Jordan spoke with ESPN’s Jackie McMullan where he revealed the two former NBA superstars’ final exchange. Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a tragic helicopter accident in January 2020. The month before, Jordan and Bryant connected in the weeks leading up to the holidays in a series of texts.
“This tequila is awesome,” Bryant said of Jordan’s tequila brand Cincoro, according to the ESPN interview. Following Jordan’s words of appreciation for Bryant’s tequila critique, the pair spoke about their families.
“Yes, sir. Family good?” Bryant asked Jordan in the December text.
“All good. Yours?” Jordan replied.
“All good,” Bryant concurred.
In addition, Jordan referenced Bryant’s budding coaching career. The 5-time NBA champion started coaching his 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s basketball team after retirement.
“Happy holidays,” Jordan wrote while adding a laughing emoji, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”
“Ah, back at you, man. Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8,” Bryant amusingly responded.
Jordan and Bryant’s text exchange offers a rare glimpse into the two close friends and ultimate competitors’ relationship. Just from Kobe’s response, you can tell he and his daughter’s team were taking no prisoners that day. The Black Mamba was just as competitive as ever even from the sidelines. Although Gianna’s team was winning by 37 points at the time, why do we think Bryant still wasn’t satisfied with their performance?
Michael Jordan To Induct Kobe Bryant Into Hall of Fame
In just a few days on May 15, Air Jordan himself will help induct Bryant into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, requested that Jordan present the posthumous honor.
“I told her, ‘Look, I know this is a tough time. I’m always here if you need me,'” Jordan explained to ESPN. “She answered back, ‘I would love it if you stood up for Kobe at the Hall of Fame.'”
“It’s going to be a great honor, to be honest. It’s like standing up for a family member,” he continued. “[Bryant] paid me the highest respect by trying to emulate certain things I did. And I can only repay that by showing my support and admiration for a guy who I felt was one of the greatest to ever play the game.”
Jordan is part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2009 and is arguably the greatest NBA player of all time. While many NBA stars have been compared to Jordan, there may not be a better comparison than Kobe Bryant.
The 6’6″ shooting guard shared a similar build, played the same position, and even patterned his own game on Jordan’s. Bryant’s intensity on the court and unmatched will to win mirrored that of No. 23 himself. His five NBA championships are only one short of Jordan’s six.
Jordan and Bryant shared a close relationship through the years, which was evident after Bryant’s tragic death in February 2020. The longtime Chicago Bulls player also spoke at Bryant’s memorial service where he called the L.A. Lakers legend a “little brother.”
“Kobe was my dear friend; he was like a little brother,” Jordan said during the emotional eulogy. “When Kobe died, a little piece of me died. …This kid had passion like you would never know. As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”