Throughout their respective illustrious careers, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan played with an unrelenting level of confidence in their ability on the court. It was a significant part of what fueled them to get the most out of their talent to be recognized among the greatest players to play the game. Jordan has sat in the conversation as being the best player of all-time, but Bryant has often been brought into the discussion for what he accomplished over his 20-year career. Nonetheless, the two shared a great deal of passion and competitive nature for their craft. However, that didn’t translate for Bryant in one regard off the basketball court when Jordan invited once to play golf.
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan’s connection
Over the years, Bryant and Jordan developed a strong relationship on and off the court. The former had developed a great deal of respect for the Chicago Bulls great growing up.
Bryant patterned much of his game after Jordan that included many of his mannerisms and shot selections. There was a healthy mutual respect between the two that developed over the last couple of decades. Jordan had a strong admiration for Bryant’s work ethic and personal drive that reminded him of much of his passion for the game.
That led to their friendship becoming more of a brotherly relationship before Bryant’s tragic passing back in January. There was a strong connection between them that basketball shaped the backbone of their bond. However, there was one thing that Bryant wasn’t going to do with Jordan even in his retirement.
Why Kobe Bryant didn’t golf with Michael Jordan
Following the end of his illustrious career, Bryant became more of an open book with the media providing more of an insight into his life and mindset.
During an interview with Jim Gray at the 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference, Bryant revealed to Gray that Jordan had invited him golfing during his final season. In response to that invitation, the former Lakers great voiced that wouldn’t play with the Hall of Famer because he knew would beat because Jordan has played for many years, and he hasn’t.
“Michael and I had this conversation recently. He said ‘Now that you are retiring now you can come out with me and play golf.’ I said no. He said ‘You going to have to play golf.’ I said ‘Not with you though. You have been playing since college. You want to get out there and just kill me.’ I’m not a golfer and I’m not going to play. I’m a realist.”
Bryant was shooting straight from the cuff as he didn’t want to go into that realm with Jordan. The fact that the 18-time All-Star didn’t want to compete in golf isn’t a slight to him in any means, but more so a reality check for himself because he knew he isn’t at the level that Jordan is at the game.
Michael Jordan’s passion for golf
During his playing days, Jordan had a tremendous passion for golf that he has carried a great of competitiveness toward the craft.
There are numerous stories about his time on the golf course, with many involving hefty bets on holes over the years. Jordan is a highly competitive person, and when it comes to golf, things are no different in any regard. He has also competed in several televised events since stepping away from the NBA for the last time.
It’s a hobby that Jordan has picked up to a higher degree in retirement over the years and should continue to remain active in the time to come.