In an excellent interview for the Legends of Sports podcast, former NBA player B.J. Armstrong shared his story when he attended a dinner where both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were present. Armstrong was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hear some pretty interesting conversation between the two legends that was, for the most part, focused on basketball and specific details about the game.
Armstrong played for the Chicago Bulls during their first three-peat as the starting point guard, in which he built a relationship with Jordan with whom he went to dinner back in 2014. He wasn’t aware Jordan invited Bryant as well, so Armstrong was surprised when he saw he is sitting together with two absolute legends at the same table.
Michael was like, “Someone else is going to meet us here [for dinner].” I was like, “Oh, okay.” I didn’t even think to ask who’s coming and lo and behold, you know, Mr. Bryant, the late Kobe Bryant shows up and it was great.BJ Armstrong, via Legends of Sports
After a few minutes, Armstrong noticed there was a lot of respect between Bryant and Jordan. Throughout the years, they built a bond together and an older/younger brother relationship. The competitive spirit was also present in their conversation, which is something they are both well known for around the NBA.
It was great because you saw the respect that they both had for one another, but they couldn’t help but turn on the competitive spirit. I didn’t say a word. I just sat there and watched, where they were just saying how the game would be played if they caught the ball [in a certain spot]. “Well, if I catch the ball in the left wing with the live dribble, how would you defend me?”BJ Armstrong, via Legends of Sports
Kobe Bryant was a real nerd when it came to basketball, and it was known he would frequently ask older players for guidance or opinion on how to do certain things on the floor. During that dinner, Armstrong witnessed the same thing when talking about some pretty unorthodox things related to basketball people usually never mention.
And the detail that they were going over with these abstract ideas, that’s what really caught my attention. Okay, well, how you going to catch the ball? Like, who asks those questions? What’s your pivot foot? What’s the score of the game? How would you defend me if I had it here?BJ Armstrong, via Legends of Sports
That type of obsession and ability to talk about a particular basketball matter is fascinating but, at the same time, not so surprising. Both Jordan and Bryant were obsessive winners willing to study the game from every angle if they knew it would give them an advantage against other players and teams. Armstrong was fortunate enough to have that dinner with Jordan and Bryant because those memories and stories are indeed one of a kind.