Michael Jordan and the late great Kobe Bryant didn't play against each other much during their respective careers. In fact, they crossed paths in the regular season just eight times, with Kobe winning five of those games. However, their most special encounter happened 20 years ago, in 2003, and it also happened to be their last one.
The last dance
The date was March 28, 2003, and the venue was the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The place was packed with celebrities and brimming with anticipation of the final match-up between the two basketball icons. Jordan was playing for the Washington Wizards now, trying to ride off into the sunset, while Kobe was in the middle of establishing a dynasty for the Lakers and making a name for himself as one of the best players in the Association.
The Lakers won the game in a 108-94 rout, as Kobe put on a show with 55 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals. He also shot the lights out from beyond the arc, going 9-of-13.
Jordan had a solid game himself, putting up 23 points and four assists, bringing back some memories of his days with the Chicago Bulls .
John Cusack witnessed something special
One Hollywood celebrity who watched the game saw a special moment between Jordan and Bryant . He shared the story in detail during his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
"At some point in the game, everyone knew Michael and Kobe were gonna go one-on-one. So Kobe got the ball, he cleared everybody out, and everybody started to bristle up with anticipation that it was gonna be Kobe against Michael. And Kobe started to drive, Michael stepped in front of him -- right in front of me -- and he took the charge," said Cusack.
"And he went down, and Kobe was standing above him, and Michael looked up and said, 'Well everybody in the f------ building knew you weren't gonna pass.' And then there's a pause, and it was like the old pro, the old vet got him. And Kobe just started laughing, and they both started laughing, but that's what they said there. So you really felt the passing of the torch, you know, one great to another. You felt it was a moment in sports; it was really amazing to be there."
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