Sports | April 25, 2020 10:43 am

Michael Jordan Says Only One Player Could Have Beat Him One-on-One: Kobe Bryant

MJ says Kobe could win because "he steals all my moves"

Jordan Kobe
Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan talk during a free-throw attempt during a game on December 17, 1997.

NBA fans on Twitter often argue about which legends would beat each other if they could magically play one-on-one, but it turns out that they’re not the only ones. In an interview with NBA 2K, former Bulls icon Michael Jordan shared some of his dream opponents, and even admitted that he thinks he’d lose to one potential opponent: Kobe Bryant.

If I was in my prime, who would I want to play one-on-one? That list is very long. I’d start off with Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Kobe Bryant in his prime, LeBron in his prime, D-Wade in his prime, Melo. That’s a good start. I don’t think I‘d lose, other than to Kobe Bryant because he steals all of my moves.”

As pointed out by Sports Illustrated, Bryant had admitted to that move thievery in the past, saying that he copied “damn near 100 percent of the technique” from His Airness. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, faced off with Jordan a handful of times at the start of his career, including a memorable showdown on December 17, 1997, that saw Jordan go off for 36 points while Bryant matched him with a then-career-high 33 points off the bench.

In the same interview, Jordan also shared how Bryant would come to him for help throughout the years, texting him at odd hours of the night to ask for advice:

He used to call me, text me, 11:30, 2:30, 3 o’clock in 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. It’s an amazing thing about passion.”

While those same Twitter fans might disagree with Jordan’s analysis of his own chances against legends from NBA history, there’s no denying that a Jordan-Bryant match-up would be a riveting mirror match of styles.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Read the full story at Sports Illustrated