Kobe Bryant Wanted To Join Michael Jordan In Washington During Feuds With Shaq
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
It is no secret that Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s idol was and is Michael Jordan. Kobe has all but mastered Air Jordan’s mannerisms on the court, whether it is the form on his jumper, low post moves, his celebratory fist pump and even the ferocity in which he plays to win.
What a lot of people don’t know is that in 2004, when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were feuding and when Jordan was playing for the Washington Wizards, Kobe considered leaving the Lakers as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the Wizards. Coincidentally, it was jaw-jacking from Shaq that almost forced Kobe to make the move. Wow! What could have been!
“The challenge had been thrown down upon me, of not being able to win without Shaq. A public challenge never really bothered me too much, but he made a couple of comments as well. I think he called me Penny Hardaway Part 2 or something like that. So that’s what [ticked] me off,” Bryant said. “Then it was like, ‘Listen, you know the step back that I took to help us win championships. Let’s not get [expletive] confused. I can dominate on my own. I decided to stay here and win championships and sacrifice MVPs and scoring titles and all that stuff.’ So once that was said, it was like a line in the sand now.” (Washington Post)
“We would’ve put together a great team and we would’ve won championships,” Bryant 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.” (Washington Post)
What could have been is good for barbershop talk, the Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan pairing may or may not have worked – but I have to admit I have a hard time NOT seeing it work. For as demanding and rough as Kobe has been on his teammates, he made some statements that clearly suggest that he would have been humbled to play with his idol.
“I’ve always been very big on having mentors, on having muses and I’ve been really, really big on that,” Bryant said. “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.” (Washington Post)
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