Mickael Pietrus has long admired Kobe Bryant as a basketball player, but when the two met on opposite sides of the 2009 NBA Finals, the French striker knew he had to devise a plan to stop the Black Mamba at all. price.
Playing with Michael Jordan’s shoes
In the regular season, Mickael used Nike Hyperdunk sneakers that Bryant endorsed. But the Endgames were a different beast, and Pietrus knew he had to do something he’d never done before to achieve something he hadn’t done before: limit Kobe’s production. So he decided to swap his Nike Hyperdunk for Jordan sneakers.
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“I have [Kobe shoes] home, but I’m going to play in Michael Jordan shoes.”
The LA Lakers legend has averaged 32.4 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds in five games this series. So it’s safe to say that Pietru’s plan didn’t go as he had hoped. However, despite Kobe tearing down the Orlando Magic, Mickael only had good things to say to his nemesis on the court. The Black Mamba presented Pietrus’ son with autographed game-worn sneakers after their game in January 2009.
Why Kobe was very strict with his shoes
If you want to wear Kobe Bryant‘s shoes, you have to match his intensity on the court. Otherwise, he treated it as a form of disrespect. Kobe reportedly got angry at DeMar DeRozan for wearing Jordan sneakers in their game. The two shared a close bond, and DeRozan had been rocking Kobe’s shoes ever since.
When Pietrus wore Jordans against the Lakers, it might have ignited Kobe’s competitive spirit. Seeing his defender pick his idol’s sneakers against him probably changed Bryant’s kill mode. But off the field, the Black Mamba was a genuine person who reached out to fans and showed their appreciation. Bryant may have beaten the hell out of Mickael Pietrus in this series of finals, but at least he shared a special moment with his son. In the end, it mattered more to Pietrus as a loving father.