Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had nothing but respect for each other. Kobe made a name for himself in the league during Michael's last season and he clearly gained his attention, mostly because of how similar their games were.
Jordan didn't hesitate to reach out to Kobe as a bit of a mentor. He made himself available for him, got close to the young Mamba, and helped him polish his game and work on his craft to become his successor.
But perhaps, one of the things that made Jordan carry Kobe under his wing was the fact that he knew right away that Bryant was obsessed with being the greatest player of all time. That obsession, passion, and competitive spirit really bond them together, as they shared the same view on how to deal with being an NBA player.
So, according to BJ Armstrong, there was a time when they even had a virtual game of 1-on-1 right in the middle of dinner, talking about how they got ready for games, how they would score and whatnot instead of just enjoying their meals:
“They were playing a virtual game of 1-on-1 at dinner. I just sat there and listened to them talk about the love they had for the game. They were so sophisticated; they were talking about footwork, how they conditioned themselves, how they would box out. The detail that they had, the respect that they had for the game (...) I wish I could have seen them play in their prime," Armstrong said, as reported by Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.
Jordan and Kobe only faced each other 8 times, with Kobe taking three of those matchups. Obviously, that wasn't prime MJ or the almighty Chicago Bulls, so we never actually got to see them go at it in the pinnacle of their careers.
Both, however, always knew how to be a great influence on those around him. They had so much respect for the game that they would never stop thinking and talking about it. That's why it'll never be a couple of guys like him again.