According to Phil Jackson, one of the first things Kobe Bryant said to Michael Jordan when the two were introduced was that he could kick his butt one-on-one.
Needless to say, Kobe was supremely confident from a very young age.
So much so, a former high school teammate claims, that Kobe boasted as a scrawny teenager that his idol MJ couldn’t check him.
Bryant is now just 31 points away from passing Mike for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Per the LA Daily News:
“I remember Kobe saying, ‘Michael Jordan can’t stop me,’” said David Lasman, one of Bryant’s former teammates at Lower Merion, a suburban high school outside Philadelphia. “‘I’m not saying I can stop him. But he can’t stop me.’”
Lasman would tell the 17-year-old Bryant he’s “crazy” for saying something so brash. After all, Jordan would win six NBA championships, six Finals MVPs and five regular-season MVPS. But Bryant would eventually enter the NBA out of high school, win five NBA championships with the Lakers and spark never-ending comparisons to Jordan.
Bryant could also surpass Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list when the Lakers (6-16) visit San Antonio (15-6) on Friday at AT&T Center. Bryant only needs 31 points to surpass Jordan’s 32,292 career points. Bryant conceded his upcoming milestone will mark “a great accomplishment,” trailing only Karl Malone (36,928) and former Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) on the scoring list. But Bryant argued “the true beauty in it comes in the journey.”