Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant developed a good relationship during their NBA days and until Kobe's unfortunate death, they were like big and little brother. That happened while they were competing at the highest level of all but their story began before most fans believe. In the beginning, they were as formal as possible with each other, but all of that changed when Kobe made it to the league and decided to go after everybody.
Coach John Lucas II detailed the first encounter between these two legends, way before Kobe made it to the NBA. He joined James Posey on ‘The Poseycast‘ to discuss a variety of topics and at some point, the conversation turned out to Kobe and MJ, with Lucas explaining how was the first exchange between the two greatest shooting guards in NBA history. (35:08)
“He saw Michael and you know Michael, he’s got them big old cigars in his mouth. Kobe said ‘how are you doing Mr. Jordan? It is an honor to meet you.’ So when MJ left, I talked to Kobe and told him ‘when you’ll be coming up next year, you can’t be calling him Mr. Jordan. And then, the guy who gave me the job in San Antonio was the general manager of the Charlotte Hornets. And I told him if you have Kobe Bryant there, you pick him. They picked him, but he ended up being traded for Vlade Divac and Jerry West was calling me every day about him. That’s how Kobe got to LA.”
Kobe learned that lesson as he became one of the greatest competitors on the court. He wasn't afraid of trash-talking anybody and he did it in every opportunity he had. He shared a lot of similarities with Jordan and that was one of them. They were the most competitive, hard workers players in the NBA during his active days and Kobe modeled his game after Jordan's.
The admiration was there, it was mutual and everything started when a young Kobe greeted MJ calling him 'Mr. Jordan.'