Michael Jordan Shares Last Text Message Exchange with Kobe Bryant

On May 15, the legendary basketball star, the late Kobe Bryant, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Michael Jordan has accepted the honor to be the presenter.

Chosen by Bryant’s family, Jordan is expected to deliver a speech, just like he did in February of 2020, at the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s memorial service at the Staples Center. As Saturday’s induction event approaches, Jordan shared with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan his final text messages exchange with Bryant before the Lakers’ guard’s deadly helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. The tragic incident killed Bryant, Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, and six other passengers.

The exchanges below are what they said to each other on Dec. 8, 2019, in what turned out to be their final conversation:

“This tequila is awesome,” Kobe texted, referring to Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila which was gifted to Bryant at the product launch.

“Thank you, my brother,” Jordan replied.

“Yes, sir. Family good?” Kobe responded.

“All good. Yours?”

“All good.”

Then Jordan initiated the topic about Bryant coaching his daughter’s basketball team.

“He was really into coaching Gigi. So I hit him up about that,” Jordan shared with MacMullan.

“Happy holidays,” Jordan texted back, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”

“I added that little crying/laughing emoji,” Jordan laughs.

“Ah, back at you, man,” Kobe texted. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”…

“I just love that text,” Jordan says, “because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”

Jordan, 58, is a six-time NBA champion. He knows that he’ll get teary-eyed come Saturday. It is known that he was like an older brother to Bryant, and the two have maintained a close relationship since they shared the court.

“I was thinking, at first, I might be a little somewhat nervous about it, but then I realized I’m not going to be nervous about showing emotions for someone I absolutely loved,” said Jordan to ESPN. “That’s the humanistic side of me—people tend to forget I do have one.”