Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are NBA legends, so when the two went against each other in 2003, fans were looking forward to the matchup. It was the last time two would face one another as Jordan was retiring once the season was over. John Cusack, who is good friends with Jordan, was at the last meeting between the Basketball Hall of Famers and talked about a funny exchange between the two.
"At some point in the game, everyone knew Michael and Kobe were gonna go one-on-one," Cusack said on Jimmy Kimmel Live, as reported by PEOPLE. "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." Cusack mentioned he was sitting courtside at the Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers game in March 2003 and could hear everything they were saying.
"Kobe started to drive, Michael stepped in front of him — right in front of me — and he took the charge," he continued. "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!'" Jordan was poking fun at Bryant having a shoot-first mentality. Cusack went on to say the meeting felt like a big moment in sports history. He added the meeting was a "passing of the torch" and it was "really amazing to be there."
Jordan finished his career with six NBA Championships and five MVP awards. Bryant went on to win two more NBA titles to end his career with five Championships along with an MVP award and two NBA Finals MVP trophies. He died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people in January, after which Jordan paid tribute to him.
"You know all of us have brothers and sisters who for whatever reason always tend to get in your stuff, your closet, your shoes, everything," Jordan said during Bryant's Celebration of Life event in February. "It was a nuisance if I can say that word. But that nuisance turned into love over a period of time just because the admiration that they had for you as big brothers or big sisters. The questions - they're wanting to know every little detail about the life they're about to embark on."