael Jordan was a great mentor to Kobe Bryant and treated the late former Los Angeles Lakers star as a little brother. But that doesn’t mean MJ didn’t have a point to prove to Kobe back in the day.
Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” documentary that aired on ESPN Sunday night began with a focus on the 1998 NBA All-Star Game. Footage in the documentary showed Jordan talking before the game about how Kobe was on a mission to go after everyone.
“That little Laker boy’s gonna take everyone one-on-one. He don’t let the game come to him. He just take it,” said Jordan.
MJ then trash-talked Kobe a bit for ball-hogging.
“After the first four attempts? If I was his teammate, I wouldn’t pass him the f—ing ball! ‘You want this ball again brother, you better rebound!'” Jordan joked about what his message would be to Kobe.
"That little Laker boy's gonna take everybody one-on-one."
— ESPN (@espn) May 4, 2020
Of course, Bryant did earn Jordan’s respect and was able to learn so much from the former Bulls legend. But in 1998, that was only Kobe’s second season in the league. Bryant was just 19 years old, coming off the bench for the Lakers, and playing in his first All-Star Game. He felt he had a lot to prove at the time, and that’s why he went out there with the edgy attitude that helped him develop into a star. It’s also why Kobe got revenge on Michael several years later.