Kobe Bryant thought he would ‘destroy’ Michael Jordan in 1st meeting
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Lakes legend Kobe Bryant admitted on the “Holding Court with Geno Auriemma“ podcast last week that he was going to “destroy” Michael Jordan in their first on-court meeting in 1996.
But Bryant’s attitude quickly changed after Jordan threw down a dunk over him early in the game.
Via the “Holding Court with Geno Auriemma” podcast:
“I was thinking in my mind, I didn’t care. I’m going to destroy this guy. I don’t care if I’m 18, I’m coming for blood. And the first thing he did, they ran a fifth-down sequence in the triangle. He caught the ball in the corner and he made his little pirouette spin that he does and sneaks baseline. I fell for it, and he went by me and dunked it. I remember just laughing to myself all the way up the court. I’ve seen that move thousands of times and I can’t believe I just fell for it. And then after that, it was like, ‘OK, let’s get to work.’ Every time I faced him I wanted to see how he was going to respond to his same moves.”
Eighteen-year-old Bryant, who only played 18 games before this matchup, didn’t stand a chance against His Airness. Jordan went on to score 30 points in the Bulls’ 129-123 win over the Lakers that day, while Bryant scored a measly five points.
Despite Jordan getting the last laugh in their first meeting in 1996, Bryant’s confidence wasn’t shattered. Bryant went on to be an 18-time All-Star, two-time NBA scoring champion, five-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP.
Bryant retired last year, but he’ll be honored at the Lakers game Monday. The Lakers are holding a ceremony for Bryant during their game against the Warriors, where they’ll officially retire his jerseys — No. 8 and No. 24.
Follow me on Twitter @madkenney.