People have compared Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan for years now. Because of what they've accomplished on the court—and because of the similarities between their games—it's hard to mention the greatness of one of them without mentioning the other. But can you imagine them both being a part of the same NBA organization?
According to Kobe, it almost happened back in 2004 when he was seriously contemplating leaving the Lakers in free agency and joining MJ and the Wizards. During a recent interview with the Washington Post, Kobe revealed that he looked up to MJ as a mentor at the time and thought MJ could help him grow as a player.
"That's true," he told the Washington Post. "A long time ago? Yeah…I've always been very big on having mentors, on having muses and I've been really, really big on that. Being around guys who have done it before and done it at a high level and always tried to pick their brains and always tried to absorb knowledge. Obviously, being in that situation [with the Wizards], it would've helped having to be around him every day and so on."
Kobe thought that the two could have won a bunch of championships in Washington, D.C. together.
"We would've put together a great team and we would've won championships," he said. "Listen, man. There are not a lot of players in this league that say, 'Come hell or high water, we're going to get this [expletive] done.' People can look around and joke around about winning, saying they want to win. For me, it's a matter of life or death. It was that important to me. And if it's that important to me, I'm going to get there."
And Kobe also admitted that he wanted to play on the East Coast with the Wizards to show the 76ers what they passed up on when they selected Allen Iverson instead of Kobe in the 1996 NBA Draft.
"I was really upset the Sixers didn't take me No. 1 in '96," he said. "Because I'm in their backyard. I was a little [bitter] about that. Still am a little bit. I'm a competitor, right? They viewed Allen [Iverson] as being a better player than me, so that was something that always fueled me."
It fueled him to win more titles in Los Angeles. But sadly, the world never got to see MJ try to recruit Kobe to the Wizards, because about a year before Kobe was set to became a free agent, then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin cut ties with MJ and decided to move in a different direction. If he hadn't done that, though, there's a good chance that we could have seen Kobe and MJ representing the same team. And all of the comparisons between the two would likely sound much, much different today.
[via Washington Post]
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