It was in January of 2020 that the world last a sporting hero and the Bryant family a loving father. When news broke that Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were involved in a helicopter crash that killed seven others, the world let out a collective gasp. The shock was palpable and as images of the wreckage emerged, we mourned for the loss of one of sport’s greatest stars. The legacy of Kobe Bryant can’t be underestimated.
With a record-breaking career with the LA Lakers, Kobe was drafted into the NBA directly out of high school in 1996. For the 2007-8 season, he was the league’s Most Valuable Player, before being anointed MVP of the 2009 and 2010 final series and scoring a second-highest-ever 81-point game in 2006. Before retiring in 2016, Bryant helped Team USA secure two Olympic medals. Certainly though, Bryant’s legacy extends well beyond the sport itself. Known for his commitment and passion for basketball, he was also an extremely devoted father to his four girls.
Set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, Michael Jordan sat down with ESPN where he revealed his last text exchange with the late Los Angeles Lakers star. In the text messages from December 8, 2019, the two all-time greats joked about Michael’s tequila and Kobe coaching his daughter, Gigi.
Kobe had received a bottle of Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila and reached out to the GOAT to tell the former Chicago Bulls player that the “tequila is awesome.” Jordan then asked Kobe about how it was coaching Gigi, writing, “Happy holidays and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!” To this, Kobe replied, “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”
Speaking to ESPN, Jordan said about the text: “I just love that text because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.” He added, “I don’t know why, but I just can’t delete it.”
It’s not the first time Jordan has spoken about his fondness and deep respect for Bryant. Though they may have been competitive on the court, Jordan looked to Bryant like a younger brother, one he mentored in his up-and-coming years. Speaking at Kobe’s memorial service, Jordan said: “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died, and as I look at this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died.” Jordan went on to add, “I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could. Please rest in peace, little brother.”