There’s been no doubt that Michael Jordan had the most significant impact on shaping Kobe Bryant‘s illustrious career. Bryant looked up to Jordan as he basketball idol that saw him replicate many of his mannerisms and moves on the court over his 20 years in the league. The former Los Angeles Lakers star was greatly influenced by the fellow Hall of Famer that also saw them develop a strong bond on and off the court with a brotherly relationship. Along the way, Bryant sought Jordan’s advice to help further his career, which one piece of guidance stood out among that truly sent him on his path.
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s relationship
As the years have passed by, it had become quite evident that Bryant and Jordan shared a unique bond.
The two possessed a substantial amount of respect for each other concerning their basketball careers, but it went beyond that as they shared many of the same qualities. The two Hall of Famers had the same unrelenting drive on the court, along with unwithering passion and competitive spirit. In many ways, they were the same with how they approached the game.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jordan may have given Bryant the most impactful advice that shaped his career.
Michael Jordan’s advice to Kobe Bryant
Early in his career, it was quite clear that Bryant wanted to soak up anything and everything possible from Jordan.
That saw Bryant earn his first All-Star selection in his second campaign at age 19 that put him on the court next to his idol in the 1997 All-Star Game. It was during that time that Jordan gave the young Lakers’ rising-star guard his most powerful piece of advice as he detailed in a 2016 interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger.
“Probably the best advice (from Michael Jordan) was to be me. He’s faced a lot of criticism as well about him shooting too much and being selfish. He said don’t change who you are. Play your game and everybody will adjust to that. You have to be yourself.
I kind of gave me the feeling that I was on the right track because those were my thoughts and feelings exactly but there are times where you second guess yourself. Like ‘maybe I need to change my game and be more of a pass-first type of a player. More of a Magic (Johnson) type of a player and this that and the other.’ Then you kind of start thinking through things a little bit and for hi to say that then it’s like ‘yeah, you’re doing the right thing. You got it right.'”
Those words of advice coming from Jordan directly only further cemented his thought process. The fact that this same mindset was one that was shared with the Hall of Famer gave him the affirmation that he was on the right path.
Bryant already possessed the drive and passion for the game, and to get that advice from Jordan help push him forward and greatly impacted his career.
Kobe Bryant and Michael’s unbreakable connection
Following that advice, Bryant put together an incredible career that spanned over two decades in the league that saw him break numerous records along the way and win five NBA titles.
Bryant may not be held in nearly the same regard as Jordan, but he had many of the same qualities that the former Chicago Bulls great demonstrated on the court. The brotherly relationship between them only helped him find more success on the court and garner a stronger commitment to his craft.
There was simply a special connection between them that far exceeded any basketball court.