The Jordan-Kobe stories are some of the immortal stories in NBA history, former Wizards star Gilbert Arenas recalls one such story at the time.
Besides being two of the best basketball players to ever play, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are arguably the NBA’s toughest mentality players, ever. Kobe grew up idolizing Jordan, even structuring his game around “His Airness.”
Hardly anyone thought that the 13th pick in the 1996 Draft would become the closest thing to MJ in the years to come. But the way he’s played the game since arriving has made it clear to everyone that the Mamba is indeed the next Jordan.
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Upon the arrival of the future 5-time NBA champion, Jordan was already 4-time NBA champion and was on track to win 2 more to complete his total of six. Kobe would chase those numbers for the next 20 years, but eventually run out.
The Lakers superstar completed his 3 rounds to start the 2000s, this was around the time “Flight Mike” was hovering towards the end of his career in a Wizards uniform.
Although Mike secretly admired Kobe, he was still hostile whenever he came face to face with the youngster. There is an incident during a Wizards-Lakers game in the 2002-03 season that gives a glimpse of their two personalities.
Gilbert Arenas says Kobe Bryant is a psychopath when it comes to Jordan
Former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas remembers a story Luke Walton told him. During a regular season game between the Wizards and the Lakers in 2003, Jordan approached Kobe and said: “you can wear the shoes, but you can never fill them. Kobe wore a pair of Jordans, which MJ noted.
âI guess during that time Kobe didn’t say anything to anyone. So for about two weeks, they said, “Kobe was just dumb.” Like he’s not talking to his players, he’s not talking to his teammates, he’s just like in focus mode. It was straightforward as if the training was so intense. The players are like, âYo, is he mad at us? Did we do something to him? ” said the former Wizards point guard.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson then spoke to his players about the feud between his former and current top players in the league, “‘No no no no, Jordan told him, when we played him you could wear the shoes but you can never fill themâ¦’ And this is the game where Kobe had about 55 points. The arenas continued.
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Responding to the fact that Kobe was a ‘psychotic’ when it came to Jordan, ‘Agent 0’ said: “Yeah he is. Everyone at the top is. You don’t get to the top being normal. You don’t get to the top thinking normally.