Kobe Bryant Once Challenged Michael Jordan to Game of 1-on-1 and Said He’d Kick His A–

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

Ever since the passing of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, incredible stories about the man and the player have come to light.

One such story came from famed Chicago writer Sam Smith, who recently did an AMA on Reddit. Smith’s story was about how Bryant once challenged a retired Jordan to a game of basketball.

“One of my favorite stories ever, which was more about Kobe, which was MJ (Michael Jordan) and Kobe weren’t close, and Phil Jackson (coaching the Lakers) invited Michael to meet Kobe and talk to him a little bit,” Smith wrote. “They arranged for a suite at the arena. Michael was there with Phil and Jerry West – this was after he retired from the [Washington] Wizards so it’d be about 2005, maybe. Kobe walks in and challenges Michael to a game and tells him to put on a uniform and go down to the court and that he would kick his a–. Michael of course was out of shape and not at his playing weight, sitting smoking a cigar despite the no-smoking rule in the arena. And of course, Michael was ready to go. They didn’t wind up playing, but the fire flared up.

“They shared a competitiveness that’s been unseen by anybody else in the last 15 years.”

There’s no doubt that Jordan and Bryant are two of the greatest NBA players of all time. Jordan won six total titles in his career, and Bryant won five.

Beyond that, it was their approach to the game and dogged competitiveness that have seemed to have the biggest impact on the game.

Shortly after Bryant’s untimely death, a memorial was held in Bryant’s honor at Staples Center.

Jordan was one of the speakers, and he had one of the most emotional and heartfelt eulogies of the event. Through his words, it was clear that Bryant and Jordan not only shared a mutual respect, but a meaningful friendship as well.

Surely, Jordan will think back to the day that a young Bryant challenged him to a game of basketball for many years to come.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.