Michael Jordan has been, is and is going to be considered as the greatest basketball player of all time, and with a good reason. But trough years there have been several players labeled as the next “MJ” or players trying to emulate his game.
If there is one that bears the honor of comparing him to Jordan, it is definitely Kobe Bryant. That’s why the last game they ever played against each other was a special moment for both players.
Back in 2003 a 40-year old Wizards Michael Jordan was playing his final game against the Lakers led by a young 24-year old Kobe Bryant. Between the first two quarters, a video tribute to “MJ” was shown, as it seemed to inspire both of them.
Jordan scored 23 points, of which 17 came in the first half, as he gave the LA crowd one last glimpse of greatness. But Kobe wouldn’t let him have the shine in his city as he scored 42 points in just the first half. He would go on to finish with 55 points.
“He was hot. We tried to keep him on the perimeter; we went out on him, and he was still hot. He kept them in the game in the first half,” said Jordan after the game.
Even Phil Jackson who had seen his share of greatness from both players first hand was impressed with the display Kobe put on:
“That was an incredible demonstration,” Jackson said.“It came to a point where there was that curiosity factor: Was he going to hit 80? I’m sure it went through his head.”
This game was symbolic for a so-called “passing of the torch” from Jordan to Kobe, as one fan in the crowd was holding a sign that said, “Goodbye Michael, Hello Kobe” that just perfectly described the story of that night.