Skip to main content

Kobe Bryant on his first game against Michael Jordan: "I was 18 and I was like 'Oh sh*t, that was pretty f**king cool.'"

Kobe Bryant & Michael Jordan

At 18, Kobe got to play against his idol in an NBA game

A lot of players grew up wanting to be like Mike. Many talked about it, but only Kobe came close. Tracy McGrady talked about watching NBA clips with Kobe, and he would stop the recording every time Jordan was on, analyzing his moves and decision-making. Kobe wanted to know everything there is to know about Jordan. There wasn't a move in Jordan's arsenal that Kobe didn't learn to do. That's why MJ said only Kobe would beat him 1-on-1.

Going up against his idol

“I don’t think I would lose — other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves.”

Michael Jordan

So phase 1 is watching it and figuring it out. Phase 2, you go to an empty gym and recreate the moves. Phase 3, you do it in a game. Kobe had all that down before he came to the NBA. That's why his draft workouts are so legendary. A 17-year-old kid played against grown men and dominated. 

But if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. That brings us to Phase 4 - do it playing against MJ. At 18, Kobe got to play against his idol in an NBA game. Before we get to the actual game, think about that for a moment. He wasn't allowed to drink or drive, and he was already at the top of his field, measuring up against the best that ever was - at 18!!!

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Learning from Jordan

So, Kobe is guarding MJ. All the film he watched in Phase 1 let Kobe know that when MJ gets a screen in the corner, he pirouettes around the screen, and Kobe decided that wasn't going to happen. Jordan gave him a fake to make it seem he was going over, and in an instant, he pirouettes around him and dunked.

“That moterf***er spun so fast baseline, I had no idea what happened. He was dunking the ball before I knew what the hell happened. I was 18 and I was like 'Oh sh*t, that was pretty f**king cool.'”

Kobe Bryant

Even Kobe Bean Bryant turned into a fan for a moment. He had a front-row seat to Michael Jordan dunking, and Kobe loved it. That was his idol pulling a move he was sure he would be able to stop, and Mj still did what he wanted. But, it didn't take long for Kobe to switch back into killer mode.

“Then running back down the court, he [Jordan] was like 'A lot faster in person, isn't it?' I had to snap back to reality with a 'Fu** you'”

Kobe Bryant

But, Kobe had something different that others did not. He asked MJ about that move and other moves. He was curious to learn and eager to listen. That's when MJ knew this kid could be the one. 

kareem-bynum-bill-russell-min

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tried mentoring Andrew Bynum by showing him Bill Russell's defensive highlights

Bynum would start to get it, but he wasn't too interested in playing defense, in Kareem's words.

Allen Iverson wearing the iconic 76ers black jersey that the organisation might bring back

Philadelphia 76ers may bring back the black jerseys Allen Iverson made famous

The Philadelphia 76ers’ most popular jerseys in franchise history are arguably the black-themed ones that many associate with no other than Allen Iverson.

Draymond Green explains why the Warriors will win three out of four next championships

Draymond Green believes that the Golden State Warriors will win three of the next four championships

Draymond Green may be confident the Warriors can win more titles but he's also setting the bar extremely high for the organization for the next few years

Kobe Bryant on the first time he went up against Manu Ginobili

"Who's this white boy?" — Kobe Bryant on his first meeting with a San Antonio Spurs legend

Kobe Bryant believes the NBA had to adjust to this legend's unique and unorthodox playstyle.

Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird and Providence Friars head coach Rick Pitino

"I needed an offensive gimmick" — Larry Bird names the real 3-point shot instigator before Stephen Curry

Nowadays, when people knock down a 3-point shot they yell "Steph Curry." Back in the day, people blurted out "Pitino Bombino."

John Wall on why he cares more about his legacy than championship

John Wall on why he cares more about his legacy than championship: "Winning a ring is not everything"

At one point, with superteams already stacked with multiple stars, some believed that the Wizards should also do the same if they want to win a championship. But not Wal

Talk with Joe Dumars, Adam Silver makes Draymond Green realize the mistake of calling Kendrick Perkins coon

Talk with Joe Dumars, Adam Silver makes Draymond Green realize the mistake of calling Kendrick Perkins coon

New Media members should take note of things that shouldn't be said. Draymond Green realized his mistake and held himself accountable after discussing it with Joe Dumars and Adam Silver.

Draymond Green names the only two Western Conference teams who are legitimate threats

Draymond Green names the only two Western Conference teams who are legitimate threats

Draymond Green breaks down why these two Western Conference teams are threats to their back-to-back championship hopes.