The Los Angeles Lakers were on the road on Monday night to face the Charlotte Hornets at the Time Warner Cable Arena. This game would mark the last time Kobe Bryant would play against the Hornets in Charlotte and the franchise had something special in store for the veteran superstar.
With Michael Jordan being one of Kobe’s primary influencers and a close friend, the Hornets owner recorded a message for the five-time NBA champion because he couldn’t be in attendance. Jordan’s message to Kobe aired after a tribute video for veteran guard with the NBA legend saying the following to the future Hall of Famer via The Cauldron:
I just want to congratulate you on an unbelievable career,” Jordan said in a video message before tipoff on Monday. “I think when I look back and the first time we played against each other and the competitive drive I saw within your eyes, even though the knowledge wasn’t quite there yet, it was very invigorating. I’m very happy to leave you this message to say how much we are very proud of what you’ve accomplished over the years.”
Jordan went on to explain how the Hornets are connected to Bryant. Charlotte selected Bryant with the 13th overall pick back in the 1996 NBA Draft and then traded him shortly after to the Lakers for center Vlade Divac.
People don’t realize you were drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, so that connects us with you. I’ve always been like a big brother, and you’re like a little brother. We communicate all the time. I just want to say congratulations. Your next step and your next career is going to be something I’m pretty sure you’re going to have to figure out from a competitive standpoint. I’m pretty sure you’re just like me. You’re going to have to find out ways to use that competitive drive, but I want to congratulate you, Vanessa and the girls.”
Jordan also commended Bryant for his contributions to the NBA over the last two decades. The Hornets owner also made sure to let him know his line is always open if he needs any advice in future endeavors once his playing days have come to an end following his 20th season in the league.
You’ve been a big help to the game of basketball. You helped the NBA. You helped promote it. Pretty sure you’ve got a lot of fans all over the world. I’m a big fan. I still love watching you play. I’m very, very happy for you and what you’ve accomplished within the game, and I look forward to seeing what you do next. If you ever need me, you know my number. Let’s stay in touch. I wish you the best and have a great game tonight, not too good of a game, but I want you to stay healthy.”
Following the loss to the Hornets, Bryant will have 50 games left in his NBA career. The Lakers will continue their three-game road trip with the team heading to TD Garden to face off against the Boston Celtics. It will be Bryant’s last appearance in Boston and will likely be another special game for the five-time NBA champion.
Bryant and company will return to Los Angeles to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 1 in hopes of avenging their loss to Jahlil Okafor’s squad back on Dec. 1. The 76ers have only two wins on the season thus far, one of which came against the Lakers.