This week’s episode of The Last Dance featured a special appearance from the late Kobe Bryant.
The documentary-style miniseries tells the story of Micheal Jordan’s historic sports career, centering on the 1997-1998 season of the Chicago Bulls.
During the series, Bryant sang Jordan’s praises in an interview.
“It was a rough couple of years for me coming into the league because at the time the league was so much older; it’s not as young as it is today, so nobody was really thinking much of me,” the late NBA superstar began. “I was a kid that shot a bunch of air balls.”
The episode also featured footage from the only time that the two superstars would face one another on the court. Filmed at Madison Garden in 1998, the doc shows the NBA All-Star Game where Jordan outscored Bryant, going on to earn the MVP title. When the final buzzer rang they embraced and said, “I’ll see you down the road.”
That moment was the beginning of a lasting friendship.
“At that point, Michael provided a lot of guidance for me. Like, I had a question about shooting his turnaround shot so I asked him about it and he gave me a great, detailed answer but, on top of that, he said if you ever need anything, give me a call,” Bryant continued.
Jordan’s support led to Bryant labeling him his “big brother,” noting that he hated with fans and sports analysts would compare their talents.
“I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one. You heard fans saying, ‘Hey, Kob, you beat Michael one-on-one.’ I feel like, what you get from me is from him,” Bryant revealed. “I don’t get five championships here without him because he guided me so much and gave so much great advice.”
Jordan called Bryant, who died January 26 in a fatal helicopter crash that also took the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, his little brother at his funeral.
Jordan noted at the public memorial, held in February inside the Staples Center, that the two used to call and text often into the wee hours of the morning “talking about post-up moves, footwork and sometimes the triangle. At first it was an aggravation, but then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know.”
The final two episodes of The Last Dance is set to air Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ESPN.