Phil Jackson shares funny Jordan-Bryant story, says who was better

jordan-guarding-kobeFormer NBA coach Phil Jackson sat down with Gary Payton on Fox Sports Live to talk some basketball. In the end it all came down to who really was better one-on-one, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.

Jackson trained them both during his coaching days with Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers. He led both teams to NBA championships.

First, Jackson shared a funny story about Jordan meeting Bryant after the 1999 NBA season, when Jackson was already coaching the LA Lakers.

“Back in 2000, or even 1999, when I was still coaching the Lakers, Michael was already retired for a year. So he comes to the Lakers’ game, and I ask him to come and meet Kobe Bryant in the locker room,” Jackson recalled.

“I asked him to talk to Kobe, because he wanted to take over the game, and I wanted Michael to talk to him, to convince him to be patient, and explain that the game would eventually come to him,” Phil Jackson said.

“So we get into the room, Michael sits next to Kobe, and the first thing Kobe says to Michael is: I could kick your ass one on one. And Michael replied something like: I’ve been out of the game for a few years, so you just might,” Jackson said.

Answering the question of who would eventually win one-on-one, Jackson explained his choice.

“It’s got to be Michael. He’s got that hand, when he grabs the ball with it, when he’s dribbling and can take the ball to the basket. It’s very difficult to defend,” Jackson said.

Further on, Jackson was asked about his favorite Michael Jordan moment. Former Bulls coach recalled the last game that he and Jordan played together back in 1997-98 NBA playoffs.

“The moment that means a lot to me, was the last game that we were on the floor together, against Utah. He was missing his shot, and letting his hand go, and I told him that he has to follow through on his shot,” Jackson said.

“And then I said listen, we got 30 something seconds left, they’re not going to call timeout, and we’re down by three…so this is what we’re going to do – when you score, they’re going to come back and give ball to Karl (Malone), and you can come back and strip him (off the ball),” Jackson recalled.

“So I told him: you know what to do, you know the play, so see if you can get the ball out of his hands. And he did it, it was a great steal, he went down and scored on the same play, but this time he took a jumpshot. And this sequence was the combination of two minds working together,” Jackson underscored.


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