It’s been more than a year since Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others, but basketball legend Michael Jordan is still remembering his longtime pal.
The 58-year-old former Chicago Bulls star, who will induct his late friend into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this coming weekend, took the time to share his final text conversation with Bryant in an interview with ESPN ahead of the event.
Bryant first referenced Jordan’s tequila brand, Cincoro Tequila, writing, “This tequila is awesome,” after Jordan sent him a bottle for the launch.
“Thank you, my brother,” Jordan responded.
“Yes, sir. Family good?” Kobe replied.
“All good. Yours?”
Jordan also shared with ESPN that he spoke to Bryant about his daughter’s basketball team, adding, “He was really into coaching Gigi, so I hit him up about that.”
“Happy holidays, and hope to catch up soon,” Jordan wrote. “Coach Kobe??!”
“I added that little crying/laughing emoji,” Jordan told ESPN.
“Ah, back at you, man,” Kobe replied. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”
Jordan looks back fondly on the exchange, saying, “I just love that text, because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”
Jordan and Bryant were longtime friends. Jordan memorably spoke at Bryant’s February 2020 memorial service, giving an emotional speech.
“Maybe it surprises people that Kobe and I were close friends, but we were very close friends,” Jordan said. “Kobe was my dear friend. He was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I, but I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”
He also shared that he often fielded “late night calls” from the L.A. Lakers star.
“We talked about business, we talked about family, we talked about everything and he was just trying to be a better person,” Jordan said through tears.
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