Watch: Michael Jordan Honors Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan had a special video message for Kobe Bryant on Monday night. The message was broadcasted at the Time Warner Cable Arena ahead of the Charlotte Hornets hosting the Los Angeles Lakers, a match which marked Bryant’s final visit to Jordan’s hometown.Advertisement
Ever since the Bryant farewell tour started, teams have been bidding goodbye to the Laker icon courtesy of video highlights from his illustrious career. However, the Hornets showed a 1 minute, 40-second video message from chairman Jordan – to whom Bryant has drawn lifelong comparisons. (Watch Full Tribute Above)
“Kobe, MJ (here). I’m sorry I couldn’t be there tonight,” Jordan began in his near two-minute-long message for Bryant. “I just want to congratulate you on an unbelievable career. I think when I look back and the first time we actually played against each other, and the competitive drive that I saw within your eyes…is very invigorating. And I’m very happy to leave you this message to say how much we are very proud of what you’ve accomplished over the years.”
Michael Jordan: You are like a little brother
In 1996, Bryant was drafted 13th overall by Charlotte Hornets before he was drafted to the Los Angeles Lakers. Jordan did highlight the most monumental trade in NBA history. “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 to you (and you’re) like a little brother. We communicate all the time. I just want to say congratulations. Your next step in your next career is going to be something that I’m pretty sure you’re going to have to figure out,” Jordan said in a heartfelt homage to Bryant.
Ever since Bryant first arrived on the scene in 1996, subtle comparisons were made to Jordan. Bryant’s trademark fadeaway jump shot, the hanging tongue and even the athletic flight to the rim, were all right out of Jordan’s playbook. “From a competitive standpoint, I’m pretty sure you’re just like me. You’re going to have to find other ways to utilize that competitive drive. But I want to congratulate you and Vanessa and the girls. 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. “
Jordan revealed that regardless of Bryant’s fall from grace, he still enjoys watching the Laker legend lace it up. Bryant is averaging 17.2 points, 3.4 assists and 4 rebounds from 27 games this season. Bryant’s PER of 13.74 is the lowest since his rookie season. “I am (still) a big fan. I still love watching you play. I’m very, very happy for you and what you’ve accomplished within the game. And I look forward to seeing what you do next.”
Kobe Bryant’s future plans?
While Michael Jordan branched out to ownership roles (Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets) since his retirement, it’s still unclear what the future holds for Bryant. Several of Bryant’s close friends revealed his intention to embark on the art of storytelling. Regardless of what Bryant pursues, he has Jordan’s blessing. “If you ever need me, you know my number. Let’s stay in touch. I wish you the best and have a great game tonight – not too good of a game. But I want you to stay healthy. As I said a couple weeks ago, this is your last year. Just have fun. Take it a day at a time. Enjoy it. And I look forward to seeing what you do after this. Take care. Good luck.”
Michael Jordan couldn’t be there in person but the Charlotte Hornets organization honored Kobe Bryant with a memorable pre-game tribute.