1. Here’s a wonderful find by SLAM’s Marcel Mutoni: 11 minutes of highlights featuring Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant going one-on-one in various games.
2. The first-ever challenge, Dec. 1996: MJ schools Kobe with a devastatingly quick baseline move.
3. Next time they met, Kobe got a little ball — with some hand — and held his own.
4. Barely old enough to vote, Kobe was already effective at contesting a turnaround jumpshot.
5. Bryant’s jumper, however, was also quite refined.
6. Kobe’s own turnaround? Impressive, especially for a teenager.
7. But His Airness could still keep defenders on their heels with the slightest movement.
8. Jordan’s stop-and-pop could not be defended — by Bryant or anyone else.
9. At the 1998 All-Star Game in New York, a 34-year-old Jordan dusted off his baseline turnaround.
FYI: Kobe Bryant is now 34 years old.
10. Simply ridiculous.
11. When Bryant’s ISO defense let him down, Shaq was there to clean up/goaltend.
12. Regardless, Bryant’s confidence was never lacking, even back then.
13. Even years later, as a member of the Washington Wizards, Jordan could still get separation when he wanted.
14. But in 2003, in the fourth quarter of Michael Jordan’s final All-Star Game, Bryant pulled off this incredible block.
15. Their final head-to-head matchup came in March 2003, when a 14-point win over the Wizards gave Bryant his fifth win in eight games.
Statistically, Bryant and Jordan ended up incredibly close after their eight games over four separate seasons, but a slight edge goes to Bryant in both the numbers and the wins.