Gilbert Arenas tells incredible Kobe Bryant-Michael Jordan revenge story
Did Kobe Bryant drop 55 points on Michael Jordan all to get revenge on MJ over a comment the six-time champion made during a prior game between their teams? That’s what one player says happened.
Gilbert Arenas shared a great Kobe story on “The No Chill Podcast” about what led to Kobe’s huge game against His Airness in 2003. According to Arenas, during a prior game between MJ’s Washington Wizards and Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in DC, Jordan’s Wizards got the win. After the victory, Jordan supposedly told Bryant that the youngster could wear MJ’s shoes on the court but he would never be able to “fill these shoes.” This was in 2003 when a 24-year-old Kobe was wearing Jordan model shoes.
Arenas says Kobe went silent and didn’t talk to his team for two weeks as he got mentally prepared for the rematch between the teams, which took place on March 28 at Staples Center.
The Lakers won the rematch 108-94, getting 55 from Kobe on 15/29 shooting including 9/13 on threes. MJ, who had turned 40 by that point, scored 27 points in the loss. Bryant sure showed up his role model.
It’s a great story, though we must note Arenas’ timeline seems a little off. The first game between the Wizards and Lakers that season took place on Nov. 8, very early in the season. Washington won the game 100-99, getting 25 from Jordan on 9/14 shooting. Bryant shot 8/21 in the loss.
The main point is still the same: Bryant was motivated to show up his idol and did.
Bryant modeled his game after Jordan as this video shows. There is no doubt he would have wanted to be at his best against Jordan, who retired after that season.
Below is the video of Arenas sharing the story:
“Kobe Bryant was a f**king psycho”
Gilbert Arenas tells us the story of what led to @KobeBryant scoring 55 against MJ and the Wizards that night Mamba was a sicko. More stories
— Ball Don't Stop (@balldontstop) September 2, 2019