A Tearful Michael Jordan Paid Tribute To ‘Little Brother’ Kobe Bryant At His LA Memorial

Michael Jordan delivered a tear-filled tribute to Kobe Bryant at a memorial for the late Lakers star on Monday at Staples Center. Chronicling the annoying genesis of their relationship on-court to their deep friendship off it, the greatest basketball player in history paid tribute to one of the game’s fiercest competitors and the legacy he leaves behind.


“Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother,” Jordan. “Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”

Jordan expressed how his relationship with Bryant evolved from one of begrudging acceptance to true friendship and admiration.

“All of us have brothers and sisters, little brothers, little sisters who for whatever reason tend to get in your stuff. Your closet, your shoes. Everything. He was a nuisance, if I could say that word,” Jordan said. “But that nuisance turned into love over a period of time. Just because of the admiration that they have for you. The questions, wanting to know every little detail.”

Jordan described calls from Bryant at all hours of the day, talking about footwork and, sometimes, the Triangle.

“This kid had passion like you would never know… “He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be,” Jordan said. “And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”

Tears on his face throughout the speech, Jordan poked fun at himself and the inevitability that the speech is compared to another viral Jordan moment.

“Now he’s got me,” Jordan said. “And I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next….”

The crowd roared, as Jordan referenced the infamous Crying Jordan meme.

“I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see this for the next three or four years,” Jordan said.

Jordan also explored Bryant’s relationship with Gianna and how best to teach her the game of basketball, his interactions with him after the two were retired, and his legacy.

“I am inspired by what he’s done and what he’s shared with Vanessa and his kids,” Jordan said, sharing how it impacted his own family and how he sees himself as a family man.

“When Kobe Bryant died a piece of me died,” Jordan said, calling Bryant his “little brother” one more time before he received a huge ovation from the crowd.