Even hardcore basketball fans forget that the Charlotte Hornets — and not the Los Angeles Lakers — selected Kobe Bryant straight out of Lower Merion High School with the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft before trading him to the purple and gold.
Well, Michael Jordan reminded everyone of that fact Monday night, recording a special video tribute for the Black Mamba, wishing him well in this his final season and last game in Charlotte. It's only right, considering that Bryant grew up idolizing MJ and was compared to Jordan throughout his 20-year career.
“I just want to congratulate you on an unbelievable career,” Jordan began saying in the video, well before the Hornets blasted the Lakers and held Bryant to 20 points on 5-of-20 shooting. “When I look back at the first time we actually played against each other, the competitive drive that I saw within your eyes, even though the knowledge wasn’t quite there yet, it was very invigorating.”
“Most people don’t realize you were drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, so that connects us with you. I’ve always been like a big brother and you like a little brother, we communicate all the time," he continued. "You’ve been a big help to the game of basketball. You’ve helped the NBA. You’ve helped promote it. I’m pretty sure you’ve got a lot of fans all over the world. I am a big fan, I still love watching you play. I’m very, very happy for you and what you’ve accomplished within the game.”
From the GOAT to his Air apparent — nice video tribute and send off.
Still, though, Jordan got six rings to Bryant's five, so he could always jab little bro about that for years to come.
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photo from left: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)