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Kobe Bryant thought he would ‘destroy’ Michael Jordan in 1st meeting

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.

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Via the “Holding Court with Geno Auriemma” podcast:

Kobe Bryant said he thought he would "destroy" Michael Jordan in their first on-court meeting. | Fred Jewell/Associated Press

“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.