During his playing career, Kobe Bryant hit many big shots and put his team in positions to win numerous games. Bryant left a legacy that no one will forget. He was a competitor and left it all on the court every time he played.
Bryant was the type of teammate that would get the best out of you at all cost. There was a time when Bryant had to call his good friend Michael Jordan after what he did to a teammate during practice.
Kobe Bryant was a fearless competitor
Bryant quickly developed that killer instinct as a basketball player. He always wanted to play in the big games, and he wanted the ball in his hands when the games were close, and time was running down. But Bryant had to quickly realize that if he wanted to be the best, he would have to train better than everyone else in the league.
During the 1998 Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Utah Jazz. Late in the game, Bryant, a rookie, had a chance to hit some big shots, but he air-balled four times in five minutes. After that game, Bryant was in the gym, getting shots up. That’s the mentality he had. He did settle to be average. Whenever he failed, he did what he had to do to make sure he would come back even better.
As a competitor, Bryant never walked away from the big moments. He would guard the opposing team’s top player, and when his number was called, he got the job done. After his first two NBA seasons, he made his way to the Lakers’ starting lineup and would become a top player on the team. In his fourth NBA season, he would win his first NBA championship and went on to win the next two titles with the Lakers as they became the first team since the Chicago Bulls to win three straight titles.
Kobe Bryant’s relationship with Michael Jordan
As Jordan was nearing the end of his career, Bryant was starting to make himself known as a dominant player. Bryant studied Jordan a lot and implemented a lot of Jordan’s moves to his game. One thing about Bryant was that he was a student of the game. He enjoyed studying game film and watching the NBA greats that came before him.
If you watch Bryant and Jordan’s highlights, you will see the similarities between the two players and how they both dominated during their time in the league. The two developed a special relationship throughout the years, and Bryant looked at Jordan like his big brother. When Bryant passed away, Jordan said that “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.” There is a reason why Bryant and Jordan are two of the best in the game. They both loved and enjoyed the game of basketball and always put in the work.
Bryant called Jordan after he made Sasha Vujacic cry in practice
Bryant could reach out to Jordan anytime, no matter what it was about. That’s how close their relationship was. During the 2004-05 season, the Lakers were running a practice, and Bryant elbowed Vujacic and made him cry.
After Bryant did that, he called Jordan and wanted to know if he had gone too far. Bryant didn’t care if his teammates liked him or not, but one thing they did was respect him. Jordan spoke with ESPN’s Jack MacMullan regarding his conversation with Bryant. Jordan said, “Sometimes, your teammates are going to hate you.” Both players wanted their teammates to perform at a high level to win championships. Vujacic won two NBA titles with Bryant and the Lakers. Playing with players like Jordan and Bryant brought out the best in you.