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Michael Jordan is speaking out about his last text message exchange with the late Kobe Bryant.
Speaking to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jordan said the conversation took place on Dec. 8, 2019, during which Bryant complimented Jordan on his Cincoro Tequila. They also talked about their families and Kobe’s passion for coaching.
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Per Complex, here’s the portion of the interview via ESPN:
“This tequila is awesome,” Kobe texted, referring to Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila, a bottle of which was sent to Bryant at the launch.
“Thank you, my brother,” Jordan responded.
“Yes, sir. Family good?” Kobe replied.
“All good. Yours?”
Jordan smiled, then decided to have a little fun. “He was really into coaching Gigi,” MJ explains, “so I hit him up about that.”
“Happy holidays,” Jordan texted back, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”
“I added that little crying/laughing emoji,” Jordan chuckles.
“Ah, back at you, man,” Kobe wrote. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”
“In some ways, Kobe was self-made,” Jordan said to MacMullan. “People forget that. He was an 18-year-old kid that made himself into one of the best.”
This weekend, Jordan will represent Bryant at his Hall of Fame introduction, per the request of Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant.
Kobe is a member of the 2020 class but the ceremony was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After Bryant’s passing in a helicopter crash with his daughter Giana in January of 2020, Jordan shared an emotional speech at the funeral.
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According to the report, Jordan says about six months ago he sent Vanessa a text to check in on her.
‘I told her, ‘Look, I know this is a tough time. I’m always here if you need me,’’ Jordan said. ‘She answered back, ‘I would love it if you stood up for Kobe at the Hall of Fame.’
‘It’s going to be a great honor, 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.’”
The enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 15 with “more than 50 Hall-of-Famers” in attendance, per NBC Sports.
Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings and Rudy Tomjanovich are also among the star-studded 2020 class. Jordan will also present three-time NCAA champion Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, according to the report.
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