There was a natural successor to Michael Jordan's crown after he retired, and there was no player who came as close to being like MJ as Kobe Bryant. Obviously, his career trajectory was different, and Kobe took some time to establish himself as a superstar in the NBA. Still, it was evident that he had all the talent and the mentality required to become one of the greatest of all time.
If there's one player who can claim to have seen all the facets of MJ's game and observed what the GOAT brought to the table every night, it was Scottie Pippen. Pippen is often underrated thanks to having been in MJ's shadow, and the two are no longer friends. However, in 1999, the Bulls had just finished their 2nd three-peat, Jordan had retired, and Scottie was on the Rockets trying to add to his legacy.
So it was fitting that Michael Jordan was there to watch when Pippen and Bryant went head-to-head on the court. In 1999, when the Rockets took on the Lakers, Kobe and Scottie went at each other, each providing the other an opportunity to assert their quality and their dominance. The duel was an excellent one, and Michael Jordan was in attendance to watch it take place.
Michael Jordan Was Present For Kobe Bryant's Duel Against Scottie Pippen
Kobe Bryant's game was very similar to MJ's, he did base a lot of what he did on his idol's way of dominating, after all. So going against Scottie, it was all jumpers and dunks, which Pippen had witnessed MJ do to players all the time. The two battled it out, and there was another interesting piece on the court in Dennis Rodman, who had recently been acquired by the Lakers.
Bryant scored 18 points in the game to Scottie's 16; it would be tough to say which of them got the better of the individual matchup. However, the Lakers ended up winning quite comfortably despite the Rockets also having Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. The final score was 106-90.
The changing of the guard in the NBA has always been a fascinating process, as looking at the highlight video for this game will show. Kobe's best years were ahead of him, and Scottie's were done, but the two still met on the court to face each other in the only place that matters. That the man who had such a huge influence on both in different ways was also present in the crowd only serves to make the moment more historic.