Skip to main content

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

Kobe-Bryant-Michael-Jordan

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.

“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

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. 

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal - “I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal -“I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

O'Neal labeled himself as a serial cheater and explained how his foolish actions from earlier in his life ended up being one of the worst decisions he made

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.