Phil Jackson Recalls Hilarious Story of Kobe Bryant Being Kobe Bryant During Iconic Encounter With Michael Jordan

Phil Jackson recalled the hilarious encounter between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan at 'Black Mamba's' statue unveiling ceremony. It was the stuff of legends.

Written by Oindrila Chowdhury , Writer
Updated on Feb 09, 2024 | 07:54 PM IST | 53K
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Ex-Lakers legendary coach Phil Jackson recounts the meeting between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. ( Getty Images )

Phil Jackson took the reins as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999. He stepped into the scene with NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on his roster, Jackson guided the Lakers to a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. 

Before his Lakers job as head coach, Phil Jackson coached Hall of Famer, Micheal Jordan. Jackson was also the man behind the Chicago Bulls' back-to-back two three-peats. 

Phil Jackson’s anecdote at the Kobe Bryant’s Statue Unveiling

Decades later, as the Lakers put up a colossal bronze statue of Kobe Bryant on February 9, 2024, Phil Jackson dropped a gem of a story involving both Kobe and the GOAT, Michael Jordan at Bryant's statue unveiling ceremony. 

Jackson spilled the tea on how he set up a meeting between the two NBA legends to give Kobe a taste of handling a team-centric system rather than going all-in on the one-on-one battles. However, Kobe with his swagger strutted into the room and dropped a bombshell.

"Kobe walked in and he sat down and he said, 'Michael, I can take you one-on-one," Jackson recollected.

Classic Kobe move!

On hearing the year-old story, the room full of people including Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, erupted in laughter and applause. 

Phil Jackson recalled with a grin, "Michael said, 'Well I think you might. I'm 37 and you're 22."

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Kobe Bryant Is Immortalized With a Statue

The Los Angeles Lakers unveiled this colossal bronze statue of Kobe Bryant, standing proud and tall outside Crypto.com Arena's Star Plaza.  It's a nod to Kobe's epic 2006 game against the Toronto Raptors, where he dropped 81 points. 


In the statue, Kobe has his iconic number 8 "Sunday White" jersey and points to the sky. Also, there's a sweet touch of his daughters' names tattooed on his arm. Pure poetry!

"For the record, Kobe picked the pose you're about to see, so if anyone has any issues with it, tough s---," Bryant's widow, Vanessa, said at the ceremony on Star Plaza outside Crypto.com Arena.

Vanessa Bryant wrapped up the ceremony. She was the last in the lineup of speakers that included Derek Fisher, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Phil Jackson. 

ALSO READ: Why Did Kobe Bryant Wear Number 8 and 24 Jerseys and What Does It Mean to Him? Find Out

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