NBA icon Michael Jordan released the final text message exchange between him and Kobe Bryant just days before the late great Los Angeles Lakers star will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jordan, the former superstar player turned owner of the Charlotte Hornets, shared those messages in an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan about 16 months after Bryant’s death.
Bryant began the conversation by texting Jordan about his Cincoro Tequila, which was sent to him at the launch of the product.
“This tequila is awesome,” Bryant texted Jordan via Bleacher Report.
“Thank you, my brother,” Jordan answered.
“Yes, sir. Family good?” Kobe responded.
“All good. Yours?”
Jordan followed that up by asking Bryant about coaching his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who was also killed in the January 2020 helicopter crash.
“Happy holidays,” Jordan answered. “And hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”
“I added that little crying/laughing emoji,” Jordan laughed.
“Ah, back at you, man,” Bryant replied. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, Jordan said, asked him to induct Bryant into the hall.
“It’s going to be a great honor, to be honest. It’s like standing up for a family member,” Jordan said. “He paid me the highest respect by trying to emulate certain things I did. And I can only repay that by showing my support and admiration for a guy who I felt was one of the greatest to ever play the game.”
The enshrinement ceremony will be televised live by ESPN on Saturday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Bryant, an 18-time All-Star, led the Lakers to five NBA titles. He was the Finals MVP in two of those championships, and he also won the 2008 NBA MVP. Bryant retired as the NBA’s third-leading scorer, but he was passed by LeBron James last year.