Thursday, May 16th, 2013 at 11:00 am  |  121 responses

Kobe Bryant Told Michael Jordan He Could Kick His Ass One on One

In his new book “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success”, Phil Jackson tells a great story from a meeting he helped arrange between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant during the 1999-2000 season. Kobe, who we know thinks quite highly of his own abilities, told MJ (who had retired from the NBA for a second time) that he could take him one-on-one when they saw each other in Chicago that year. In the book, Jackson writes that Jordan was a considerably superior player and leader to Bryant. Per the LA Times: “It’s pretty easy to figure out who Jackson was referencing in the following passage: ‘In his mind he had it all figured out. His goal was to become the greatest basketball player of all time. And he was certain he knew what he had to do to get there. Why should he listen to anybody else? If he followed my advice and cut back his scoring, he’d fall short of his ultimate goal. How was I going to get through to this kid?’ It wasn’t Jordan. As a young 20-something, Bryant told Lakers teammates he wanted to win 10 rings but was a ‘stubborn, hard-headed learner,’ Jackson wrote. [...] Jackson couldn’t help but include a humorous face-to-face meeting between Bryant and Jordan in his first season as the Lakers’ coach. ‘Kobe was hell-bent on surpassing Jordan as the greatest player in the game. His obsession with Michael was striking,’ Jackson said. ‘When we played in Chicago that season, I orchestrated a meeting between the two stars, thinking that Michael might help shift Kobe’s attitude toward selfless teamwork. After they shook hands, the first words out of Kobe’s mouth were, ‘You know I can kick your ass one on one.’”

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  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson


  • http://www.facebook.com/kingsley.a.rowe Kingsley Arthur Rowe

    I love that about Kobe. He is an ultimate competitor.

  • Zabbah

    And Shaq asked Kobe during their first meeting, ‘hey kobe, how does my ass taste?’

  • Sparker

    yeah, and all class too

  • Love

    Kobe needs 30 shots to get game point but jordan needs 15 shots.

  • shockexchange

    And despite “Exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L,” Horry Jr’s on the porch somewhere whitllin’ sticks.

  • The Philosopher

    It is good for the soul to dream out loud.

  • Jet hack

    That’s hilarious! F’ing, Kobe. That’s great. Lol

  • http://twitter.com/ec_lkhaa Will Lee

    its the truth. in 2000 kobe would beat anyone 1 on 1

  • Dagger

    I’d love to know what Jordan said next.

  • RayJr

    I can’t remember the last time I read a book cover to cover(maybe college), but I will definately be getting a hold of this one.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    My dude

  • http://twitter.com/SupermanayrB B!

    And despite “Exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L,” Horry Jr’s on the porch somewhere whitllin’ sticks due to injury.


  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Prolly just laughed.

  • The Philosopher

    How are things? Good?

  • Dagger

    That’s my guess.

    Jackson has written this stuff about Kobe for years, now, but the two seem to have a great relationship. Given what we think we know of Kobe’s personality, that seems unusual.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yeah man going real well, staying busy, economy seems to be picking up. It’s playoffs! I can’t complain . How you doin fam?

  • The Philosopher

    That’s good, man. Glad to hear that.
    Yeah, everything is going pretty well for me, too.
    Doing some traveling.
    Getting into some adventures…
    Enjoying the positive energy in the universe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    do you guys wanna AIM? my username is bballer3234

  • The Philosopher

    I am wholly appreciative of the invitation. But right now, I have to go off line for a few hours.
    But some time in the future, definitely.

  • TSmoove

    Vintage Vino


    So in other words, Kobe met Jordan and just introduced himself. At this point I feel like Kobe probably tells this to everyone he meets!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t have the luxury of using AIM on my work comp homie.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oooooh, traveling huh? that’s dope, anywhere you wanna brag about?

  • DJ Skee

    Wait wait wait wait wait…. What the hell u care about the economy and all that for? We all kno u ain’t got no job bruh…. Lmao stop fakin the funk

  • jumpman22

    -’After game,here. 10 baskets to win.’

  • The Philosopher

    Hey Mike, found a few more minutes.
    Just sent you an “AIM” message.
    And, thanks again for the invite.

  • shockexchange

    Yeah, cause the Lakers were really setting the L on fire before he got hurt.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Lol, it’s funny that y’all think these things based on a comment section on the internet.

  • The Philosopher

    Wellll… Lol.
    I was in Miami, Florida (USA) last night. Spent a couple nights there. I’m in the U.S. city of Orlando, right now.
    Probably will check out Disney World.
    We’ll see.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    that’s awesome. weather out there is freaking perfect right now huh?

  • bike

    Kobe Motherfuc*in Bryant meet Michael Motherfuc*in Jordan.

  • Bandwagonfan

    i love that. He is an interesting and rebel guy. Actually cool

  • The Philosopher


  • ENDS

    Wlecome to my City Phil. Hope the Mouse treats you right

  • The Philosopher

    Lol, respect!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Man, enjoy it! Would love to hear more about your travels later or something man.

  • Go Go Gadget Boots

    “Hi, I’m Kobe and I can kick your ass one on one”

  • Drig

    I could actually imagine Kobe saying this………and pulling it off……

  • Max

    Kobe is so bias.

  • MJ = GOAT

    Hm, a little misleading. Kobe and MJ already met. They were both in either the 97 or 98 All Star Game, when MJ was still playing for CHI. MJ had a play on Kobe where they both lined up outside the arc for somebody’s (East player) free throw. When the shot went up, MJ dashed in from outside the 3-pt line, leaving Kobe behind, jumped, caught the rebound, and dunked it in one motion. And then Marv Albert went bananas.

  • playa

    Good ol Kob, my favourite player of all-time, as time goes by even surpassing the mighty Mike, my childhood obsession haha :)


    Sounds about right!


    why kobe still saying hes a magic fan?lol

  • Blarmac

    This is probably what’s going to happen when Kobe meets God after he dies. Word for word.

  • TR

    My favorite story was about how he said he was beating tmac in Germany and then he(tmac) responds with “that never happened” haha. Kobe stories are pretty great.

  • fruizm

    hahaha youre on fire today!

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    Game, blouses

  • @iamMrjump

    IDK about that Kobe beating MJ one on one…. Mike was more physical and better defender according to Phil Jackson

  • G$

    “Hi I’m Kobe Bryant. If you were my wife I would cheat on you, if you were my mom I’d sue you, if you were my teammate I’d snitch on you, and if we played one on one I’d kick your ass.”

    And the worlds biggest assclown award goes to…

  • http://twitter.com/SarahDa35527142 Sarah David

    Sυmmеr. trυе tһаt сһrіs`s с○mmеոt іs  υոbеlіеvаblе… lаst frіdаy і g○t а  grеаt Jаgυаr е-tyре fr○m еаrոіոg $7318 tһіs-lаst/4 wееκs аոd-іո еxсеss ○f, tеո grаոd lаst-m○ոtһ. wіtһ○υt а qυеstі○ո іt іs tһе  еаsіеst-j○b іvе еvеr d○ոе. і bеgаո tһіs  fіvе m○ոtһs/аg○ аոd рrасtісаlly strаіgһt аwаy wаs  еаrոіոg mіոіmυm $84… реr һ○υr. і w○rκ tһr○υgһ tһіs lіոκ, ..Fox83.com

  • The Saviour

    AIM hahaha, I just spoke to 1998 and they totally love this bromance.

  • The Saviour

    You absolutely and utterly stink of jealousy, worry about your own job and family as I have on good source you are sucking at both right now.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Not in 2000

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez


  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    gotta love confidence

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    A.I woulda done some work on him

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez


  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    we can only hope

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez


  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    fresh vino

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    had to be that

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    but the mindset was way above wise then

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    good ol KB

  • Cameron

    Said Sam Jackson.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, Jordan would win with fadeaways and pump fakes. He wouldn’t win with defense and being physical. Not against a 22 year old Kobe Bryant.

  • The Seed


  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    battles of smarts vs young legs. helluva match.

  • right


  • playa

    MJ wouldn’t win with Kobe in 2000 with ANYTHING let’s be real now.He was retired and out of shape.But i would die to see their 1 on 1 both absolute prime,,,,damn!!!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He was about to come back and play……remember?

  • tweaks

    man, i remember being in 8th grade and seeing kobe for the first time….when you grow on MJ all day kobe made quite an appearence. gamewise

  • The Seed

    Kobe Bryant once took a dip in shark-infested waters, because he’s Kobe Bryant, so of course he will challenge MJ. BOOK IT!!


    If that was Lebron, the first words out of his mouth will be “Can I join your team so I can get a ring?”. lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    sounds like the mamba!!! i think mj respected kobe due to the fact he was not scared of his airness. mj always liked a challenge!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    story seems good but didn’t mamba and his airness talk back in 96 in mamba’s rookie year and 98 all star game?? i think so?? dates seem a bit off to me!

  • robb

    Players with that kind of mentality believe they can beat anybody. It’s great. Like when Kyrie challenged Kobe one on one. By the way that wasn’t the first time Kobe and MJ met. Sounds like a cool story and all but they had met before.

  • Tuna

    do u wanna get high?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Caveman1006?feature=mhee Marvin B.

    Vintage Kobe

  • Brandan E

    Kobe & MJ, the two greats of all-time in my book. nobody else compares!
    not lebron and not even close durant.

  • Brownjesus

    Awesome and ruthless

  • ODV

    Kobe was actually outplayed by an injured Penny Hardaway during the playoffs. Never mind his gamewinner, check the stats.

  • playa

    Umm he came back in 2002, so please be more specific next time, in 2000 he was a FATASS, besides in 2002 when heh did came back he would be totally DESTROYED by prime kobe then.

  • Bandwagonfan

    Sorry, can u give me the link. Cant found one.

  • Ugh

    Best Slam thread in ages. Good times.

  • Ugh

    Jordan also gets more rebounds and blocks, but his advantage in passing goes to waste in one-on-one.

  • Ugh

    Hundreds of kids from Make A Wish have probably heard the same.

  • Philly D.

    Phil Da Thrill…. OK So, let’s do a COUNT 6-Mj. to 5 and he got one from with a little help from His TEAMATES , Pau & Ron Ron, whom its HUGE shots for, him to get that HUGE Monkey Off his BACK, names Shaq, No beef….. just the way it is. Nuffsaid.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he came back into the league in 2001.

    . and the first time they played…..it was even.



  • Tumbler206

    Kobe Bryant is an asshole himself. He stinks!!!!!

  • Tumbler206

    Jordan was never overweight when he was an active player. Jordan kicked the entire Laker’s team in December 1997 and Pippen was on the injured reserved list.

  • Tumbler206

    And Michael was never afraid of kobe or any other young player. Michael had already beaten Kobe one on one a number of times already.

  • http://twitter.com/ec_lkhaa Will Lee

    not denying it. but its Kobe MJ talk

  • at1212b

    Folks, Phil Jackson said in another interview that MJ had a witty, sly retort to that that just SHUT Kobe up.

    MJ >>>>> Kobe in wit and trashtalking.

    This wasn’t the first time they met. It was just during Jackson’s 1st year coaching Kobe.

  • Run

    Speaking strictly from a sportsman’s point-of-view, this story reminds me of O.J. telling Jim Brown that he would be the greatest RB of all-time by the time he retired. By the time O.J. Got to the NFL, it was completely a quarterback’s league and was getting softer by the day.

    If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Kobe never played against Magic, Barkley, Ewing, Olajuwon, Robinson, Dr. J, Bird, or Stocton & Malone in their primes. How could he be better than Jordan when Jordan played during the NBA’s greatest years (1985-1998)?

    On the other hand, I don’t remember anyone ever calling Jordan a “great teammate”. He was nothing of the sort. He was the cash cow for not only the Bulls but the league; so if you played with him, you did what he said or you got punched in the mouth (as did Steve Kerr), or you got traded.

    Jordan is far from well-liked by other players, and is known for being supremely talented but arrogant and self-centered. He’s really A-Rod without the steroids but with better PR skills.

    Jordan played during the NBA’s best years; so he was Kobe Bryant, but at the right time and under the right circumstances. His accomplishments allow him to write of his naysayers as just “haters”, but maybe if he didn’t think he was God he would realize what a lousy executive he is. And we all know he would be a terrible coach.

    Something tells me that Shaq wouldn’t have enjoyed being teammates long-term with Jordan, either!

  • Run

    You know what’s funny? I have no doubt that Kobe really could kick Kordan’s ass in three out of five one-on-one games, because he was more physically gifted – as ridiculous as that sounds, given Jordan’s own physical gifts. But Jordan was still the better player. Basketball isn’t a one-on-one sport, and Jordan played against superior competition on both ends of the floor.

    What would Kobe have done if he had faced supreme defenders like Sidney Moncrief, Moses Malone, Daryl Dawkins, Dennis Johnson, Mugsy Bogues, Artis Gilmore, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Charles Oakley, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge, Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbier, Mookie Blaylock, Gary Payton, Dikimbe Mutombo or even Manute Bol in their primes?

    Jordan did…and he crushed them!

    Kobe faced Mugsy Bogues, Dikimbe Mutombo, and Payton when they were past their primes, and Jason Kidd mostly on the back-end of his. That’s not much of a resume when it comes to facing lock-down defenders.

  • R.e. Lora

    Ball Hog Bryant sounds like every Bball court bully around the country.

  • z

    Perfectly said. Sadly it probably flies right over most people’s head.

  • Saintsfan

    Kobe is not more physically gifted than Jordan. You better stop smoking that crack man.

  • Run

    Kobe was a little more physically gifted than Jordan, and both were superior athletes. Kobe had the higher vertical and greater quickness. Jordan’s slight edge would have been his physical strength.

    Jordan was the better player in terms of overall basketball skills, basketball IQ and killer instincts, but Kobe easily had more natural gifts. Jordan was as good as he was because he willed himself to get there. Kobe was a naturally gifted phenom who, unlike Jordan (who was cut as a sophomore), started varsity as a freshman!

    Kobe developed much earlier because of his natural gifts, whereas Jordan wasn’t a nationally known name until his senior year – like Tracy McGrady, etc.

    Even Jordan would tell you that Kobe had the edge in terms of athleticism (show me a clip of Jordan doing 360-degree dunks in games. Better athlete: Kobe (by a hair); Best player: Jordan by a mile!!!

  • Cortez Mack


  • Run

    Yeah. But remember Jordan’s words before the game, where he verbally admitted that Kobe had the potential to dominate him physically. Of course Jordan was the better player, and he was far more seasoned.

    But a rookie Jordan vs. a rookie Kobe is a toss-up. A veteran Jordan vs. a veteran Kobe is a win for Jordan…IN A TEAM GAME. One-on-one, Kobe has the edge.

    I would also say this: in the open court, I would fear Kobe more than Jordan, but in the half-court I would fear Jordan more than Kobe. Kobe was the more athletically gifted of the two (like it matters in the grand scheme), but Jordan was the smarter player.

  • greg

    No, Jordan clearly had a higher vertical easily. He also was stronger. You seem to not know how athletic Mj wasd in his early years.

  • Run

    As athletic as Jordan was during his early years – and he was damn athletic – Kobe was even more athletic. In the hops department, Jordan’s hang time was as good as anyone’s outside of Dr. J’s, Clyde Drexler’s and Connie Hawkins’s. but the most explosive leaders would be ‘Nique, Vince Carter, LeBron, and Kobe. I would even throw David Robinson into that group.

    In terms of vertical leap, Joey Johnson, Dominique, Spud Webb, Vince Carter and Kobe Bryant all had Jordan beat. Jordan was neither the highest leader nor the quickest shooting guard, and he wasn’t the most explosive leaper either. But his combination of all of those abilities – explosiveness, hang time (‘Nique had almost no hang), vertical, and a reasonably quick FIRST STEP, make him great. MJ, for all of his athletic gifts, was NOT the best athlete to ever play hoops, and he wasn’t a better athlete than Kobe. But I will concede that he is arguably the greatest player ever.

    If Jordan and Magic are in the same draft, I pick Magic!

  • Run

    Upon meeting Jim Brown as a youth, OJ told Him that he would break all of his records. Strictly speaking about on-the-field exploits, OJ had balls. On some level, all great ones must believe that they are better than other great ones. That’s why they achieve so much. It’s the same in business, arts, etc. if you want to be the best, you should respect the best but never be in awe of the best. And most of all, you have to want to BEAT the best!

  • rhys

    he dunked from the freethrow line only a handfull of players can do that

  • ‘Jide Lawal
  • meg

    Dude even Ron Harper could do a 360 dunk. Players in the NBA are tall and athletic and its just a matter of their preferred dunk styles. For example how many times have you seen Kobe do a two hand windmill dunk? Like never, but that don’t mean he could never do throughout his career. Give me a break lol….it just means its not his preferred style dunk. Jordan loved his kiss da rum dunk and the two hand shoulder pump axle dunk and one leg take offs from distance. Kobe is long and covers ground that way but his 1st step pales in comparison to MJs. MJ is all round better physically and skillfully and more naturally gifted said Phil himself. The big hands he was born with and he don’t practice Kobe’s moves, its the other way around.

  • Run

    Again…Jordan was the better all-around player, but Kobe was the better athlete. One-on-one is more about athleticism than court savvy.

    Jordan is the better player, and he proved it by dominating the NBA during its best era (1980-1998 was the NBA’s “golden age”). Kobe hasn’t had to beat as many Hall-of-Famers.

    One-on-one…best of five in their primes? Kobe (3-2).

  • Run

    Well, I’m going to be a bit knit-picky here. JORDAN CHEATED! He didn’t jump from behind the free throw line like Dr. J did.

    There are street ballers who could have taken Jordan. Go to the Rucker, or Venice Beach. Go to some if the parks in south side Chicago. There are legends from those parks who were more talented than Jordan.

    Earl “The GOAT” Manigault was as talented as, or more talented than, was Jordan. Do some research and you will find out very quickly that Jordan was the product of Davud Stern’s marketing and officiating mandates as anything else. Jordan was David Stern’s golden ticket for building upon what Magic and aka try started. Do you really think Jordan would have been as successful without getting all of the calls and non-calls? Wake the Phukk up! Jordan was that successful partly because David Stern rigged it that way.

    I give credit where credit is due; You can make a strong case that Jordan is the greatest player ever (I still say it’s Magic), but players like Oscar Robertson would have gone some awfully crazy things in David Stern’s league. Jordan’s talent was not head-and-shoulders above other players.

  • Mamasica

    Jordan had higher vertical, bigger hands and he was faster too. Strange to think otherwise.

  • Whatt??

    I never heard anything so stupid. Hangtime depends only on the vertical. Laws of physics are the same for everyone.

    Kobe is NOT more athletic than Jordan. Dumb ass.

  • scoop

    RUN.. needs to read and watch tape and start timing some of that hangtime Lol. Jordan was the NBA scoring champion 10 times and shot 50% from the field, he averaged 37.1 points per game in 86-87, 3 times the steals leader, the defensive player of the year, 9 times all defensive first team, 2 times the slam dunk champion. Blocked more shots and stole more balls !! Kobe did what and with what shooting percentage ?? hahaha
    You don’t do all that against the best in the world without being an amazingly physically gifted athlete…….. he didn’t get the name Air Jordan by accident !! Kobe is athletic but he’s not at the same level as Jordan in all departments, speed, quickness and Air’s jumping ability…. Jordan had a recorded 48″ vertical to Kobe”s 40″, Jordan also had a time of 4.3 in the 40 yard to Kobe’s 4.6 in the 40 yard dash.
    On and on it goes………

  • Teemo Luciano

    Ya gotta love it when a player has confidence lol.

  • T

    not one player who attempted the free line dunk ever jumped from behind the line, they all had their foot on the line or just over.

  • caleb

    Sorry, but you’re wrong in the physically gifted part. Jordan had the highest vertical recorded in the NBA (tied with Darrell Griffith). Kobe ain’t even in the top 20 list. Sorry, but even in terms of athleticism, Jordan has Kobe beat.


  • MFFL !

    not in his prime

  • Olf Man Riverwalk

    3-2 in their primes? Dude. It took all 5 players from the bad boys deteoit team to stop Jordan. That was MJ in his prime. Remember when he dunked on Ewing? His elbow was higher than the rim. Cmon man.Kobe is more athletic?

  • Run

    You guys are clearly NOT ballers! You all need to stfu! I am giving much credit to both players…pull your panties up!

  • Calpin

    Have you ever thought maybe MJ did not want to do the 360. Did Kobe ever do the free throw dunk, and how many have tried it and failed. None has done it as good as MJ either. They barely reach the rim or jump just inside the line.

  • TheRulesDunChanged

    Brent Barry > both of them