Kobe Bryant Raves Over 'Big Brother' Michael Jordan in Emotional 'The Last Dance' Episode
By Zach Seemayer
The Last Dance has been getting rave reviews, but Sunday's latest episode gave viewers chills with an appearance from the late Kobe Bryant.
Before his tragic death in a helicopter crash back in January, Bryant sat down with the filmmakers behind the ESPN documentary series -- which follows Michael Jordan's last season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98 -- and the NBA legend reflected on the impact Jordan had on his own career.
"I grew up watching Michael on TV, and now you got a chance to go face-to-face with him. You get a chance to really see and, like, touch and feel his strength, speed, quickness," Bryant recalled of his first face-off on the court against the icon. "It was fun to be out there."
In footage from the 1998 NBA All-Star game at New York’s Madison Square Garden -- the only All-Star game in which Bryant and Jordan would ever go head-to-head -- Jordan jokes about Bryant's aggressive game play style with his teammates in the locker room before the game.
Jordan went on to outscore the 19-year-old Bryant and was named MVP, but the pair shared a surprisingly nice moment on the court after the game when Jordan embraced Bryant and said, "I'll see you down the road."
Looking back at that time in his career, a since-retired Bryant told the documentary cameras, "It was a rough couple years for me coming into the league, because, at the time, the league was so much older. It's not as young as it is today, so nobody was really thinking much of me."
"I was, you know, a kid that shot a bunch of air balls. You know what I mean? And at that point, Michael provided a lot of guidance for me," he continued. "Like, I had a question about shooting this turnaround shot, so I asked him about it, and, you know, he gave me a great detailed answer. But on top of that, he said, 'If you ever need anything, give me a call.' He's like my big brother."
Bryant went on to explain that he hates when people try to speculate on who would win between Bryant and Jordan in a one-on-one game, or when fans tell him he'd defeat Jordan.
"I feel like, 'Yo, 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," Bryant shared.
The episode -- which began with a simple title card tribute to the Lakers legend, which read, "In loving memory of Kobe Bryant" -- was very emotional for Bryant's fans, friends and former teammates, many of whom had a hard time watching the footage, which stirred up a lot of feelings for those still reeling from his untimely death.