Kobe Bryant has faced some of the most important basketball players of all time during his legendary career. Having had an early start by making a successful leap from high school to the NBA, Bryant managed to earn All-Star status in just his second season. However, with all the stars he’s faced, he reportedly wanted to play against Michael Jordan the most.
According to former Laker John Salley, Kobe told him he skipped playing with Duke because he heard Michael Jordan was considering retirement and he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to play against one of his idols.
“I remember when I asked him, ‘why didn’t you go to Duke? You knew you were good enough for the pro’s?’” Salley asked Kobe, “he said, ‘nah, I heard Michael was retiring and I wanted to play him and against him.’”
Jordan ended up retiring just two seasons into Kobe’s NBA career, but then returned for the 2001-2003 season as a member of the Washington Wizards. This was around the time where Kobe was gaining traction. The stint also included Kobe’s infamous 55-point game against MJ’s Wizards in 2003.
Former Laker, John Salley reveals that Kobe Bryant skipped college to play against Michael Jordan before he retired.
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— LAKERSWORLD (@LakersWorld_16) September 15, 2019