Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant crossed paths in the 1998 NBA All-Star game. Jordan was still on top of his game, winning All-Star MVP and then leading the Bulls to the 1998 title. Bryant – spurred by Jordan’s advice – was headed for his own great career.
But at that point, Bryant was best known for air-balling four clutch shots as the Lakers got eliminated by the Jazz in the 1997 playoffs. Bryant returned from that rookie setback gunning shots unlike any teenager to that point – sometimes erratically. After all, he was the player who was later quoted as saying, “I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9.”
Jordan and his 1998 Eastern Conference All-Star teammates discussed Bryant in the locker room, as shown in ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary. Someone off screen said, “I figured after the first four attempted didn’t go in, he was going to chill.”
After his first four attempts? I wouldn’t pass him the f—ing ball. If you want this ball again, brother, you better rebound.