As the two legends have grown closer over the past few years and with Bryant approaching his 18th and final NBA All-Star Game as part of his last season, the Black Mamba is being like Mike once again.
Speaking to Yahoo Sports, the Bryant wants fellow All-Stars on February 14 in Toronto not to treat him like a piece of vintage fine china and instead attack him with all they have.
Well, that's exactly what an aging MJ requested of Bryant during Jordan's final All-Star Game in 2003, when he was 39 to Kobe's 24.
"One thing that Michael said was, ‘Just because it’s my last All-Star Game, I don’t want you to come out there going soft on me,'" Bryant said. "'I want you to play me how you would normally play me.' I was like, 'Mike, what do you know about me that would lead you to tell me that?' We both got a good laugh out of that."
Bryant added: “The thing I remember most was the competition. Those are the things that I will always cherish. Hopefully, they will come out and compete as always this year. Those are the things I will always carry with me. Just true competition.”
That being said, the biggest salute that Bryant's fellow All-Stars can give him is by showing him no mercy on Valentine's Day.
Don't be surprised if whatever venom he has left comes out spewing, either.
After all, you don't get to be a five-time NBA champion without having the ultimate competitive streak, right?
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(Photos from left: Gary Miller/Getty Images, Pierre Suu/Getty Images)
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