Kobe Bryant’s highly anticipated sit-down interview as a part of The Last Dance aired on Sunday night. Here are some of the key quotes from Bryant
Kobe Bryant’s passing in early 2020 shook the NBA community to its core. Based on the outpouring of grief from everyone — the common fan to the legends of the game — it was easy to see how much of an icon Bryant was.
It’s only right that the fifth episode of The Last Dance, which aired on Sunday, aired in memory of him. The episode featured quotes from and about Bryant, starting with Bryant’s first appearance in an All-Star game, which just so happened to coincide with Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls.
Notable quotes came all throughout the episode from Kobe, an episode fans knew to expect and be prepared for based on ads for the show.
Let’s look at some of the best.
Kobe Bryant on guarding Michael Jordan
“I grew up watching Michael on TV, and now you’ve got a chance to go face-to-face with him. You get a chance to really see, by touch and feel, the strength, speed, quickness and it was fun to be out there”
Even in his final season (ignoring the existence of him ever playing for the Washington Wizards, sorry), Jordan was still a freak of nature.
Kobe Bryant on Michael Jordan as his mentor
“It was a rough couple years for me coming into the league, ‘cause at the time the league was so much older, it’s not as young as it is today. So nobody was really thinking much of me, I was a kid that shot a bunch of air balls, you know what I mean? And at that point, Michael provided a lot of guidance for me. Like I had a question about shooting this turnaround shot, so I asked him about it. He gave me a great, detailed answer but on top of that, he said, ‘If you ever need anything, give me a call.’ That’s like my big brother.
Jordan, over the years, became a mentor for Bryant, something that Phil Jackson helped to facilitate. In a chilling moment, at his public celebration of life, Jordan eulogized Bryant at the STAPLES Center, painting a picture of the little brother Bryant grew to be.
Jordan’s career wrapping up just as Bryant was taking over as the star of the league was perfect for the NBA, and Jordan being willing to offer insight as to how to be the best is an incredible storyline for the game.
Kobe Bryant on him or Jordan in one-on-one
I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one. You heard fans saying, ‘Hey Kobe, you’d beat Michael one-on-one’ and I feel like, yo, what you get from me is from him. I don’t get five championships here without him. ‘Cause he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.”
This perspective is one that Bryant had to grow into over the years, as one of the first things Bryant said to Jordan after he retired when they met was that he’d kick Jordan’s, well, you know what in a one-on-one matchup.
Bryant’s appearance in episode 5 was heavy for NBA fans everywhere. His sudden death still sits heavy on the hearts of fans who were shocked by his death.
May Kobe Bryant rest in peace.