June 1, 2023

It’s no secret Kobe Bryant idolized Michael Jordan, using him as his greatest source of motivation. The respect and admiration between the two all-time greats became a firm fixture over the years. It also spawned tremendous trash talk between the two that led Bryant to develop zero fear toward Jordan’s banter.
Kobe Bryant used Michael Jordan to lift himself to greatness

Bryant entered the NBA as a promising high school talent that quickly ascended to stardom.

Behind his commitment to his craft and tremendous work ethic, the conversation quickly shifted toward comparisons to his idol. Bryant mirrored many of Jordan’s mannerisms and moves on the court that further fueled the connections to the former Chicago Bulls great.

Although the competition between the two was short-lived because their playing days did not line up, the respect between them quickly fostered and grew tremendously as the years passed. Bryant never liked the comparisons to Jordan, but he embraced the challenge of wanting to become recognized as the GOAT over him.

It drove Bryant to pull the most out of himself as Jordan served as the gold standard to push him to greatness.

“He’s like my big brother. I truly hate having discussions about who would win 1-on-1. You hear fans saying ‘hey Kobe, you would be Michael 1-on-1.,” Bryant said in ESPN‘s Last Dance documentary. “What you get from me is from him. I don’t get five championships here without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.”

At the same time, the Lakers star also never backed down from any discussion involving Jordan.
Kobe Bryant nonchalantly waved off Michael Jordan’s trash talk with a profane response: ‘I’m not really tripping’

Much like Jordan, Bryant never backed down from a challenge and embraced the obstacles that came with it.

One of those instances occurred in 2012 after the conversation stirred up around the hypothetical matchup between the 2012 USA Basketball Team and the 1992 Dream Team. The discussion rifted back-and-forth, with many players from both sides weighing in the dialogue.

Bryant chimed in, voicing that it would be a tough game between them, but his squad would win. It didn’t take long for Jordan to respond as he told the Associated Press that he “absolutely laughed” at the Lakers star’s remarks while airing that there is “no comparison” between the two teams.

After the former Bulls great’s stern message, Bryant fired back with a cold-blooded response, voicing that Jordan knows the player he is.

“So what? He knows I’m a bad mother[expletive],” Bryant said via CBS Sports. “I’m not really tripping.”

The five-time NBA champion never lacked confidence but noted that the Team held a size advantage over the 2012 roster. The squad featured Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, and Anthony Davis but lost Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin due to injury.

It’s an endless debate that both sides will always feel their team was the best. Ultimately, neither Bryant nor Jordan was going to budge toward their side getting the short end of the stick.
NBA legacies forever intertwined

Beyond the banter, Bryant and Michael Jordan Rug share intertwined legacies.

The latter served as the former’s most significant motivating factor, but it also created an everlasting bond that only lifted the game of basketball. Like Jordan, Bryant became the gold standard of his era, inspiring the generations of NBA talent that followed.

The league and sport only benefitted from the greatness that the two displayed that forever changed the game.

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