Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan was not in attendance for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s final game in Charlotte, but he more than made up for his absence with a 90-second video congratulating Bryant on his iconic career:
From one legend to another.Michael Jordan's message to Kobe Bryant on how he influenced the game.
“I just want to congratulate you on an unbelievable career. When I look back at the first time we actually played each other, and the competitive drive that I saw within your eyes — even though the knowledge wasn’t quite there yet — it’s very invigorating. 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. 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. 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. From a competitive standpoint, I’m pretty sure you’re just like me, so 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 helped the NBA. You helped promote it. I’m pretty sure you’ve got a lot of fans all over the world. I’m a big fan. I still love watching you play. I’m very, very happy for you and what you’ve accomplished within the game. I look forward to seeing what you do next. If you ever need me, you know my number. Let’s stay in touch. I wish you the best. 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. I look forward to seeing what you do after this.”
A joyous Bryant had his eyes glued to the video, as captured by Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
As MJ pointed out in his congratulatory video, the Hornets were indeed the team that drafted Bryant, later trading him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac in what could’ve been the biggest mistake in NBA history.
But after winning five championships, enduring one of the best careers of all-time and becoming the only NBA player to play 20 years with one franchise — and not just any team, but the team he grew up rooting for — we’re sure there’s no hard feelings on Bryant’s end.
As for that Jordan-Bryant relationship, we have to point out that Kobe’s Lakers got the better of Jordan five out of the eight times the two played against each other. Four of those contests came when Jordan was on the Bulls, with each team winning twice. The Lakers were 3-1 against the Wizards during Jordan’s time in Washington. Bryant averaged 22.8 points per game to Jordan’s 24.5 in those contests.