NBA legend Michael Jordan has revealed the last text exchange he had with Kobe Bryantbefore his tragic death last January.
Jordan is set to induct the Los Angeles Lakers great into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven others, died in a tragic helicopter accident in Los Angeles last year leaving behind his wife and three daughters.
Jordan has told ESPN he still has the final text message exchange with Bryant saved on his phone which took place 49 days before his death.
“This tequila is awesome,” Kobe texted Jordan on December 8, 2019, after Jordan had sent him a bottle of his new Cincoro Tequila, ESPN reports.
“Thank you, my brother,” Jordan responded.
“Yes, sir. Family good?” Kobe replied.
“All good. Yours?”
“Happy holidays,” Jordan texted back, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”
Jordan was referring to Bryant’s coaching of Gianna’s basketball team. The seven members on the helicopter along with the pilot were all heading to a basketball game in Los Angeles when the fatal accident occurred.
“Ah, back at you, man,” Kobe responded. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”
Jordan told ESPN it was the perfect final exchange between the two and he won’t delete it.
“I just love that text,” Jordan says, “because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”
Jordan said it was a huge honour to accept the Hall of Fame award for Bryant.
“It’s going to be a great honour, to be honest. It’s like standing up for a family member. 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.”
During the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna last February, Jordan took the stage to talk about his “little brother” with tears streaming down his face.
“Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I,” Jordan said. “I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”
“This kid had passion like you would never know,” he added. “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”
Jordan brought the house down when he acknowledged the steady flow of tears would likely result in another “Crying Jordan” meme.
“I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see this for the next three or four years,” Jordan said, to huge applause. “That is what Kobe Bryant does to me.”
A photograph of Jordan crying during his acceptance speech after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame is an internet favourite.
Other inductees into the Hall of Fame this weekend include three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan, 15-time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett and 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalistTamika Catchings.
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