Kobe Bryant idolized Michael Jordan so much that he even patterned his game following what he saw Jordan did on a nightly basis. But as his career progressed, Kobe carved up his own legend and became a man of his own. But in 2008, in what could be Bryant's lowest point of his career, he asked MJ for advice, to which Jordan responded in the most Jordanesque way.
You've got all the tools!
The L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics met in the 2008 NBA Finals. It was the first time that the Celtics' Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce made it all the way, and for The Black Mamba, their star power was just too much. The Lakers lost that series, 4-2. At that time, it seemed the Celtics would be major contenders in the NBA for a long time. They had a good coach, solid bench players, and a three-headed monster. Considering that it could repeat in the following years, Kobe did the unthinkable.
The competitive side of Bryant was evident and as a proud Laker, losing to archrivals left a bitter taste in his mouth. To rinse it off, he called his idol for comfort, but he received more than that. Instead, MJ challenged him to figure things out on his own.
"You got all the tools… You gotta figure it out. There's no other alternative."
Instead of saying he should try again next year or recruiting All-Stars, the 6-time NBA champion challenged the Lakers star to solve the problem and not look for shortcuts or alternatives. And that's what Kobe Bryant did. The Lakers won the title over the Orlando Magic in 2009, and Kobe got his revenge two years later after his side demolished the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Real recognize real
By 2008, Kobe had already won three NBA rings. However, that didn't stop him from asking for advice from his idol. That means he was humble enough to admit he still needed to improve. On the other hand, Mike certainly appreciated Kobe's gesture. The two remained close over the years, with Jordan calling Kobe his "little brother."
MJ and Kobe were two of the most competitive players you'll ever face on the basketball court. But that's just a testament to their hard work to become greater. Pride is nothing if someone wants to achieve the next level. So without MJ giving him a reality check, it would have been a different story for Kobe and the Lakers.